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Grandhi and Szczys Present at October Faculty Scholar Forums

Published on October 25, 2016

Grandhi and Szczys Present at October Faculty Scholar Forums

Two Eastern faculty members presented research at Faculty Scholar Forums this October. Business Administration Professor Sukeshini Grandhi presented “To Reply or To Reply All: Understanding Replying Behavior in Group Email Communication” on Oct. 5. Biology Professor Patty Szczys presented “100 Years of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act” on Oct. 19.

“The ‘Reply’ and ‘Reply All’ buttons in email can be troublesome to both the individual and the group if receivers intentionally or unintentionally use one button instead of the other,” said Grandhi. “It is not clear what contributes to such mistakes.”

In her research, conducted alongside Psychology Professor Lyndsey Lanagan-Leitzel, Grandhi poses the questions: is it because of the email interface where “Reply” and “Reply All” buttons are too close to each other, enabling a slip; is it because people are unaware of the number of recipients; or are there differing social norms or opinions regarding appropriate communication?

Through experimental and study surveys, Grandhi found the former two possibilities to be unlikely, and that “the use of ‘Reply’ or ‘Reply All’ was most influenced by the sender’s message, such as explicit instructions to either ‘Reply’ or ‘Reply All.’”

Szczys’ presentation focused on the role of genetics in the conservation of migratory water birds, particularly the common tern.

“Common terns are present across the world; it is truly a globally distributed species,” said Szczys, who has studied the species in far-away lands such as Bermuda and Ukraine.

Because of wintering locations and migratory patterns, tern populations in close proximity tend to be genetically distinct. “I’m trying to assess linkage between gene pool and wintering sites,” she said, with the goal of gathering enough data to direct appropriate conservation measures.

Bermudan common terns are becoming extinct. Unlike their migratory peers, terns on Bermuda are isolated, so they demonstrate different behavior. “Bermuda common terns don’t cheat,” said Szczys, remarking on how they are monogamous, which limits their ability to reproduce. Furthermore, “there’s little chance of repopulation because there’s not that mixing or sharing of migratory routes.”

Conversely, the Eurasian Whiskered Tern, with a presence in Ukraine, has seen an increase in population. This phenomenon intrigues Szczys: “How and why during a period of climate change is this happening?”

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Academics