Samantha Franks

Sam Franks


Research Ecologist


I work on a range of projects examining the affect of climate change and habitat on bird populations, with a particular focus on migrants


2012 - PhD, Simon Fraser University, Canada: Population connectivity and the causes and consequences of differential migration in a long distance migratory shorebird, the Western Sandpiper
2005 - BSc Honours Zoology, University of Toronto, Canada

Research Interests/Responsibilities

My research interests focus on exploring how our changing environment is influencing avian populations, particularly long-distance migrants.  I'm particularly interested in investigating the ecological drivers of survival and productivity, and relating events across the annual cycle to changes in the demographic processes influencing population change.  Some of my research will also investigate how aspects of the environment, including habitat and climatic variables, influence patterns of avian distribution and abundance.  I've used a range of methods, including stable isotopes and geolocators, to track the movements and connectivity of migrant bird populations throughout the annual cycle and to investigate how events occurring in one season carry-over to influence fitness parameters in subsequent seasons.

Selected Publications

  • Franks, S.E., Lank, D.B., Wilson, W.H. 2014. Western Sandpiper.  The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.) Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
  • Franks, S.E., Fernández, G., Hodkinson, D.J., Kyser, T.K. and Lank, D.B. 2013. The long and the short of it: no dietary specialisation between male and female Western Sandpipers despite strong bill size dimorhism. PLoS ONE 8(11): e79835. doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0079835.
  • Bugajski, A., Reudink, M., Doucette, J.L., Franks, S.E., Wissel, B. and Somers, C.M. 2013. The complexity of cormorants: stable isotopes reveal multiple prey sources and feeding site switching.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 70: 271-279.
  • Franks, S.E., Norris, D.R., Kyser, T.K., Fernández, G., Schwarz, B., Carmona, R., Colwell, M. A., Sandoval, J.C., Dondua, A., Gates, H.R., Haase, B., Hodkinson, D.J., Jimenez, A., Lanctot, R. B., Ortego, B., Sandercock, B.K., Sanders, F., Takekawa, J.Y., Warnock, N., Ydenberg, R.C. and Lank, D.B. 2012. Range-wide patterns of migratory connectivity in the Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri.  Journal of Avian Biology 43:155-167.
  • Franks, S.E., Lank, D.B., Norris, D.R., Sandercock, B.K., Taylor, C.M. and Kyser, T.K. 2009. Stable isotope analysis discriminates age classes of Western, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers when plumage methods are unreliable. Journal of Field Ornithology 80:51-63.

Contact details

Email: samantha [dot] franks [at] bto [dot] org
Telephone: 01842 750050
Fax: 01842 750030
Postal address: British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU, UK.