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UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research addresses global environmental challenges through research in conservation, biodiversity and climate change.
When birds fly overhead, where do they go?
The Bird Genoscape Project, conducted by the Center for Tropical Research at UCLA, is mapping population-specific migration routes of many North American migratory bird species — using feathers. So far, there are more than 250,000 feathers in the bank, collected across the American continents. Researchers extract DNA samples from these feathers to create genetic tags that help track where birds go. Using this data, researchers can study the migration patterns of birds and take notice if the birds’ charted courses are changing as the climate changes. Ultimately, the goal is to understand how birds may be threatened by environmental changes and use that knowledge to implement necessary conservation measures. The Bird Genoscape Project aims to map the migration routes of 100 species of migratory birds.
The Center for Tropical Research, brought to UCLA in 2002, is a research unit of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. The Center for Tropical Research includes affiliated faculty members across multiple disciplines and dozens of research fellows. In addition to the Bird Genoscape Project, the Center for Tropical Research strives to address global environmental challenges through research in conservation, biodiversity and climate change. Researchers in the Center for Tropical Research perform fieldwork that stretches across the globe, from the Congo Basin to California’s sky.
Your gift to the Center for Tropical Research Fund goes toward collecting feathers and research for the Bird Genoscape Project. Your gift could help unlock a flock of information that can be used to develop conservation strategies. Your gift can help turn a humble feather into the key to understanding — and protecting — our feathered friends.
Learn more through this video:
DNA gives clues about breeding grounds, migration patterns and wintering areas.
Genoscape researchers can pinpoint which population group an individual bird belongs to.
Researchers examine climate changes to determine migration patterns.
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