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About Barbara J. Pierce

Barbara J. Pierce, Ph.D. is Professor of Biology at Sacred Heart University. 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.


September 2017 - Present Professor Biology, Sacred Heart University Department of Biology
2003 - 2017 Associate Professor, Sacred Heart University Department of Biology


2008 - 2013 Interactive Effects of Dietary Fatty Acids and Antioxidants on Diet Choices, Metabolism, and Exercise Performance of Migratory Songbirds
National Science Foundation (NSF), Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Integrative Organismal Systems - 0748349
Role: Co Applicant
Colleague(s): Scott McWilliams
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Honors and Awards

  • 2008-2012 National Science Foundation Grant “Nutritional ecology of seasonal fattening in migratory birds”
  • Promotion, September 2017


  • BI 112/114 Concepts in Biology II
  • BI 202 Populations to Ecosystems
  • BI 312 Systems Physiology
  • BI 265 Conservation
  • BI 245 Vertebrate Biology


2003 Ph.D. Natural Resources Sciences, University of Rhode Island ‐ College of Environmental Life Sciences
1996 M.A. Biological Sciences, Central Connecticut State University
1993 B.S. Biology, Eastern Connecticut State University

Contact Information

Department of Biology
Academic Bldg SC*234V
College of Arts and Sciences


Articles (22)