During the last month, the Millersville Mammalogy Class has been conducting remote camera surveys and spotlighting surveys for white-tailed deer and reporting the results to the Cross Gates Golf Course. Results suggest that there are deer in the area (a herd of 7 deer were spotted), but deer are not occurring at any high densities. Below are pictures of the different types of animals photographed during the remote camera survey effort. Species include groundhog, red fox, Northern raccoon, Virginia opossum, American mink, wood duck and Northern flicker .
Remote Camera Trapping Efforts
Beginning to recapture individuals for the small mammal project. We are also finding that our new hair dye (blue dye mark below) for minimal invasive marking of small mammals is proving to be effective for field work.
On Saturday February 6th, Biology Students from Millersville University and William and Mary College met in Washington D.C. to discuss a joint research project on evaluating threats to endangered and threatened species. This meeting discussed the groundwork for reviewing listing documents of threatened and endangered species during the last 20 years to determine the major threats to wildlife throughout the United States. Students are currently putting together a database to answer these questions and to help improve recovery efforts for endangered species.
Millersville Students include Kelsi Nagy, Alex Sandercock, Delaney Costante, Hannah Brown, Amanda Dziedzic and Kayli Thomas.
On February 2nd, Tuesday morning, Millersville Undergraduate Researcher Brooke Frye and the Millersville Mammalogy Class went out to check small rodent traps on the Millersville Biological Preserve. They captured 3 white-footed mice. Brooke is conducting an independent study on pre-baiting and capture success of small rodents. The Mammalogy class is assisting with this research project. Hopefully, with the assistance of the Mammalogy class, Brooke will be able to expand her trapping efforts to other study sites off campus. As can be seen below, when captured, rodents are ear-tagged and marked with a dye for mark-recapture analysis.
College Students To Help Atlas
Written by Lindsey Heffernan. Posted in Announcements
12/21/15 – Future students in a class that will be taught by Professor Aaron Haines of Millersville University may well become a valuable asset to the Pennsylvania Mammal Atlas. Professor Haines plans to have his students create a field notebook and document mammal observations throughout the semester. The students will take a picture of the mammal and record biological data such as species, date, time, and location. The students will also have to prove they did indeed take the picture, and one way includes taking a ‘selfie’ on location. In addition to submitting their field notebook at the end of the semester, Professor Haines will encourage the students to submit their best pictures to the Atlas website as part of a friendly competition. Many thanks to Millersville University, and we hope that other schools will consider doing the same!
On December 12th, 2015, biology students from the Millersville Wildlife Forensics Seminar Course presented their videos on how to process evidence using a a simulated wildlife forensic technique. The link below is of one of these videos produced by Jason Iyobhebhe and Edwin Sanchez. This video outlines the process for DNA fingerprinting and the students looked like they had some fun putting it together.
DNA Fingerprinting & Wildlife Forensics
On November 2nd 2015, The Millersville Pheasant Project officially ended with the night-trapping of the last pheasants. Night-trapping was done to retrieve the pheasant radio-tracking collars. Once collars were removed from the birds, the birds were then released to enjoy the rest of their days at Lancaster Central Park.
The Millersville University Field Ecology Methods class conducted a Service Learning Project with Lancaster County Conservancy by setting up Wildlife Next Boxes at the Climber’s Run Preserve. Bluebird boxes, Wood Duck nest boxes, Woodpecker boxes and Owl nest boxes were all set-up by Millersville students throughout the preserve to help increase nesting success of local wildlife.
On Late October of 2015, Biology students from Millersville University went to visit the Saw-whet owl banding station in Schuykill County Pennsylvania. This banding station has been in operation for many years and has collected a large amount of data on Saw-whet owl movements and morphology. Students learned about the capturing, banding and data collection process at the banding station as well as get a first hand look at their unique morphology.
This weekend we finished tracking birds for the Millersville Ring-necked Pheasant Project. Tonight we will be trapping bird 0.65 to get the last of the VHF collars back. Students will then begin analysis of the spatial data by calculating home range size of birds, identifying spatial overlap between birds and looking at habitat selection. Below is a final map of pheasant locations, with each circle representing a bird location and each color representing a different bird. There are at least 3 wild birds still using the Lancaster Central Park Area.