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Research

Bald and golden eagles face many stressors caused by wind turbines, lead poisoning, electrocutions, and illegal shootings. Unfortunately, current conservation management plans are not as strong or useful as they could be due to a lack of genetic information about each species. Seeing this need for information, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s Grey Snow Eagle House reached out to Oklahoma State University (Ronald A. Van Den Bussche laboratory) to partner in developing a genetic research program for bald and golden eagles. Utilizing the generated genetics and genomic data, this project aims to determine conservation units and answer debated questions about bald and golden eagle ecology. Currently, Aviary Assistant Manager Megan Judkins is working on this project with the Principle Investigator Dr. Ronald A. Van Den Bussche.

Currently, this project is working with over 15 non-governmental organizations, 3 government organizations, and the Grey Snow Eagle house to obtain blood samples from eagles from throughout the United States. These samples have helped us generate 28 bald eagle genomes generated at a 2X coverage, one golden eagle genome generated at an 88X coverage, and over 200 bald and golden eagle samples that will be analyzed to create the conservation units.  Megan and Ronald are also members in the Western Golden Eagle Landscape Genomics Working group organized by Fish and Wildlife. To visit our collaborator’s, Dr. Ronald Van Den Bussche, website please visit http://ronvandenbussche.wix.com/vdblab. To inquire about this project, please contact Megan Judkins at mjudkins@iowanation.org or visit her research website at meganjudkins.wix.com/research.