CV

Christy N. Wails

424 Montgomery Hall ◆ Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115


Education

Ph.D. Student in Biology
Northern Illinois University, Sept 2016 – Current
Supervisor: Dr. Holly Jones
Dissertation title: Quantifying the effects of early competition on fitness and niche specialization: A natural experiment in a restored ecosystem

Master of Science in Biology
University of New Brunswick, Saint John Campus, May 2014 – May 2016
Supervisor: Dr. Heather Major
Thesis: Movement, colony attendance, and social behaviour of prospecting Least and Crested Auklets

Bachelor of Science in Biology
Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus, Jan 2010 – Dec 2013
Supervisors: Drs. Jennifer Arnold and Steve Oswald
Undergraduate research


Peer-reviewed Manuscripts

Accepted, in press, & published

Wails, C. N. and H. L. Major. 2017. Fitting in with the crowd: The role of prospecting in seabird behavioural trends. Canadian Journal of Zoology 95(4): 247 – 253. [html]

Wails, C. N., E. D. Gruber, E. Slattery, L. Smith, and H. L. Major. 2017. Glowing in the light: Ultraviolet fluorescence of crevice-nesting seabirds. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129(1): 155 – 158. [html]

Wails, C. N., S. A. Oswald, and J. M. Arnold. 2014. Are morphometrics sufficient for estimating age of pre-fledging birds in the field? A test using Common Terns (Sterna hirundo). PLoS ONE 9(11): e111987. [html]

Oswald, S. A., C. N. Wails, B. E. Morey, and J. M. Arnold. 2013. Caspian Terns (Hydroprogne caspia) fledge a Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) chick: Successful waterbird adoption across taxonomic families. Waterbirds 36(3): 385 – 389. [html]

Submitted, in review, & in revision

Wails, C. N. and H. L Major. In Revision. Seasonal timing of colony attendance by prospecting Crested Auklets driven by energetic costs of molt.

Wails, C. N., H. L. Major., and I. L. Jones. In Revision. Year round colony attendance behavior of Crested Auklets (Aethia cristatella) at their prototypical Aleutian breeding site.


Unpublished & Technical Reports

Schacter, C. R., K. F. Robbins, and C. N. Wails. 2016. Quantifying migration, movement, wintering areas and philopatry of auklets (Aethia spp.) originating from Aleutian Island breeding sites. NPRB Project 1212 Preliminary Report. 10 pp. [project info]

Wails, C. N. and K. Vagos. 2016. An evaluation of forest structure of Connecticut’s island habitat and wading bird colonies in the Long Island Sound. Unpublished report prepared for the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Westbrook, CT.

Wails, C. N. and K. Vagos. 2016. Population viability and projected trends of Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) at Falkner Island, Connecticut. Unpublished report prepared for the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Westbrook, CT.

Wails, C. N. 2016. Movement, colony attendance, and social behaviour of prospecting Least and Crested Auklets. M.Sc. Thesis. Department of Biological Sciences, University of New Brunswick: Saint John, NB. [html]


Grants and Awards

Scholarships, fellowships, & awards: $9,300

2017 Northern Illinois University Dennis Larsen Memorial Scholarship in Biology ($5,000 USD)
2014 New Brunswick Innovation Foundation: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarship ($3,000 USD / $4,000 CAD)
2013 Penn State University Division of Science Young Investigator Award ($150 USD)
2013 Penn State University Division of Science Peer Tutoring Award ($150 USD)
2013 Penn State University Harold W. Perkins Endowment at PSU Berks ($1,000 USD)

Research grants: $5,900

2016 Northern Illinois University Biological Sciences Departmental Grant ($750 USD)
2015 Association of Field Ornithologists Alexander Bergstrom Memorial Research Award ($1,000 USD)
2013 Penn State University Undergraduate Summer Discovery Grant ($3,000 USD)
2011 – 2013 Penn State University Undergraduate Research Funding ($1,150 USD)

Travel awards: $4,300

2017 Waterbird Society Student Travel Award ($325 USD)
2015 University of New Brunswick School of Graduate Studies Travel Grant ($225 USD / $300 CAD)
2015 Pacific Seabird Group Student Travel Awards ($450 USD)
2013 Waterbird Society Student Travel Award ($100 USD)
2012 North American Ornithological Conference V Student Travel Award ($500 USD)
2011 – 2013 Penn State University Undergraduate Research Conference Travel Request ($900 USD per year)


Relevant Employment

Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant (PhD)
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL
September 2016 – Current
Marking and grading assignments and exams. Summer assistant in research greenhouse.
ENVS302 – Environmental Science II: Biological Systems

Shorebird Intern
Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge
Westbrook, CT
May 2016 – August 2016
Internship sponsored by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Connecticut Audubon, and Connecticut DEEP. Identified and monitored nests of Least Terns, Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, Killdeer, and Common Terns across eight beaches. Maintained electric fences and sound system, tracked mammalian and avian predators, and managed trail cameras. Consolidated resighting of shorebirds by island staff and assisted island staff with Common and Roseate Tern censusing at Falkner Island. Developed and presented interpretive environmental education programs on nesting shorebirds to beach-goers. Surveyed Diamondback Terrapin nests.

