College students solving mysteries in the rehabilitation of native wildlife

QUECHEE, Vt. (WCAX) – The Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences attracts thousands of bird lovers every year to see the regenerating raptors.

Emily Curd is an assistant professor of natural sciences at Landmark College. During one of his visits to VINS, Curd says he noticed that some raptors did not recognize their sexuality in the exhibit.

“Birds are not always, you know, they do not always tell you. They leave internal organs inside. If they’re not different, if they do not have their sexual dimorphism, if men and women do not look different, sometimes it’s not easy to say, “Curd said.

So, in collaboration with VINS Landmark, Cord’s Principles of Biology class analyzed the DNA of eight victims at a rehabilitation center over the past four weeks.

“If you can give students a purpose, they can see, ‘Oh, look, there’s actually a bird. There’s a real show.

Yogurt says there is a tiny DNA on the tip of a feather, and they perform a test called gel electrophoresis, which determines if the bird has two sex chromosomes or one. Two refer to the female and one to the male.

“I think the piping was really fun to extract the DNA and see what it looks like under the gel,” said Sophomore Alex Kyratos.

Studies from students at Landmark College indicate that two turtle eagles in VINS have two different sex chromosomes, Poltuni and Randolph, and that they are female. This is information that the museum did not have before, and now it will help them understand more

“It gives us a better idea of ​​their behavior over time or breeding season,” said Emily Johnson of VINS.

Members of the VINS community vote on what sex each bird considers, and shared the results of Saturday’s class findings with the center and students.

“It’s kind of fun to have a real bird there that I learned about, and I might see him here, and it would be so awesome,” said second-year student Hannah Goldman.

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