Dr, Thomas Virzi

About Tom Virzi

Tom Virzi is the principal investigator studying the endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow in the Florida Everglades and our Estuary Restoration Project, which examines the effect of estuary restoration on bird populations in north Puget Sound His research interests focus on population ecology of threatened avian species. He maintains a philosophy that education is a critical component of scientific research that is often undervalued in its importance towards achieving conservation goals.

“Why should I care about this bird?”

Or – “What does it do for us?” Two questions I get asked very often, sometimes at the same time put together in one compound sentence. It is an anthropocentric question that I personally find very difficult to answer for a number of reasons. I’ve been asked this question countless times and yet I […]

By |March 19th, 2017|News|Comments Off on “Why should I care about this bird?”|

Time for Crunching Data

Ever wonder what we do outside the field season here at Ecostudies? This is just one example of the kind of work we’re doing right now…all of which pretty much involves crunching data that we collected the past field season! Sure, we have some projects that still get us out in the field this time […]

By |September 28th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Time for Crunching Data|

Sexing Sparrows

Our first report from the genetics lab which successfully determined the sex of a juvenile Cape Sable seaside sparrow!

Now that our field season in the Everglades is over it’s time to do some serious data analysis, and sexing juvenile sparrows using DNA extracted from feather samples was one of our objectives this year.

Sexing seaside sparrows […]

By |August 24th, 2015|CSSS|Comments Off on Sexing Sparrows|

Everglades National Park from Above

Today I was in the right place at the right time. I spent the early morning hours assisting Everglades National Park with their range-wide Cape Sable seaside sparrow helicopter surveys, which involves flying researchers out to marl prairie sites, dropping them off to conduct a standardized point count survey, and picking them up to […]

By |May 26th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Everglades National Park from Above|

Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire
By Tom Virzi
Fire is a natural and important element in the south Florida prairies where we are studying both the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow and the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. Under natural conditions, fires started by lightning strikes occur relatively frequently during the early part of the rainy season. They perform an important ecosystem function by […]

By |April 11th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Prairie Fire|

Early Morning Routine

Early Morning Routine
By Tom Virzi
 

Ever wonder what a typical field day in the Everglades looks like? It starts with silhouetted trees against a pre-dawn sky in the Everglades National Park visitor’s center parking lot, our meeting place to drive together to our field sites out in the marl prairies. The beginning of the field season […]

By |April 6th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Early Morning Routine|

Sparrows are Singing!

Sparrows are Singing!
By Tom Virzi
 

We just finished up our first week in the field and found plenty of Cape Sable seaside sparrows singing!  That’s what the beginning of the field season is all about…finding those singing males.  As you can see from this photo this is no easy task.  We spend our mornings walking […]

By |March 21st, 2015|News|Comments Off on Sparrows are Singing!|

Team Sparrow on the Ground

Team Sparrow on the Ground
By Tom Virzi
 

Yesterday morning we started our 2015 field season for our Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow project!  On the left is Michelle Davis, Ecostudies wildlife biologist and field supervisor for the Cape Sable project.  That’s me in the middle.  To my right is our newest addition to the Ecostudies team, Irene Steves, […]

By |March 17th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Team Sparrow on the Ground|

Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
By Tom Virzi
 

So for my first blog post from the field in 2015 I’m going to tell you about a different sparrow than you might be expecting.  I was just down in Florida setting up a new field experiment studying the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus), a closely-related cousin of the Cape Sable […]

By |March 5th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Florida Grasshopper Sparrow|

Field Season Around the Corner!

Field Season Around the Corner!
By Tom Virzi

I can’t believe it’s almost March and my first field season working on the Cape Sable seaside sparrow project with Ecostudies Institute is just around the corner!  All of our breeding season field projects are about to get into high gear so keep an eye on our Field Blog for […]

By |February 17th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Field Season Around the Corner!|