Nick Minor
Aspiring explorer-naturalist with a passion for birds, big questions about biodiversity, science storytelling, & outdoor adventure
I'm a birder, naturalist, science storyteller, & above all else, an early career ornithologist currently based at University of Minnesota--Twin Cities, where I'm pursuing a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Right now, in addition to my responsibilities as a student, I am working as an undergraduate researcher under the direction of F. Keith Barker, and also helping to manage the Bell Museum of Natural History's bird research collection as a curatorial assistant.

In the long-term, my research aim is to explain the remarkable avian diversity we observe all around us, utilizing knowledge spanning from natural history to genetics to citizen science to mathematical modeling. I am particularly excited by where ecology and evolutionary biology intersect. Birds provide an ideal system to explore this intersection in that they exhibit remarkable traits, a wide range of evolutionary processes, and potential for extensive interactions between species. Putting these three pieces puts us down an sparsely travelled road toward broad insights about the what produces and maintains biodiversity.

In addition to my research interests, I'm also deeply passionate about science storytelling, about the intersection of art and science, and about connecting people to biodiversity and the landscapes it requires through outdoor adventure.
My Interests
(coming soon)
Work experience
Camp Counselor at Makajawan Scout Reservation, Pearson, Wisconsin
My primary duty was teaching natural history in the Ecology and Conservation area of camp, in addition to my duties of camp maintenance. My main objective was to instill a value of discovery and to motivate the campers' curiosity about the natural world. To do this, I created engaging and comprehensive curricula around merit badges and extra program. Have taught and created curricula for the following merit badges: Bird Study, Fish and Wildlife Management, Nature, Oceanography, Astronomy, Environmental Science, Weather, Forestry, and Geology. I also taught Orienteering, Cooking, Geocaching, and some First Aid in the Scoutcraft program area. Helped design and enact program outside of merit badges including a natural history scavenger hunt, a science trivia night, nature hikes around the camp property, and fishing excursions.
Intern at the Field Museum of Natural History
Summer internship in the Bird Division, within the Integrative Research Center.

As an intern in the Bird Division, I could have been considered an assistant to the community in place there. I have work on such diverse tasks as rewriting factsheets for dioramas in the museum's Harris Loan collection, preparing specimens to be added to the collection, managing the flow of information into museum databases, cataloging specimens into online databases, and using the collection to educate the public. Thanks to the Field Museum, I have experience working in an academic setting in a self-managed manner. I have worked with such individuals as John Bates, Shannon Hackett, David Willard, Jason Weckstein, Joshua Engel, and Benjamin Winger.
Undergraduate Curatorial Assistant at the Bell Museum of Natural History (Current)
As a curatorial assistant, I work on cataloguing and databasing new specimens in the Bell Museum's Bird Collection. Additionally, my largest project is to database the many specimens in the museum's collection that have remained undatabased since their arrival there. This includes skeletons, study skins, and tissue samples. I also process loan requests from institutions around the world, and use the collection for education purposes.
Undergraduate Researcher in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior at University of MN (Current)
Right now, I'm working on a University of Minnesota-funded project that explores the species limits of Cantorchilus wrens, whose evolutionary history has remained ambiguous since they were recognized as a distinct taxon in 2006. In particular, the South American species Buff-breasted Wren appears to be more than one species, each of which are not even each other's closest relatives. Current taxonomy, in only recognizing one species, is fundamentally misrepresenting the evolutionary history--and the ecological uniqueness--of these populations. Without taxonomy that recognizes the true diversity within this genus, we can't be sure that any conservation measures will be conserving the species as they actually evolved. My project focuses on 4 Cantorchilus wrens: the Buff-breasted, Fawn-breast, Long-billed, and Superciliated Wrens, where much of the taxonomic ambiguity is concentrated.
In progress: Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
At University of Minnesota--Twin Cities in the College of Biological Sciences. I am also pursuing a minor in the History of Science.
(coming soon)
(Coming soon)
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