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How (and Why) Pine Siskins Choose Where They Migrate, with Dr. Ashley Robart – Evening Meeting Reminder: Tuesday, April 3, 7:30 p.m.

March 30, 2018

Pine Siskin with her friend Ashley

Pine Siskins are known as an “irruptive” species because their winter migrations are irregular and unpredictable. They usually migrate, but sometimes they don’t, or some do and some don’t. Where they migrate to for the winter and how they get there is unpredictable. During Southern California winters they may stay all winter, migrate through, or some stay and some continue farther south. But not always. Sometimes they appear in large numbers, sometimes not at all. The very soul of “irruptivity.”

Dr. Robart writes: The title of my talk is: “How environmental cues and social information regulate facultative** migration in pine siskins.” Together with Dr. Heather Watts, previously at Loyola Marymount University and now at Washington State University, we’ve conducted a series of laboratory experiments to examine the role of both predictable and more variable environmental cues in initiating migration in Pine Siskins, which have highly variable and unpredictable migratory patterns. I’ll also talk about how several student-led projects shaped more recent experiments on the role of social interactions in the timing of migration, highlighting the unexpected path research can take.

**Facultative: Occurring optionally in response to circumstances rather than by nature. In other words and in this case, choosing how and where one migrates, as opposed to a hard-wired always-go-the-same-way style.

Dr. Ashley Robart graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon and received her PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her PhD examined cooperation and conflict in a fish where both parents care for the young. She began a postdoctoral fellowship at Loyola Marymount University with Dr. Heather Watts in August 2015. She is currently a postdoc at Washington State University, where she is continuing her work on the Pine Siskins with Heather, but continues to reside in Los Angeles.

SMBAS has supplied research funding for Drs. Robart and Watts for several years.

Our meetings are at Christine Emerson Reed Park, 1133 7th Street. (between 7th St. & Lincoln Blvd., California Ave. & Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica. Previously known as Lincoln Park. If you’re coming from outside Santa Monica, exit the #10 Fwy at Lincoln Blvd., turn north  and drive 5 blocks north to Wilshire Blvd.

Link to Google Map

Meeting Room: Mid-park in Joslyn Hall, accessible from Lincoln Blvd, California Ave. and 7th St.  Its glass wall faces north towards St. Monica Church on California St.  If you’re walking from Lincoln Blvd., it’s located directly behind (west) of the large Miles Playhouse building. Not accessible directly from Wilshire Blvd.

Meetings begin at 7:30 sharp with a little business, and then our main presentation. Refreshments are served afterward. Please leave your coyote at home, however much they whine to come.

Parking: The entire block between Wilshire Blvd. and California Ave, 7th St. and Lincoln Blvd., on the sides closest to the park, is metered. $2/hour meter enforcement (except on Wilshire) ends at 6PM, so free parking for the meeting! However, the local natives are engaged in a survival-of-the-fittest scramble for free parking, so the after-6pm free parking spaces disappear quickly.  We suggest that you arrive no later than 7:15 pm.

If all those spaces are filled, we found free parking as follows:
California Ave. between 6th and 7th
9th St. north of Wilshire Blvd.
10th St. north of California Ave.
Washington Ave. (next street north of and parallel to California)

If that fails, go south of Wilshire, not north of the park, as resident-only permit parking zones abound to the north. The east side of Lincoln Blvd. across from the park is by permit parking only. Spaces are more available on 7th St. or Lincoln south of Wilshire. Some of those are “until 9PM” meters also. You may need a flashlight to read & operate the meter. Wherever you park, please read parking signs carefully and avoid a big fat $40+ parking ticket.   [Chuck Almdale]

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