Associate Professor of Biology, Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, College of Science, Rochester Institute of Technology
Native Berries For Migratory Birds
Native fruits are extensively utilized by songbirds and may help to support the high energetic demands of long-distance migration. But fruits can vary in their nutrition and biochemical content, and there may be nutritional consequences for birds associated with the introduction of non-native fruiting shrubs. Habitat management for migratory songbirds could incorporate many native plants that produce calorific, high-fat, and antioxidant-rich berries. These high-quality foods may help to promote the rapid fat deposition necessary to allow birds to fill up their fuel tanks before continuing migration.
Dr. Susan Smith Pagano is an Associate Professor of Biology at Rochester Institute for Technology. She teaches in the Biology and Environmental Science programs in the School of Life Sciences and has developed elective courses in Comparative Animal Physiology, Ornithology, and Animal Nutrition. Dr. Pagano is a physiological ecologist who studies the dynamic relationships between fuel utilization, physiological condition and diet quality in migrating songbirds at stopover sites, with expertise in the application of plasma metabolite profiling in birds as a field technique. Her research initiatives also include nutritional ecology with a focus on the nutritional and biochemical differences among native and invasive wild fruits, and physiological implications for birds that consume them. Recent work has focused on an assessment of refueling physiology and diet in Catharus thrushes migrating through the Braddock Bay area, and outcomes of the work have been used to inform habitat management and conservation. She is a Teacher-Scholar and has mentored over 40 undergraduate research students at RIT, in addition to several graduate students, many of whom are female and/or from traditionally under-represented groups in STEM fields. She actively publishes with students and has involved them in over 25 different conferences and symposia. In addition to her work at RIT, Dr. Pagano is a Research Associate affiliated with the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory and is Vice-President of the Board of Directors. She is actively involved in professional service and serves on two journal Editorial Boards and is an elected Fellow of the American Ornithological Society.
BS, State University College at Oswego; MS, State University College at Brockport; Ph.D., University of Rhode Island