The University of Illinois is an R1, Land-Grant institution in Central Illinois, and houses diverse faculty focusing on all aspects of ornithology, from basic to applied. With researchers studying birds both within formal academic departments (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Animal Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, and Evolution, Ecology & Behavior), and in associated research units (Illinois Natural History Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, etc.), there is no shortage of graduate programs as well as colleagues, fellow graduate students, potential advisers, mentors, role models, and committee members. The University is also home to the interdepartmental Neuroscience and PEEC (Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation) PhD programs, the Institute for Genomic Biology, the Beckman Institute for Advances Science and Technology.
Weekly "Bird Lab" meetings regularly bring together 30+ faculty and graduate students researching ornithological questions.
Masters and PhD students are supported through internal scholarships, grant-funded research assistantships, and TA-ships, as well as many endowed research and stipendiary grants and fellowships.
Who We Are
Faculty members and researcher-mentors currently involved in ornithological studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are:
• Thomas J. (T.J.) Benson, Illinois Natural History Survey (https://publish.illinois.edu/tjbenson), focusing on population and behavioral ecology of conservation-priority birds.
• Jeffrey Brawn, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, focusing on tropical population biology and physiology
• Auriel Fournier, Illinois Natural History Survey, Forbes Biological Station, focusing on wetland birds, migration and decision science (aurielfournier.github.io, www.inhs.illinois.edu/fieldstations/forbes/)
• Mark E. Hauber, Department of Evolution, Ecology, & Behavior (www.cowbirdlab.org), focusing on avian host-brood parasite interactions and the neuroethology of social recognition systems.
• Jeffrey Hoover, Illinois Natural History Survey, focusing on population ecology and brood parasitism.
• Kevin Johnson, Illinois Natural History Survey (email@example.com), focusing on systematics of birds and their ectoparasites using genome sequencing.
• James Miller, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, focusing on conservation of avian diversity in human-dominated landscapes
• Wendy Schelsky, Illinois Natural History Survey, focusing on population ecology, physiology, and brood parasitism
• Jinelle Sperry, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, focusing on predation ecology and population dynamics
• Kirk Stodola, Illinois Natural History Survey
• Michael Ward, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and Illinois Natural History Survey, focusing on avian ecology, behavior, and conservation (http://ward.nres.illinois.edu/)
• Aimy Wissa, Department of Mechanical Engineering