Taking the Long View: An inside look at the goings-on at the longest running avian ecology field station west of the Mississippi.

Where Are They Now? Featuring 2011 Palomarin Intern Amanda Gallinat

Where Are They Now?

Where do Palomarin interns go after they complete their internship with us? Our growing numbers of Palomarin alumni often continue on in the fields of conservation science and bird ecology, many becoming influential in their chosen field of study. Still others whose lives have gone in different directions have pursued paths of equal remark and fascination. To celebrate the diversity and successes of our former interns, volunteers, and staff, in the “Where Are They Now?” series we share stories of individual alumni, then and now.


Palomarin interns and staff spring/summer 2011 (Amanda top row, third from right )
Palomarin interns and staff spring/summer 2011 (Amanda top row, third from right )

Palomarin interns and staff spring/summer 2011 (Amanda top row, third from right )

Earlier this year, former Palomarin intern Amanda Gallinat – a spring/summer and fall bander in 2011 – published a significant manuscript in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE) along with her co-authors Richard Primack and David Wagner, entitled “Autumn, the neglected season in climate change research”. This paper, which can be found here, discusses the importance of the autumn season to the life cycles of many organisms, explains the manner and reasons why it has been largely overlooked by researchers to date, and summarizes critical opportunities to study the effects of climate change in autumn.

During Amanda’s time at Palomarin, many of us enjoyed numerous conversations with her about the relationship between the phenology (the timing of seasonally-occurring events, such as fruiting, flowering, breeding or migration) of plants, birds, and insects, and how all of those may be impacted by climate change – a topic of great interest to her and to us. (Another thing we regularly enjoyed during Amanda’s time at Palomarin: her mad baking skills). After working at Palomarin, Amanda worked as a field technician on Point Blue’s bird monitoring program in the Sierra Nevada, and then embarked in fall 2012 on a PhD program at Boston University in Dr. Richard Primack’s lab, where she is today. That same year, we integrated a new plant phenology monitoring protocol into our work at Palomarin to complement our bird and habitat studies (for more information on that in a recent publication of our own, see here), and we were excited to see Amanda simultaneously pursue research in this burgeoning field. Her dissertation research focuses on the impacts of a changing climate on plant and songbird phenology.

We always welcome Palomarin alumni to visit us, as well as to present on their graduate research or other work during our Friday Social speaker series (alumni readers out there: that means you!). And so we were thrilled to have Amanda return for a visit in 2013, during which she presented on her dissertation research, so we could learn about (and learn from) the great research questions she is exploring in the realm of phenology (and although we may not have the data to say this for certain, that may have been the first time we had a Friday Social speaker give their presentation while dressed as a California Quail).

About her time as an intern at Palomarin, Amanda says “Palo gave me a blueprint for what kind of researcher I want to be. During my internship, my interest in phenology grew enormously, not to mention I also learned to paper maché a giant acorn woodpecker [for our float in the Bolinas 4th of July parade]. I learned how important it is to ground research questions in field observations, to seek out great people for collaboration, and to make time to go see beautiful things outside, identify them for fun, and then write limericks about them. Palo, and everyone there, taught me that I could be a creative research scientist.”

Amanda has co-authored six phenology-related scientific manuscripts to date, including this most recent one as lead author, and we offer her a heartfelt congratulations on the accomplishment and its contribution to the phenology literature!

–Diana Humple

Amanda at Palomarin after banding a Western Scrub-Jay (photo by Sam Roberts)
Amanda at Palomarin after banding a Western Scrub-Jay (photo by Sam Roberts)