College of Science

Field Notes from the Spring Wildlife Research Techniques course

April 2017 Students in the BIO 195: Special Topics: Wildlife Research Techniques course got first-hand experience in wildlife biology over spring break by participating in one of two field research projects. The first, led by Dr. Jenny Duggan, focused on the behavioral ecology of ground squirrels. Students were able to assist in trapping and radio collaring ground squirrels on the CSUMB campus and at the Santa Lucia Preserve. The students then tracked and observed the squirrels to compare behaviors between the urbanized areas around campus and the wild areas at the preserve. The second project, led by Dr. Gerick Bergsma, focused on the insect and spider communities living in and under oak trees at the UC Fort Ord Natural Reserve. Students collected insects and surveyed vegetation to look at how the abundance and diversity of insects relates to the amount of lace lichen growing in the trees. The course was designed to give undergraduates a glimpse of the research process through an intensive, week-long research experience. In addition to field research, students participated in training sessions and workshops that included laboratory analysis, data analysis, and workshops on finding undergraduate research opportunities and applying to graduate school programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Funding for the course was provided through a US Department of Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions-STEM and Articulation grant (P031C160221) to CSUMB. Development of the course was supported by the CSUMB School of Natural Sciences and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center.