About Marissa Lilianna Martinez
Marissa developed a diagnostic scoring tool to measure the suitability of south Colorado habitats for an endangered bird, the southwestern willow flycatcher, by collecting and analyzing data from potential habitat sites. She believes this tool could be used to assess the suitability of new habitats for this species in the Upper Rio Grande watershed and to improve land management choices and strategies for its protection.
A Habitat Assessment Protocol to Determine Suitability for Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Occupancy in the Northern Rio Grande WatershedView Poster
Marissa Lilianna Martinez, 18, of Del Norte, developed a diagnostic scoring tool to assess habitat quality for an endangered bird, the southwestern willow flycatcher, for her Regeneron Science Talent Search project in animal sciences. First, she gathered original data in the Upper Rio Grande watershed about habitat, vegetation coverage and food availability in potential sites both occupied and unoccupied by the birds. Then, she statistically analyzed these factors, which revealed significant differences between the occupied and unoccupied areas. Using these differences, Marissa created a diagnostic tool that determines whether a habitat is suitable or poor. She believes this tool could be used to assess the suitability of other potential willow flycatcher habitats in this watershed while identifying problem areas and suggesting strategies for land management.
Marissa, the daughter of Lisa Martinez, attends Monte Vista High School. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and fishing and hopes to become a field biologist to deepen her understanding of how organisms interact with the natural environment.
Beyond the Project
Citing fascination with “the little things” in the environment, Marissa helped with a large-scale amphibian survey in the San Luis Valley as a volunteer with the Bureau of Land Management.
FUN FACTS: Marissa enjoys hiking and fly fishing in the mountains near home and wants to learn how to tie her own flies to “replace all the flies I have lost to the trees.” She is “also really into” the Marvel universe.