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Ensuring Long-term Survival of Endangered Cranes

Producing large numbers of fertile eggs is crucial to the conservation of many bird species. Currently, 11 out of 15 crane species are listed as vulnerable or endangered worldwide, and reproduction rates of cranes in conservation facilities are low. Without reproduction, population sustainability, including maintenance of healthy and genetically diverse crane populations, is at risk. Researchers will examine the seasonal relationship between hormones and egg production in Sandhill cranes as a model for other endangered cranes. The team will track ovarian activity via ultrasound, and hormone concentrations via blood and fecal sample analysis. Findings will be used to better understand why some females consistently produce eggs while others do not, and to enhance global crane conservation efforts. This study will fund a promising young researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.


INVESTIGATOR: Megan E. Brown, MSc, Smithsonian Institution