Dr. Pierce's research focuses on the specific nutrient requirements of birds
during migration and the influence of these nutrients on the bird's ability to
complete migration. Her research has found that migratory songbirds are able to
distinguish between foods differing only in fatty acid composition, that songbirds prefer
foods with specific unsaturated fatty acids, and that birds with certain fatty acids in
their fat stores use less energy during flight than birds with other types of fatty
acids. Dr. Pierce is currently examining how antioxidants and changes in fatty acid
composition of depot fat affect energetic performance in birds. Her research also
examines the adequacy of small urban forest fragments as stopover sites for migrating
songbirds and whether or not these small fragments offer the specific nutrients birds
require during migration. 



The Fat of the Matter: How Dietary Fatty Acids Can Affect Exercise Performance (with Scott R. McWilliams), Biology Faculty Publications (2014)

Fatty-acid composition of fat stores affects exercise performance in a variety of vertebrates although few...



Site-specific Regulation of Adult Neurogenesis by Dietary Fatty Acid Content, Vitamin E and Flight Exercise in European Starlings (with Zachary J. Hall, Ulf Bauchinger, Alexander R. Gerson, Edwin R. Price, Lillie A. Langlois, Michael Boyles, Scott R. McWilliams, David F. Sherry, and Scott A. MacDougall-Shackleton), Biology Faculty Publications (2014)

Exercise is known to have a strong effect on neuroproliferation in mammals ranging from rodents...



Horseshoe Crab Eggs: A Rare Resource for Predators in Long Island Sound (with Mark Beekey Ph.D. and Jennifer Mattei), Biology Faculty Publications (2013)

In Delaware Bay, the spawning of several million horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) coincides with the...



Fruit Quality And Consumption By Songbirds During Autumn Migration (with Susan B. Smith, Kathleen H. McPherson, Jeffrey M. Backer, David W. Podlesak, and Scott R. McWilliams), Biology Faculty Publications (2007)

Seasonal fruits are an important food resource for small songbirds during autumn migration in southern...



Effect of Dietary Fatty Acid Composition on Depot Fat and Exercise Performance in a Migrating Songbird, the Red-Eyed Vireo (with Scott R. McWilliams, Timothy P. O'Connor, Allen R. Place, and Christopher G. Guglielmo), Biology Faculty Publications (2005)

Most migrating birds accumulate lipid stores as their primary source of energy for fueling long...


Popular Press


Biology Department Receives $111,253 Award for Migratory Birds Project, Sacred Heart University News Story (2014)

Barbara Pierce, associate professor of biology at Sacred Heart University, has received a grant award...



Professor Awarded NSF Grant for Songbird Research, Sacred Heart University News Story (2008)

Dr. Barbara Pierce of the Biology Department at Sacred Heart University, in collaboration with Dr....