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National funding launches international avian research at SFU

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Contact:
Tony Williams, 604.291.4982, tony_williams@sfu.ca
Carol Thorbes, Media & PR, 604.291.3035, cthorbes@sfu.ca


July 9, 2004

National funding of avian research, coordinated by Simon Fraser University, could lead to a better understanding of the link between climate change and declining bird populations.

"Due to the availability of long-term data sets, bird studies have provided some of the best evidence to date for impacts of climate change, such as adjustments of breeding or migratory schedules or range expansion," says SFU physiological ecologist Tony Williams.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has awarded Williams and 13 researchers at other Canadian universities $117,100 over three years to investigate the link between declining avian reproduction and environmental change. Williams, the Canadian coordinator of a national network dedicated to studying the link, and his colleagues will use the funding to stage a conference at SFU in 2006. The event will bring together international experts in ecology, endocrinology (study of hormones), and physiology to assess the extent to which bird populations are changing in response to climate change. The NSERC funding will also finance the participation of Canadian researchers in a broader international network.

Williams’ funding is one of the first Special Research Opportunities grants to be awarded by NSERC. The national research-funding agency created the awards program in 2003 to support activities that lay the groundwork for major primary research. Williams is a Burnaby resident.

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Websites:
Tony Williams: www.sfu.ca/biology/faculty/williams/
Avian network: www.sfu.ca/biology/faculty/williams/