My name is Amanda Beckman and I'm a PhD Student in Texas A&M's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program. I am co-advised by Dr. Gil Rosenthal and Dr. Sarah Hamer, and I am interested in studying animal behavior, and for my dissertation I am researching Wild Turkeys. My research includes studying the genetic structure of the Rio Grande subspecies of Wild Turkey and extent of subspecies hybridization using feathers samples collected from researchers and hunters. I also am investigating the genomic impacts of turkey's close association with humans in different contexts.
If you are interested in assisting my project by donating feathers please see this page for an interactive map of where I have received feathers from, and my contact information to join the project.
After experiencing some COVID delays- the lab work for my dissertation is almost done! I only have a handful of feather samples left to process. It will take a few months for me to get the sequencing results back, so I am aiming to share some preliminary results by the end of summer!
I have updated the map on the Wild Turkey Feathers page to include all the feathers collected in 2020. I am going to be spending a lot of time in the lab over the next semester extracting DNA from all the feathers sent to me! I am still interested in collecting feathers from states that are sparsely sampled in 2021, so please get in contact with me if you see any gaps near your upcoming hunting locations
I am starting lab work extracting DNA from feathers! I am working on figuring out how many feathers per individual are needed for genomic sequencing.
Lex and I presented at the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society meeting in Corpus Christi. I presented a talk titled: Roosting and behavioral patterns of Rio Grande Wild Turkeys in South Texas, and Lex presented a poster titled Rio Grande Wild Turkeys and the effect of parasite load on behavior. Additionally, I was awarded the Dan Boone Memorial Scholarship!