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Donald Brightsmith

Associate Professor


Phone: (979) 458-0563

Mailstop: 4467

Department: VTPB

Photo of Brightsmith, Donald


Tambopata Macaw Project - The Tambopata Macaw Project is a long term research project on the ecology and conservation of macaws and parrots in the lowlands of southeastern Peru. The goal of the project is to generate information on wild macaws and parrots macaws and use this information to improve the health and welfare of captive birds and aid the conservation of wild birds throughout the tropics. Research, independent study, rotation and internship opportunities are available through this program.


Costa Rica Biomedical Sciences program This program provides required "core" courses and key electives for students working towards a degree in Biomedical Sciences along with Pre-Meds, Pre-Vets, and others from any major who want to take a semester abroad while still advancing their degree plan. Students will receive an in depth introduction to Costa Rican and Latin American health, conservation, culture, and nature, then learn and use Spanish through a combination of classes and home stays. Immunology and Physiological Chemistry will be taught with a "Latin flavor" to show how these sciences are applicable to Costa Rica and the world outside the classroom. Students will engage in many field trips to national parks, schools, beaches, clinics, markets, zoo, etc to learn about the health and conservation issues facing Latin America today.

Amazon Field School ABS Field School in the Peruvian Amazon introduces students to the social and biological realities of conservation and research in Latin America. Students have firsthand investigation into key resource management systems, and apply conservation research techniques. Students complete case studies of important resources found in lowland tropical forests of southeastern Peru. Students interact with a mix of native peoples, colonists, conservation organizations, loggers, gold miners, and eco-tourism experts.

Scholarly Interests

Avian health; avian ecology; geophagy (consumption of soil); avian conservation; disease threats from the live bird trade; diets of wild and captive exotic birds; role of infectious diseases in wild and endangered bird populations; captive avian enrichment. Specialization in psittacines (parrots, macaws, parakeets and allies).

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