Teaching Assistant
University of New Brunswick
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
September 2014 – May 2016
Lab preparation, support, and assistance for undergraduate courses. Marking and grading assignments and exams. Occasional lectures (as a substitute for course instructors).
BIOL1017 – Applications in Biology II (two semesters)
BIOL2615 – Introduction to Zoology (two semesters)
BIOL2858 – Introduction to Ecology
BIOL3055 – Animal Physiology I
BIOL4022 – Evolution
BIOL4326 – Biology of Marine Birds
BIOL4935 – Comparative Animal Behaviour

Independent Consultant
November 2012 – December 2012, April 2015 – August 2015
Used R to develop and revise statistical figures for publication by Nisbet et al. 2013. Waterbirds 36: 121 – 252 and Nisbet et al. 2015. Waterbirds 38: 415 – 419.

Supplemental Instructor
Pennsylvania State University
Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, USA
August 2011 – December 2013
Held writing workshops, exam reviews, and online help sessions. Revision of lab materials. General lecture and lab preparation and teaching assistance. Proctored exams. Recorded attendance.
SC100 – Introduction to Research
BIOL220W – Biology: Populations and Communities (three semesters)
BIOL240W – Biology: Function and Development of Organisms

Berks International Conservation Internship (Year-long)
Pennsylvania State University
August 2011 – August 2012
Project Owlnet
Friedensberg, Pennsylvania, USA
Banded and collected field data. Opened and closed mist nets and set up audio lures. Monitored nets and extracted owls (including Northern Saw-whet Owls and Eastern Screech Owls). Performed educational programs. Participated in a pilot study on nocturnal migration involving marine sonar and forward looking infrared (FLIR) cameras.

Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Brighton, Ontario, Canada
Field data collection for research on Common Terns and Ring-billed Gulls: trapped and handed adult Common Terns, handed and measured eggs and chicks, observed provisioning and chick behavior, measurement of nesting vegetation, and data entry. Assisted management of Double-crested Cormorant nesting sites, forest regeneration programs, and conducted park visitor education programs. Photographed images used in publication by Arnold and Oswald 2013. Bird Study 60(2): 275 – 279.

Berks International Conservation Internship (Seasonal)
Pennsylvania State University
January 2011 – August 2011, January 2013 – December 2013
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Brighton, Ontario, Canada
Field data collection for research on Common Terns and Ring-billed Gulls: trapped and handed adult Common Terns. Assisted in the development and implementation of a Common Tern adoption program in 2012. Assisted management of Double-crested Cormorant nest sites.


Volunteer History

Volunteer Island Technician
Auckland University of Technology
Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand
March 2017 – May 2017
Assisted in data collection at seabird islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

Banding Volunteer
Friends of Mana Island & New Zealand Department of Conservation
Mana Island
April 2017
Banding Sooty Shearwater chicks and monitoring burrows of Common Diving Petrels.

Volunteer Seabird Technician
Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust
Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand
March 2017 – May 2017
Assisted in at-sea surveys of New Zealand Storm-petrels and entered historical data.

Small Mammal Trapping Volunteer
Northern Illinois University
Nachusa Grasslands, Illinois
October 2016
Assisted in trapping and PIT tagging of small mammals at Nachusa Grasslands.

Field Volunteer
University of New Brunswick, Saint John
Saint John, Saint Andrews, and Point Lepreau New Brunswick
August 2015, March – April 2016
Collection of tidal marine invertebrates for open house programs at UNB. Volunteer observer for sea duck migration at the Point Lepreau Bird Observatory.

Island Support Volunteer
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
Buldir, Hawadax, Amchitka, Tanaga, Kanaga, Adak, and Great Sitkin Islands, Alaska
August 2015
Provided assistance for chartered activities and assisted in resupply of field camps.

Caribou Survey Volunteer
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge
Kagalaska Island, Alaska
May 2014
Surveyed transects for signs of Caribou on Kagalaska Island in the Aleutian Islands.

Banding Volunteer
Project Owlnet
Friedensberg, Pennsylvania
September – November 2012, September – November 2013
Opened and closed mist nets and set up audio lures. Monitored nets and extracted owls. Banded and collected data. Performed educational programs.

Web Camera Operator
Explore.org
Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge and Project Puffin
August 2012 – March 2013
Monitored and controlled web cameras stationed on Osprey, seabirds, and Gray Seals. Recorded breeding behavior of observed species and fledging events of juvenile Osprey.


