Welcome Jenn Foote - new SE

Submitted by Michi on 28 February 2024.


Jenn is a professor at Algoma University, Canada. Read more about her research and interests in the interview below!

Keywords: animal communication, birdsong, vocal interactions, communication networks, avian ecology

Personal website   Twitter: @TheOVEN_Foote


1. What's your main research focus at the moment?
 My current research focuses on nocturnal and dawn vocal behaviour in a temperate North American forest community with a particular focus on ovenbirds and white-throated sparrows but with frequent diversions into studying questions that fascinate me in our autonomous recording dataset.

                       Setting up song meters in the Maungatautari Sanctuary in New Zealand.

2. Can you describe your research career? Where, what, when?
I began my research career in Halifax, Nova Scotia at St. Mary’s (BSc) and Dalhousie (MSc) Universities studying vocal behaviour of Song Sparrows. My PhD research focused on communication networks in Black-capped Chickadees at Queen’s University Biological Station, where I got to experience field-work in all seasons and the joys of field station life including skiing and swimming on/in beautiful Lake Opinicon. After a very brief post-doc at University of Windsor, I moved to Algoma University in Northern Ontario, which is a small primarily undergraduate university. Moving to Sault Ste Marie was a nice fit with my field-station lifestyle where there is are many easily accessible places close to home  to study vocal behaviour in the field.

3. How come that you became a scientist with an interest in birds?
I started my undergraduate degree imagining I wanted to study medicine having never heard of the field of Ecology but quickly changed my path and was drawn to classes in Ecology and Evolution. I was lucky to get a summer position to study Song Sparrows for my last summer of my undergraduate degree with my mentor Dr. Colleen Barber. I knew nothing about birds (aside from recognizing the common species in the backyard) or how to record their songs but fell in love with field research and developed a fascination for vocal communication behaviour.

4. Enough about work: what do you do when you're not working?
In my spare time I like to downhill and cross-country ski in the winter and mountain bike in the summer on the beautiful trails near my home and where I also work in the field. I recently started competing in obstacle course competitions including the Canadian Ninja League.

                         Jenn Foote and her kids in a parade as part of our lab's Chimney Swift float.