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Vitek Jirinec awarded for best student presentation

Vitik Jirinec with Wood ThrushW&M biology graduate student Vitek Jirine received a Student Oral Presentation Award at the Annual SACNAS National Conference held in San Antonio, Texas this fall, presenting his work titled Does White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Browsing Affect Forest Songbird Communities? The SACNAS [Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science] Student Presentations Committee noted:

“Vitek Jirinec's communication skills and command of the research topic are exemplary. With this letter, we recognize the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that is necessary for a student to standout from their fellow presenters. We feel that your program is enhanced by the participation of Vitek Jirinec, as such commitment will drive fellow researchers to similar heights.”

Vitek works with graduate advisor Matthias Leu’s ACER lab, along with Biology Professor Dan Cristol, on the effects of human land use on bird distribution. His award-winning talk is the result of hundreds of hours in the field listening and observing birds in habitats with variable deer browsing stress. Preliminary analyses indicated differential response by birds to deer browsing.  Densities of five species, including four warbler species, breeding or foraging in the forest shrub layer correlated negatively with deer browsing intensity whereas densities of nine species, including woodpeckers and flycatchers, breeding or foraging in the forest shrub or canopy layer correlated positively with deer browsing intensity. Vitek is currently writing his talk up for publication.

Vitek Jirinec Holding a woodthrush An Eastern Worm Snake held by grad student Vitek Jirinek
Left to right: Biology graduate student Vitek Jirinec banding a Wood Thrush; holding a banded Wood Thrush; holding an Eastern Worm Snake.