PART 1: Birds, BEES, and Bloodsuckers

By Mary Alice Hartsock

His laboratory is empty save for a few boxes and bins stacked in a corner. His countertops are clean and shiny, with barely a trace of dust. There’s even a bit of an echo as the ornithologist opens a cabinet to reveal the one collection he couldn’t stand to leave at his old office—slides upon slides of parasites.

Meet Jason Weckstein, PhD, the Academy’s new associate curator of ornithology and associate professor in Drexel University’s Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science. Although his containers of books and research materials are trickling in slowly, he has already made quite a splash at the museum. His arrival in fall 2014 marked a tipping point in the Academy’s quest to situate our ornithology research program among the top programs in the country. And now that he has been at the Academy for a full year, we’re doing a five-part blog series: Birds, BEES, and Bloodsuckers.

[color-box color=”blue”]In the next four posts, discover why our Ornithology Department is now the second largest university-based bird collection in the world, read about Weckstein’s mission to help provide students with more hands-on research opportunities, find out why he started collecting the parasites along with his bird specimens, and learn what a day collecting birds in the Brazilian Amazon Basin looks like.

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5[/color-box]

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2015 edition of Academy Frontiers.

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