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. 

Articles

PDF

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...

 

Link

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...

 

PDF

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...

 

PDF

Seasonal Changes in Composition of Lipid Stores in Migratory Birds: Causes and Consequences (with Scott R. McWilliams), Biology Faculty Publications (2005)

It is well established that birds use fat stores to primarily fuel migration; however, few...

 

Link

Flying, Fasting, and Feeding in Birds During Migration: A Physiological Ecology Perspective (with Scott R. McWilliams, Christopher G. Guglielmo, and Marcel Klaassen), Biology Faculty Publications (2004)

Unlike exercising mammals, migratory birds fuel very high intensity exercise (e.g., flight) with fatty acids...

 

Popular Press

PDF

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....