Sarah DuRant of Saluda, S.C., a fisheries and wildlife sciences doctoral student in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, received Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) awards from both the scientific research society Sigma Xi and the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology for her work and research with wood ducks.

DuRant received a Sigma Xi GIAR award for her research on immunological and energetic tradeoffs in young birds. By encouraging close working relationships with students, the Sigma Xi GIAR program encourages scientific excellence and achievement through hands-on learning.

The Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology selected DuRant to receive a GIAR award in the Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry division for her research titled “Slight changes in incubation temperature affect early growth and stress endocrinology in wood duck (Aix sponsa) ducklings.”

“Sarah is using a novel approach to study the intimate relationships between female birds and their developing offspring. Her findings are incredibly exciting and demonstrate that very small changes in a mother’s behavior during egg incubation can have profound effects on the health of her babies after they hatch,” said Bill Hopkins, fisheries and wildlife sciences associate professor and DuRant’s adviser.

Once she completes her doctorate, DuRant says she “plans to get a faculty position at a research university. I would really like to be involved in both research and teaching.”

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