Benjamin Karin

Song variation among subspecies of Sage Sparrows (Amphispiza belli)

I am studying song variation and population subdivision in two named subspecies of Sage Sparrow (Amphispiza belli) in California. California Coast Range populations (A. b. belli) are physically much darker in color and have more contrasting patterns than Central Valley and Mojave Desert populations (A. b. canescens). Though all the A. b. canescens populations look exactly the same, previous genetic studies have shown Central Valley A. b. canescens populations to be closer genetically to Coast Range A. b. belli than to the Mojave Desert population of A. b. canescens (Cicero and Johnson 2007), indicating population subdivision between the Central Valley and Mojave Desert populations of A. b. canescens. My research involves recording Sage Sparrows in the field at a number of different sites and analyzing the songs of these populations to determine the evolutionary relationships among the populations described.

Message to Sponsor

I plan to do research biology for the rest of my life, and this project is a great chance for me to gain experience and better learn how to fully carry out and complete a research project. I am excited to study birds and their song, a group of organisms that I am very interested in.
  • Major: Integrative Biology
  • Mentor: Rauri Bowie, Integrative Biology