Research in my lab
the ecology and evolution of animal vocal behaviour and animal mating
strategies, with a focus on wild birds in the temperate zone and the
tropics, and on bioacoustic approaches to studying the ecology and
conservation of wild animals. If you are interested
in studying these topics with me as a graduate student, please read the
this page and write to me to introduce yourself.
2014: I am actively searching for a Canadian graduate student
to conduct doctoral studies on acoustic communication and cultural
evolution in Savannah Sparrows, under the co-supervision of myself and
Ryan Norris (University of Guelph). The start date will be in 2014 or
2015. Read our advertisement here.
in 2014: I am actively searching for Canadian Master's students
in using bioacoustic tools to study bird migration through the Great
Lakes, and the responses of birds to anthropogenic disturbance. Field
research will involve state-of-the-art bioacoustic monitoring
technologies combined with field-studies of wild birds around the Great
Lakes. If these topics interest you, please email me to introduce
I encourage my students
develop graduate thesis
projects that match their individual interests within the fields of
animal communication and avian bioacoustics. You may interact directly
of my ongoing research
projects or you may develop your own project. All projects in my lab
involve both field-based and lab-based research components. In Canada,
field research is possible in the vicinity of
University of Windsor's campus around the Great Lakes, at
Queen's University Biological Station in eastern Ontario, or at Bowdoin
Scientific Research Station in New Brunswick. In Costa Rica, field
possible in Sector Santa Rosa of the
Conservation Area. Presently, I
have ongoing field projects in Canada on the behavioural
ecology and communication strategies and mating strategies of songbirds
including Black-capped Chickadees and Savannah Sparrows. In
Costa Rica, I am presently studying the behaviour and ecology of
non-migratory, territorial birds, with a special focus on the duetting
behaviour of neotropical birds. You can learn more about my
current research projects by visiting my publications
My lab is equipped with advanced equipment for field
studies of animal behaviour and communication. In my lab
you can develop a research project using digital recording equipment
(for both automated recording and focal recording),
interactive playback equipment, multi-speaker playback equipment,
multi-channel array recording equipment (for both wired and wireless
microphone arrays), and high precision GPS
equipment. My lab is an international leader in the development of new
technologies for studying acoustic communication in wild animals, and
you can expect to develop expertise with state-of-the-art techniques in
this area. The lab component of your
research can involve computer-based analyses of single-channel and
multi-channel field recordings. The Mennill Sound Analysis Lab houses
over 150 TB of drive space containing more than a decade of archived
digital recordings from around the world. In
collaboration with my colleagues, you can also have access to advanced
facilities for laboratory analyses including
molecular paternity analyses, analyses of genetic relatedness,
assignment, and hormone analyses. The University of Michigan Vertebrate
Museum is only a short drive away in Ann Arbor, Michigan, so that
projects that focus on museum-based studies are also possible.
to expect in the Mennill Lab
My lab is a dynamic and
interactive place. You can
expect to interact with me and with the other graduate students,
undergraduate students, and postdocs in the lab on a
frequent basis. You can expect to develop skills in data
analysis and data presentation. I will encourage you and assist
you in preparing your research for publication in scientific
journals. I will also encourage you to present the results of
your research at scientific meetings. I expect
you to work hard and to approach your studies with a critical eye and a
creative state of mind. We often meet socially on Friday afternoons and
we have several lab social events every semester, often involving a
birdwatching expedition with a visiting guest speaker. Many
more social activities are organized by the Department of Biology
Graduate Students Association (DBGSA
Funding for graduate
studies in my lab is available through a variety
sources. As with all graduate students at the University of Windsor,
students in my lab are guaranteed a competitive funding package upon
admission to the graduate school. Funding comes in the form
of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (September to April of each year)
and Research Assistantships from my grants (May to August of each
year). Funding can be supplemented through
scholarships that you apply for. I
encourage you to apply for scholarships from NSERC (link: www.nserc.ca
, go to "Information for
Students and Fellows") and from OGS (link: osap.gov.on.ca
If you are not familiar with these programs, I can help you learn about
the application process. Details about grad student support, as well as
other information about my department, can be found at www.uwindsor.ca/biology
the Grad Students link along the left-hand side and choose Biological
Sciences Graduate Studies). I encourage all of my students to apply to
granting agencies who support graduate student research (see BirdNet
comprehensive list of all grants available).
