I'm a PhD Candidate in the Burns lab at San Diego State University studying animal behavior and hybridization between Allen's (Selasphorus sasin) and Rufous (Selasphorus rufus) Hummingbird. I'm also performing a phylogeography study on Allen's Hummingbird using genomic data to assess whether the species is in decline, as Breeding Bird Survey data suggests. I'm currently looking for postdocs or other job opportunities.

News

A recent interview with The Wildlife Society was just posted on their website, check it out here:  https://wildlife.org/researchers-discover-hummingbird-hybrid-zone/As is pointed out in the interview article, I'm highly suspicious this hybrid zone, although it arose naturally, is larger than it would be in the absence of human disturbance and landscape alteration. I have preliminary data that shows high levels of gene flow from Rufous Hummingbird, far into the range of migratory Allen's Hummingbird, and additional data showing migratory Allen's is undergoing a population decline. Thus, hybridization might be affecting the long-term viability of migratory Allen's (although non-migratory Allen's populations are expanding rapidly and doing just fine). I plan on looking into this in the future, possibly as part of a postdoc project!

Older news


September 2019: The first chapter of my dissertation work, a paper titled "Behavioral and morphological evidence of an Allen’s × Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin × S. rufus) hybrid zone in southern Oregon and northern California" was just published by The Auk: Ornithological Advances! This paper introduces the Allen's x Rufous Hummingbird hybrid zone using phenotypic data (genomic data will be coming in a subsequent paper) and looks at the role of sexual selection on courtship behaviors in maintaining species barriers between Allen's and Rufous. We also identify several new traits/behaviors that characterize Allen's and Rufous Hummingbird and their hybrids. Excited to share this and looking forward to sharing some more of my work soon! Read it here. There are also some news articles out about the paper-here are a few links: 

There are also some news articles out; here are a few:


July 2019: The first chapter of my dissertation work, a paper titled "Behavioral and morphological evidence of an Allen’s × Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin × S. rufus) hybrid zone in southern Oregon and northern California" was just accepted by The Auk: Ornithological Advances. This paper introduces the Allen's x Rufous Hummingbird hybrid zone using phenotypic data (genomic data will be coming in a subsequent paper) and looks at the role of sexual selection via courtship displays in maintaining species barriers between Allen's and Rufous. We also identify several new traits/behaviors that characterize Allen's and Rufous Hummingbird and their hybrids. Excited to share this once it is published!


May 2019: My first publication just came out in the June 2019 edition of Western Birds (link here)! This one is based on my work as an undergraduate, and investigates the effects of drought on coastal sage scrub bird communities using long-term data. I'm excited to finally be able to share some of the science I've done!


February 2019: I recently had my first manuscript accepted for publication (in the final phases of editing) and am at work on three different manuscripts regarding Allen's and Rufous Hummingbird, the first of which is a description of the hybrid zone, which seems to span from Humboldt County, CA, through Lane County, OR. Other projects I am currently working on include the phylogeography of Allen's Hummingbird and an in-depth description and comparison of courtship behavior in Allen's and Rufous Hummingbird. 


2018:  Check out what I've been up to! Satellite tracking of my route and current location for my 2018 field season can be found here: https://share.garmin.com/BrianMyers3.  From March through May I'll be conducting field work, sampling the inland transect in northern California, and eventually advance into central and southern Oregon along the coast. I'll provide updates and pictures on my travels as often as possible.


2017: We've officially been award a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)! "The National Science Foundation hereby awards a grant of $xxx to San Diego State University for support of the project entitled 'Collaborative Research: Admixture mapping of a hybrid zone to test Tinbergen's emancipation hypothesis'. This award starts April 15, 2017 and ends March 31, 2020." The project this grant is funding is described on the "Research" page.                             

Contact

Brian Myers
PhD Candidate
San Diego State University
Department of Biology