Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Tam Ta

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Winter 2022

Research Project: Efficacy of remote monitoring tools in the detection of predation events on a rare seabird

Project Description: The Scripp’s murrelet (Synthliboramphus scrippsi; hereafter murrelet) is an endangered seabird with a restricted breeding range and the largest breeding colonies at the Channel Islands National Park. At the Channel Islands, one of the top threats to breeding populations is adult predation. Murrelets are long-lived seabirds and adult survival is an important demographic parameter for the viability of a population. Our study uses remote monitoring technologies to determine key predators of adult murrelets and the extent of predation at Anacapa Island to inform future management strategies for the conservation of murrelets.

What have you learned throughout your research project?

Aside from the technical skills involved in research, I’ve learned to be more independent, which has allowed me to be more efficient and proactive in my work. At the same time, I learned about the values of collaboration and working as a team. I realized that research calls for a healthy balance of independence and teamwork, allowing me to develop extensive experience on both sides of the spectrum.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

To the future Mary Gates Scholarship applicants, my best piece of advice would be to not be afraid to seek help. I understand it can be very intimidating to do so, but I wholeheartedly believe that the critiques from my mentor was a monumental reason for me becoming a Mary Gates Scholar.