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Murry Burgess

Graduate Student | Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources | North Carolina State University

2022 – 2023 Global Change Fellow

Where are they now?

Murry is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University.

Statement of purpose:

I am an Associate Wildlife Biologist®, Urban Ecologist, Environmental Educator, and Children’s Author. I am currently pursuing my PhD in Wildlife and Conservation Biology at NC State, researching the impacts of sensory pollutants on songbirds. I am also an avid birder and JEDI advocate. I became interested in birds after an undergrad Ornithology course. I realized at the start of graduate school how important urban ecology is in making cities more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Light pollution not only affects the health and physiology of birds, but the health of humans, as well as increased carbon emissions. I hope that my research with birds and artificial light will lead to more sustainable lighting options being used in new developments and established protected dark sky environments.

Description of research:

I conduct a field experiment with Barn Swallow chicks, testing their physical development and metabolic health under artificial natural light at night and natural conditions. She measures chicks as they grow and collects blood samples for laboratory analysis of glucose, proteins, and genetic expression. After 2 field seasons, my data so far shows that chicks raised in artificial light trend smaller and take longer to fledge (grow feathers and leave the nest).

More information:

Field Inclusive Mission:

  1. Recognize & celebrate diverse scientists.
  2. Provide scholarships to field biologists in the natural sciences.
  3. Partner with other organizations to help them create safety policies for field biologists.

Contact Information:


Faculty Advisor:

Caren Cooper (Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NCSU)