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Murry Burgess

I've always loved animals, which led me to a career in Urban Ecology and Ornithology. I obtained my B.S. in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture from Mississippi State University. I am currently a PhD Candidate in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at NC State University. I study the effects of sensory pollutants on songbirds. I am also an advocate for field safety in the natural sciences as an aspect of accessibility and inclusion. In 2022, I co-founded a nonprofit, Field Inclusive (, which amplifies and supports marginalized and historically excluded field biologists. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, birding, herping, photography, video games, and snuggling with my dog, Loki.

I conduct field experiments with Barn Swallow chicks to determine how artificial light at night affects their growth, physical development, and metabolic health. 

Artificial Light at Night (aka, light pollution) is a global issue that affects all wildlife. Research shows that artificial light impacts birds' ability to navigate, mate and reproduce, and sleep at the appropriate time.


In chicks, artificial light activates cortisol (fight or flight) and glucose (blood sugar), while suppressing melatonin (sleep hormone), which could lead to issues stemming from lack of sleep and altered nutrient allocation. These issues especially effect the metabolic system, which could lead to various metabolic diseases, such as avian diabetes. 



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