My name is Martha Zillig, and I am an ecologist with a focus on movement ecology and avian responses to climate change. Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis. Broadly, my research focuses on how climate change will affect an organism’s abilities to adapt to their changing environment. More specifically, I study how avian life history strategies, and more specifically dispersal ability and movement ecology, contribute to species’ capacity to adapt to climate change. My research takes place in the Great Basin, a beautiful, rugged, understudied desert in the western US.

Me and my dog Indiana in the field. Picture taken by my awesome photographer friend Cooper Dodds
My partner, Ken, Indiana, and I setting up data loggers to understand how microclimate impacts avian dispersal

Through years of field research which have contributed to a long-term data set on avian abundance in the Great Basin, as well as novel statistical modeling techniques, my graduate research examined how bird species distributions changed both spatially and temporally in montane systems. I found that many species of birds moved elevationally both within their breeding season (a little studied phenomenon) and across multiple years, potentially in response to climate change. Check out the research tab to learn more!

Myself and my PI, Dr. Erica Fleishman, removing the last of the microclimate monitoring equipment (2019)