Matt Fuirst presented his thesis on herring gull foraging ecology and microbiome characteristics along an urban gradient, and successfully defended his MS at SoMAS in July. Matt’s thesis represents the culmination of three intense field seasons at three different breeding colonies in New York and Massachusetts, with the help of many volunteers at SoMAS and beyond. His thesis demonstrated that urban habitats had strong impacts on gull foraging behavior, and linked foraging and movement ecology with the gull microbiota; gulls foraging in more diverse habitats showed higher levels of microbial diversity, even if when breeding in less urban environments.
Matt is beginning a PhD in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph in the fall. Congrats and best of luck to you, Matt!