|Schmitz Lab at Yale||
B.A., 2014, Bowdoin College, Biology and Environmental Studies
Click here to download CV.
My main interests are in how predators influence food webs and ecosystems through interactions with their prey, and how the studies of such effects can be applicable to conservation efforts. Most of my research over the past few years has been with birds and bats, although my interests are in trophic interactions across ecosystems in general. For my master’s work, I am primarily focused on the interactions between Alaskan gyrfalcon populations and one of their primary sources of prey, the rock and willow ptarmigan. The goal of my research is to investigate the effects of gyrfalcon predation on ptarmigan abundance, behavior, and stress, as well as whether gyrfalcon predation has cascading effects on plants and shrubs. I am also building a predation risk map for ptarmigan across the tundra using giving up densities. My prediction is that ptarmigan will be at less risk of predation the further they are from a gyrfalcon nest, due to central place foraging theory.
My first experiences with research were behavioral studies of giraffes and gorillas at the Dallas Zoo in the summer after my sophomore year. After that summer, I threw myself into crafting a self-designed research project for a senior thesis. I worked with the National Park Service, Bowdoin College, and the Biodiversity Research Institute nonprofit organization to study the effects of the lethal fungal disease white-nose syndrome on bats in Acadia National Park. As the fungus infected and killed only certain species of (mostly cave-dwelling) bats, we investigated the possibility that the non-infected Eastern red bat had undergone competitive release.
After graduation, I worked on a long-term research project studying African fish eagles and augur buzzards around Lake Naivasha in Kenya. We investigated the hypothesis that increased floriculture in the area over the course of 20 years had negatively impacted raptor presence, due to both pesticides and dangerously poor construction of power lines. I then returned to the United States, working on research studying roseate tern responses to predation for the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and distributions of urban passerines for the Smithsonian’s Neighborhood Nestwatch Program.
I have a particular love of bringing science and nature to non-scientists. I’ve been involved in a number of outreach programs, including animal rehabilitation in Africa, falconry outreach in Maryland, and bird mist-netting and talks for public schools in Georgia. I have also helped write several textbooks for middle and high school students, including one on endangered species.
Email: adam.eichenwald [at] yale.edu
Office: Greeley Laboratory, room 119
School of Forestry & Enviro Studies
370 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511 USA