Sara Bellefontaine

2022 Weston Family Awards in Northern Research recipient

Picture of Sara Bellefontaine

Master’s student
University of Windsor

Since she started working with shorebirds in 2018, Sara has been passionate about conserving their habitat. Her past work was with shorebirds during their southbound migration; now she is following them back up North.

Sara will be looking at how weather and nest habitat affect Arctic-breeding shorebirds’ behaviour and physiology. Specifically, she wants to see whether changing conditions in the birds’ breeding grounds are making it more difficult for them to breed successfully. She’ll be using egg-based microphones—a relatively non-invasive method for measuring heart rate physiology of egg-laying animals. It’s Sara’s favourite part of project, as it means she can study the birds’ physiological responses to environmental change without causing them undue stress. She hopes this project’s success will encourage other field biologists to explore less invasive research methods—especially when studying ecology of declining populations or species at risk.

Learn more about the Weston Family Awards in Northern Research.

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