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DOS February Meeting: “Species limits and conservation of the Sharp-shinned Hawk complex” by Therese A. Catanach

February 15, 2023 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm EST

The Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) complex is widely distributed across the New World, breeding from western Alaska to Argentina.  Although currently treated as a single species, based on size and plumage variation some authorities have suggested there may be multiple species of “Sharpie”. Using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences from over 50 samples, from across the geographic distribution of the group, we reconstructed an evolutionary tree (phylogeny) to test species limits in the A. striatus complex. In particular, we densely sampled across the Caribbean and the Neotropics, where 8 of the 10 recognized subspecies are breeding residents. Our findings confirm that Sharp-shinned Hawk is a complex of multiple species, including several unique and geographically restricted lineages with small populations, which are of special conservation concern.

Dr. Therese Catanach is an ornithologist and entomologist who studies the evolutionary biology of hawks and eagles (Accipitridae) and their associated feather lice. They hold two doctoral degrees, one in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology (University of Illinois), and the other in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (Texas A&M University). They have been a Research Associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) since January 2016, and have conducted fieldwork around the world including in the United States, Philippines, Tanzania, Kenya, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, South Africa, Swaziland, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Argentina, and the islands of Dominica (West Indies) and Ascension (South Atlantic).

The meeting is held online via Zoom software.

Members will receive an email with Zoom login info prior to the meeting.  If you are not a member and would like to attend, please use the button below to request login info which is available a few days before the meeting.

We look forward to ‘seeing’ you soon!