Bluebird eggs pique student’s interest

As a child, she dreamed of being a scientist. As an undergraduate at SIU, Logan Kent is making it happen.

Kent, a senior in zoology from Jacksonville, is working with Associate Professor Mike Eichholz on developing a way to test the egg development of nesting bluebirds. As the egg goes through its incubation stages, gas exchanges and build-up inside it begin making it increasingly buoyant. During breeding season, she checks nesting boxes weekly, keeping careful records of when the eggs become present, as well as the presence of species, a nest and individuals male and female birds.

“If there have been eggs laid, we place them into a container of water and record the angle and placement of where they float in the water,” Kent explained. “Eggs just recently laid will remain on the bottom with little gas exchange buildup, but as eggs get closer to hatch and become more buoyant ideally we would notice them rising to the top on sequential nest checks.

The work will help scientists better understand the process and promote ecology.

Undergraduate students at SIU often have the opportunity to partake in real-world research in their first semester.

“Being involved in this research is allowing me to put essential concepts I’ve learned in the classroom to actual hands-on use. I’m finally getting to be the scientist I dreamed of being as a little kid, at least kind of!  And that has also made me more confident about future endeavors and professional development.

“Some students don’t get to experience this until they start an internship, tech job or grad school, so getting an early start as an undergraduate is something I am thankful for,” Kent said.



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