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Friends of Dyke Marsh Program – Evolution’s Subtle Signs in Marsh Wrens

  • Mount Vernon Government Center 2511 Parkers Lane Alexandria, VA, 22306 United States (map)

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The basic processes of evolution are happening in every generation in every species, but they are almost impossible to observe. They are typically slow and subtle.

On February 25, 2018, Dr. Sarah Luttrell will talk about her work on evolution and speciation in the marsh wren (Cistothorus palustris).  Dr. Luttrell studies how evolution works by studying subspecies of birds. She will examine how comparing multiple traits like plumage color, size and shape, vocal behavior and genetics in marsh wrens has revealed an exciting pattern of evolution in this bird.

Historically, Dyke Marsh was the only known nesting area of the marsh wren in the upper Potomac River tidal zone.  Sadly, their numbers have been steadily declining and surveyors have not confirmed breeding marsh wrens since 2014, probably largely because of habitat loss, but the cause has not been definitively determined.

This free, public program will be at 2:00 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Governmental Center, 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria 22306. This is between the George Washington/Mount Vernon Memorial Parkway and U.S. 1, just off Sherwood Hall Lane, behind the Mount Vernon Fire Station.  Parking is available here and across the street at Whitman Middle School.  Program is co-sponsored by ASNV. 

Earlier Event: February 3
Winter Waterfowl Count