Gifford Gillette NSF Graduate Fellow

Thesis Title:
Restoring Mountain Quail to their historic range in Idaho

Research Advisor:

David Delehanty

Teacher Partner:
John Loftin

Degree Sought:
Masters in Biology

University Department and/or Lab:
Biological Sciences, Ornithology Lab

Description of Research:
Mountain quail (Oreortyx pictus) were once widespread and common in Idaho and a valued, native game bird popular with much of the public. However, mountain quail now occupy only 5% of their historic range, or less (Brennan 1990). Mountain quail have been petitioned by conservation groups to be listed as a threatened or endangered species due to acute population declines in the eastern portions of their range (USDI Federal Register 2003). Further research is needed to determine if mountain quail can be restored throughout their historic range. Reasons for their precipitous decline are not clear, but new world quail are well known for population fluctuations (Gutierrez and Delehanty 1999) that make them vulnerable at small population sizes. In April of 2006, mountain quail were released to the Bennett Hills to promote restoration for the first time in southern Idaho and identify important parameters (Troy 2007). The main parameters I will be measuring are yearly survival rates, movement, reproductive behavior and effort, nest success, and dispersal.

One example of how you integrate your research into your GK-12 experience:

In the future we plan to use my integrate my research into the classroom by allowing students to predict what they think will happen in regards to winter survival of the mountain quail this year.

Profile date: Sept. 2008


Gifford Gillette