The University of Windsor
is an excellent research university in
Ontario. Historically recognized for a strong teaching program, the
University has recently developed an impressive research portfolio in
the areas of ecology and evolution. The Ecology Evolution Environment
and Behaviour (EEEB) group
is comprised of a diverse group of research scientists that are some of
the most outstanding research-oriented biologists in Canada. Students
in my lab interact closely with Dr. Stephanie
studies the evolutionary ecology of animal colouration, Dr. Trevor
Pitcher, who studies
the ecology and evolution of mating systems in fish and birds, Dr.
Oliver Love, who
studies hormones and behaviour in wild birds, Dr.
Dennis Higgs, who studies fish sensory biology and fish
bioacoustics, and Dr. Daniel Heath, who studies molecular ecology and
conservation biology through genetic tools. You can access my
colleagues' webpages through this link
We bring in a wide
guest speakers to the
University of Windsor through the Departmental Seminar Series and
through the Behaviour Cognition and Neuroscience Seminar Series.
In the recent past we have hosted very stimulating visits from Dr.
Schulte-Hostedde, Dr. Peter Dunn, Dr. Linda Whittingham, Dr. Jordan
Price, Dr. John Klicka, Dr. Ryan Norris, Dr. Jeff Podos , Dr. David
Lahti, Dr. Beth MacDougall-Shackleton, Dr. Nigel
Mann, Dr. Ben Evans, Dr. Angelika
Poesel, Dr. Geoff Hill, Dr. Gail Patricelli, Dr. Chris Sturdy, Dr. Jim
Quinn, Dr. John Burt, and Dr. Michael Kasumovic.
The city of Windsor is a
goodplace to live and study. It
is an underrated city which hosts an impressive diversity of
restaurants, good pubs, many nearby hiking
trails, lakes and rivers, and reasonably-priced housing. Bird
around Windsor is excellent in all seasons. Point Pelee and Holiday
Beach are two of
the world's finest spots for watching bird migration, and they're both
just a short drive away. Many graduate students in my laboratory
volunteer with the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory, and have
expanded their mist netting skills each fall while assisting with local
migration monitoring efforts.
If you are interested in
graduate work in
my lab, please contact me to
introduce yourself (dmennillATuwindsorDOTca). Please include your
CV and a brief explanation of your
Note to non-Canadians:
My university has
international grad student tuition to such a degree that it is very
expensive for non-Canadians. University of Windsor does
offer a very limited number of scholarships for non-Canadians who
have strong track records (e.g. several published papers, high grades,
and experience as a biologist) and I would be happy to communicate with
you about these scholarships if this applies to you. Otherwise, it is
almost impossible for me to take on non-Canadians unless they have
funding. I hope that this situation might change in the future.
with a black-capped chickadee.
animal communication networks using a 16-channel acoustic
Setting up automated listening stations to conduct long-term remote
Multi-speaker playback for simulating interactions between multiple
Iinteractive playback for engaging territorial birds in realistic
The Biology Building at the University of Windsor and the
The Mennill Sound Analysis Laboratory.
Capacity for storage of over 150 terrabytes of digital sound recordings.
museum specimens at the nearby University of Michigan vertebrate museum.
Field research site: Ontario at Queen's University Biological Station
A black-capped chickadee at QUBS.
Winter field research banding chickadees at QUBS.
Field research site: The Mennill/Doucet research house in Costa Rica.
A duetting Thryothorus wren in Costa Rica.
Adventuresome field research in Canada or the tropics.