Presentations

Professional presentations

Wails, C. N.*, H. L. Major, and I. L. Jones. 2016. Temporal variation in colony attendance of Crested Auklets. Pacific Seabird Group 43rd Annual Meeting. O’ahu, Hawai’i, USA. Oral presentation. [html]

Smith, L., C. N. Wails*, and H. L. Major. 2016. Where have all the auklets gone? Sea surface temperature as a factor in the reproductive failure of Crested Auklets on Gareloi Island in 2015. Pacific Seabird Group 43rd Annual Meeting. O’ahu, Hawai’i, USA. Poster. [abstract]

Wails, C. N.*, and H. L. Major. 2015. Behaviour of prospecting and adult auklets. Pacific Seabird Group 42nd Annual Meeting. San Jose, California, USA. Poster. [html]

Wails, C. N.*, S. A. Oswald, and J. M. Arnold. 2013. Evaluating accuracy and utility of a field tool for estimating ages of Common Tern chicks. Waterbird Society 37th Annual Meeting. Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Poster. [html]

Oswald, S. A., C. N. Wails*, B. E. Morey, and J. M. Arnold. 2013. Caspian Terns (Hydroprogne caspia) fledge a Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) chick: Successful waterbird adoption across taxonomic families. Waterbird Society 37th Annual Meeting. Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Poster. [html]

Wails, C. N.*, S. A. Oswald, and J. M. Arnold. 2012. Common Tern productivity estimates: A tool for aging chicks in the field. North American Ornithological Conference V. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Poster. [html]

Working groups & other presentations

Wails, C. N.*, S. A. Oswald, and J. M. Arnold. 2013. Evaluating accuracy and utility of a field tool for estimating ages of Common Tern chicks. Great Lakes Area Working Group on Colonial Waterbirds 32nd Annual Meeting. Brighton, Ontario, Canada. Poster. [html]

Oswald, S. A., C. N. Wails*, B. E. Morey, and J. M. Arnold. 2013. Caspian Terns (Hydroprogne caspia) fledge a Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) chick: Successful waterbird adoption across taxonomic families. Great Lakes Area Working Group on Colonial Waterbirds 32nd Annual Meeting. Brighton, Ontario. Poster. [html]

Wails, C. N.*, S. A. Oswald, and J. M. Arnold. 2013. Terns of the Canadian Great Lakes: Ecology and conservation. Pennsylvania State University Berks Awards Ceremony. Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Invited Talk.

Wails, C. N.*, and B. E. Morey. 2013. The benefits of undergraduate research. Pennsylvania State University Berks Undergraduate Research Luncheon. Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Invited Talk.

Wails, C. N.*, S. A. Oswald, and J. M. Arnold. 2012. Common Tern productivity estimates: A tool for aging chicks in the field. Great Lakes Area Working Group on Colonial Waterbirds 31st Annual Meeting. Clayton, New York, USA. Invited Talk.

Wails, C. N.*, S. A. Oswald, and J. M. Arnold. 2012. Common Tern productivity estimates: A tool for aging chicks in the field. Higher Education Council of Berks County 13th Annual Conference for Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression. Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, USA. Poster. [html]

Wails, C. N.*, S. A. Oswald, J. M. Arnold, and C. S. Weidensaul. 2012. Northern Saw-whet Owl morphometrics: The preliminary results. Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art Project Owlnet Post-season Meeting. Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA. Invited Talk.

Wails, C. N.*, S. A. Oswald, and J. M. Arnold. 2011. Common Tern productivity estimates: A tool for aging chicks in the field. Great Lakes Area Working Group on Colonial Waterbirds 30th Annual Meeting. Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Invited Talk.

Electronic Conferences

Wails, C. N.* and H. L. Major. 2017. Seasonal timing of colony attendance by prospecting Crested Auklets as a strategy to maximize fitness. World Seabird Twitter Conference 3. #wstc3 [abstracts]/[storify]

*Presenting author.


Academic Service

Journal referee (PLoS ONE, Wilson Journal of Ornithology)

High school STEM mentor, Illinois Science & Technology Coalition’s Mentor Matching Engine


Skills

Certifications & Training
CPR/First Aid certification (May 2016).
GSA sponsored defensive driver training course (May 2016).

Field
Handling, banding, and obtaining measurements from birds (including Grey-faced Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Common Diving Petrel, Least and Crested Auklets, Common Tern, Ring-billed Gull, Northern Saw-whet and Eastern Screech Owls, and waterfowl). Six years of experience setting up and extracting birds from mist nets, treadle traps, and noose carpets. Experience with small motorcraft. Installation of small solar power arrays in remote field camps.

Laboratory
Experience with chemistry techniques and sample analysis (including stable isotopes, TLC, column chromatography, IR, and NMR). Preparation of avian museum specimens.

Software
Statistical analysis and graphics in R and MATLAB. Proficient with HTML. Advanced applications of Microsoft Excel and Publisher, Adobe Photoshop.


Last updated May 2017.