Maina Handmaker

Concentration: Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology

Degree Plan: Ph.D

Started program: August 2020, lab transferred to UMass in August 2022

From: Louisville, KY

Maina earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Visual Arts from Bowdoin College. She joined the Senner Lab from the Manomet Shorebird Recovery Program team, where she worked as the Communications Specialist for the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). For her PhD research, Maina is uses movement ecology methods to uncover clues about how long-distance migratory shorebirds might respond to environmental change. She is currently studying the role nocturnal roost sites play in the stopover ecology and migratory performance of Atlantic flyway Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). By tracking Whimbrel movements during and after their spring stopover on the coast of South Carolina, she is investigating how individuals select foraging and roosting sites and working to better understand how those choices influence their entire annual cycle. Maina hopes this new information about Whimbrel migratory behavior can inform targeted conservation action to help turn the tide for this declining species.