Teah Nauman’s research has been able to identify a test for detecting commercial baits for white-tailed deer in the field by looking at the reaction of acetic acid with sodium bicarbonate. However, analysis of data from deer feces has not proven to be as transparent. Even with the use of Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy and Mass Spectroscopy, Teah has not been able to see a difference in the chemical composition of feces produced by white-tailed deer that have been given commercial bait in comparison to deer that have not.
If you have students about to graduate this May, or if you know of students who graduated in the last year or two and are still looking for field biology positions, please forward this e-mail to them and encourage them to visit www.alaskanobservers.com. They can also e-mail me at email@example.com or call me at 1-888-317-9343 to get more information. Additionally, we’ll be recruiting again in the fall for both the North Pacific (Alaska) and Trawl Catch Shares (West Coast) Observer Programs.
The Millersville Ornithology class has been witnessing the explosion in bird diversity with the arrival of Spring. We have taken a number of trips to local filed sites to survey for birds. The diversity of warblers, vireos and many other birds has kept the class busy looking up at the trees. Our last 3 class surveys have totaled near 70 species of birds. Students have especially enjoyed the arrival of Indigo Buntings (picture below by Ed Schneider) and Baltimore Orioles.
On May 1st, 2013, The Millersville General Biology Lab went for a red-backed salamander (picture below) hunt at a local wooded lot just outside the Millersville Campus. The goal of the hunt was to follow a transect through the woods, look under forest debris to find salamanders, take a picture of the salamander and then GPS the location. In total the class found 14 salamanders. In addition, they found 2 eastern garter snakes and a nice fat female American toad. They did a great job working through the stinging nettle as well as the rasberry and rose bushes to complete the survey. Well done.
On Friday April 26th, The Millersville Ornithology Class took a birding trip to a local property just outside the town of Millersville. We had some good looks at some nice birds. Below are a few great pictures of a green heron, tree swallow and carolina wren taken by Ornithology student John Nguyen.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a dangerous transmissible disease. There are no known treatments for CWD and the spread of this disease can negatively impact wild populations of white-tailed deer. In the summer of 2012, a pen-raised white-tailed deer infected with CWD was found in Pennsylvania. In response the Pennsylvania Game Commission established a Disease Management Area (DMA) around the area where the infected deer was located and an executive order was given that established several restrictions within the DMA. One restriction was the prohibition of deer urine-based lures within the DMA. Deer urine-based lures are used by white-tailed deer hunters to attract deer for harvest. However, deer urine-based lures have been known to be collected from domestic white-tailed deer herds, with the potential of an animal infected with CWD residing within these domestic herds. Thus, urine-based lures can cause the spread of CWD into wild deer populations. The objective of this study is to determine if there are reliable field based tests to enforce the current prohibition of deer urine-based lures as part of a CWD prevention strategy. Millersville University student Ken Strauser (below) will use the following forensics test kits to test for the presence of deer urine-based lures: Nite-site luminol kit, Hemascein blood kit, Uritrace and Urine Stain Ultraviolet Light. Results of all 4 forensics test on the deer urine-based lures will be compared to a control lure (i.e., water) to determine if any of the forensic tests can detect the lure on either clothing, boots or on the forest floor.
On April 14th, Millersville Ornithology student, Rebecca McCabe organized a workshop discussing Barn Owl Conservation at Lancaster County Park’s Environmental Center. Included in the workshop was a presentation on barn owl conservation given by Dan Mummert from The Pennsylvania Game Commission. Laura and Tim from ZooAmerica then brought out a male barn owl and discussed their ecology and biology. Following the presentations was an outdoor activity where barn owl nest boxes were assembled. About 60 people attended the event including Millersville Ornithology students and community members. All 16 nest boxes were built during that time!
On Saturday March 23rd, Myself and student Matt Zak presented our research at the Pennsylvania Wildlife Society & Pennsylvania Biological Survey Joint Meeting. I presented research on mitigating poaching activity and Matt presented his research on Incorporating Uncertainty into Recovery Plans of Endangered Birds. Below is Matt with his student research poster.