Research Scientist / Migratory Bird Center
Brandt is interested in understanding the factors that influence adaptive behavioral variation, individual fitness, and population dynamics. His research uses birds as a model system to answer questions about movement ecology, sexual selection, social behavior and population demography. Dr. Ryder's research program spans both North and South America. In southern Indiana, Brandt leads a landscape scale study examining the local and landscape factors which, are driving the population dynamics of a declining neotropical migrant, the wood thrush. On the Channel Islands, Dr. Ryder collaborates with Dr. Sillett to answer questions about how the social environment of island scrub-jays influences dispersal and recruitment. Finally, Brandt collaborates with Dr. Marra on questions about how the novel selection pressures associated with urbanization impact avian vital rates and mate choice. In Ecuador, Dr. Ryder continues a long-term study of the reproductive and social behavior of a cooperative lek-breeding bird, the wire-tailed manakin. Brandt recently received NSF support to examine the proximate links between individual variation in hormone-signaling pathways, behavioral phenotype and social network structure. Future work in South America will focus on the non-breeding ecology of neotropical migrant birds wintering in intact primary forest vs. agro-ecosystems (e.g., shade grown cacao and coffee).
Ryder, Thomas B. and Sillett, T. Scott. Climate, demography and lek stability in an Amazonian bird, Proc.R.Soc.B, 283 (1823) 20152314. 2016.
Rushing, Clark S., Ryder, Thomas B. and Marra, Peter P. Quantifying drivers of population dynamics for a migratory bird throughout the annual cycle, Proc.R.Soc.B, 283 (1823) 20152846. 2016.
Rushing, Clark S., Ryder, Thomas B., Scarpignato, Amy L., Saracco, James F. and Marra, Peter P. Using demographic attributes from long-term monitoring data to delineate natural population structure, Journal of Applied Ecology, 53 (2) 491-500. 2016.
St Clair, James J. H., Burns, Zackory T., Bettaney, Elaine M., Morrissey, Michael B., Otis, Brian, Ryder, Thomas B., Fleischer, Robert C., James, Richard and Rutz, Christian. Experimental resource pulses influence social-network dynamics and the potential for information flow in tool-using crows, Nature Communications, 6 7197. 2015.
Evans, Brian S., Ryder, Thomas B., Reitsma, Robert, Hurlbert, Allen H. and Marra, Peter P. Characterizing avian survival along a rural-to-urban land use gradient, Ecology, 96 (6) 1631-1640. 2015.