Corticosterone hormone as an indicator for environmental mercury stress in migratory versus resident bird species


The goal of this project is to learn more about how migration affects a bird’s reaction to environmental mercury stress. I will be measuring corticosterone (CORT), a stress hormone, as well as mercury in feather samples from a migratory and nonmigratory species. I expect that nonmigratory species will exhibit more mercury but less CORT in their feathers. The constant exposure will naturally select birds that do not overreact to mercury poisoning. Overreaction to mercury tends to lead to reduced reproductive success. Therefore, it acts as a direct selective pressure on birds in mercury-polluted environments. With this information, we can learn more about how mercury pollution in one area affects wildlife on a continental scale.

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Traumatic Stress and Risk Versus Resilience in First Generation College Students

First generation students tend to have lower rates of college completion. Why is this the case? Well before diving in any further, first generation students vary in definition, but for research purposes, can be defined as students whose parents did not graduate from a 4-year college. One factor that might contribute to these lower rates of persistence involves traumatic and stressful experiences. The study I’m conducting this summer will therefore investigate 1) the rates of exposure to trauma in FG students and 2) the effects of the trauma on resilience of FG students.

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More on Stress & Depression: Next Steps for the Mentoring Study

Hi everyone!!

It’s hard to believe that the summer is coming to a close. For those of you who have been reading since the very beginning, thank you!! In this last blog post I want to return to the findings I covered two posts ago (Stress and Depression Matter: Analysis of Preliminary Results).

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Stress and Depression Matter: Analysis of Preliminary Results

Now that my file of data from our United States schools is complete, I’ve started preliminary data analyses and things are looking good! Regression analysis showed that both mentor depression and mentor early life stress statistically significantly impacted the mentoring relationship.

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The Anticipation Builds: Preparing Data for Analysis

Hey y’all!

I’m so excited to send out my first research update! During my time in the lab thus far, I have been conducting an in-depth literature review of mentoring studies. The bulk of the literature focuses on youth characteristics that influence the mentoring relationship. These characteristics include youth environmental stress and behavioral challenges. I have only found one study that touches on mentor emotional background so I hope that I will be able to meaningfully contribute to the mentoring literature at the conclusion of my research! I will analyze mentor stress using two scales: The Risky Families Questionnaire, which measures early life and familial stress, and the Student Stress Scale, which measures previous or ongoing stress in multiple aspects of life. Combined, these two scales will allow me to not only measure mentor stress, but also will allow me to better understand the effects of different types of stressors on mentoring relationships. I will measure mentor depression using the CESDR-10 scale, and I will run analyses analyzing the relationship between mentor’s reported depression and stress levels.

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