Dr. Shealer studies the population biology of Black Terns (see pictures below) and Forster's Terns. These terns nest in small colonies in marshes throughout much of North America; Dr. Shealer's primary study sites are located in southeastern Wisconsin. He and his students have monitored breeding performance of these birds and have banded over 2,000 terns in Wisconsin since 1999. Information from band returns is incorporated into mark-recapture models to determine annual survival rates and nesting site fidelity. Blood and feather samples collected from individual birds are used for molecular sex determination, which is conducted in the DNA laboratory at Loras College. Several Loras students have been awarded grants to participate in this research, either during the summer at the field site or during the school year in the DNA lab. He invites any students who are interested in this work to stop in his office to learn more about how they can get involved.
Products of the Wisconsin Tern Project
I. Peer-reviewed publications coauthored with Loras students (*)
Shealer, D. A., *J. M. Buzzell, and *J. P. Heiar. 2006. Effect of floating nest platforms on the breeding performance of Black Terns. Journal of Field Ornithology 77:184-194. (pdf)
Shealer, D. A. and *J. A. Haverland. 2000. Effects of investigator disturbance on the reproductive behavior and success of Black Terns. Waterbirds 23:15-23.
II. Undergraduate theses
Arens, Brenda. 2006. Effects of egg size and parental quality on hatching success in Black Terns.
Heiar, Jonathan. 2005. Annual survival and nest-site fidelity of Black Terns in southeastern Wisconsin.
Buzzell, Joshua. 2004. Use of floating nest platforms to enhance nesting habitat for Black Terns.
Tuegel, Stacy. 2004. The effect of maternal condition on sex ratio of Black Tern chicks.
Randolph, Mary. 2002. Assortative mating and sexual dimorphism in a Wisconsin population of Black Terns.
Gavin, Nicholas. 2002. Sex ratios of adults and chicks in a Black Tern breeding population.
Haverland, Jeff. 1999. Effects of investigator disturbance on the reproductive behavior and success of Black Terns at Horicon NWR, Wisconsin.