Marcela Castellino is an exchange student from Argentina who is studying the local movements of Wilson's Phalaropes at Great Salt Lake, Utah and in her home country at Mar Chaquita Lake. Under the direction of Dr. John Cavitt at Weber State University, Castellino began her research at Great Salt Lake in the summer of 2013 by tracking where phalaropes move during the day and identifying important feeding and roosting sites on the lake.
Wilson's Phalaropes are small shorebirds that flock to Great Salt Lake in numbers around 500,000 while feasting on abundant invertebrates, particularly brine flies, found around the lake. The phalaropes double their weight while at Great Salt Lake and fly non-stop to the northern reaches of South America. Many of the phalaropes will travel farther south and winter at Mar Chaquita Lake where Castellino is continuing her research this winter. Check out her video showing scenes from Great Salt Lake and Mar Chaquita Lake and explaining her work.