DeSimone selected for NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

August 3, 2023
Dr. Joely DeSimone examining songbird in the field. Photo courtesy of Joely DeSimone.
Dr. Joely DeSimone, a postdoctoral research scientist, was recently selected for a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology to begin in June 2024 under the mentorship of Dr. Emily Cohen with the Animal Migration Research Group at the Appalachian Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Each year, the NSF awards approximately 60 fellowships in biology to recent Ph.D. graduates and early career researchers.  
DeSimone’s project, “Migrant-resident community dynamics during the transition to breeding in a changing climate,” will examine how resident songbird communities interact with populations of traveling songbirds during spring and fall migration. Her work will attempt to determine if resident songbird communities assist non-residents by providing information about the location of necessary resources or if they compete for limited resources. She also hopes to learn whether migrant-resident interactions change within a migratory season as birds prepare to breed, and over decades in the face of climate change. The project will make use of 60 years of data from a long-term migration monitoring site, as well as current field studies.
“Given the numbers of migrating birds moving through habitats every spring and fall, it is surprising how little we know about the impacts these fluxes have on resident bird communities, particularly when food sources are limited and climate change may be altering these dynamics,” said Cohen. “Joely has developed a truly innovative approach that integrates analyses of long-term datasets with behavioral field experiments and physiological lab work to address timely questions about migrant-resident community dynamics. We are so excited that she received this prestigious award which will allow her to continue to work with us to answer these important questions for bird conservation.”
DeSimone observing in the field. Photo courtesy of Joely DeSimone.
During the offseason between spring and fall migrations, DeSimone will be devoting attention to developing a “near-peer” mentoring program for summer undergraduate interns and graduate students at the Appalachian Laboratory.
“This initiative will provide an additional layer of learning and mentoring to our existing undergraduate internship program at the Lab. The ‘near-peer’ mentoring will provide those graduate students supervising undergraduate interns with training and mentoring to support them in these new supervisory roles,” said DeSimone.
“Joely is a very thoughtful mentor. She worked with one of our undergraduate interns this summer, and her near-peer mentoring program will be an impactful addition to our education program at the Appalachian Lab,“ Cohen added.
Joely DeSimone holds a Ph.D. in Organismal Biology, Ecology and Evolution from the University of Montana and a B.A. in Biology from Amherst College.
To learn more about NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology visit, and visit to learn more about the Animal Migration Research Group at the Appalachian Laboratory.