Hometown: Quincy, Washington
Major: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences
Minor: Geographic Information Systems
Year Graduated: Spring 2017
McNair Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lisa Shipley
Research Interests: Wildlife Genetics, Immunogenetics, Wildlife Behavior, Habitat Conservation and Restoration
Research Title: Assessing the Accuracy of Measuring Deer Behavior using Accelerometers
Research Abstract: Understanding how wild animals interact with each other and their environment is critical to understanding their ecology and to better conserve wildlife populations and habitat. To acquire this type of data, biologists must be able to measure what animals are doing, when and where they are doing it, and for how long. This study will determine the balance between acquisition rate and the accuracy of accelerometer data for predicting deer behavior, and the effect of collar attachment on accuracy. By determining the best acquisition rate and collar fit for accelerometers, we can improve the ability of biologists to measure animal behavior remotely. For this study we attached four accelerometers to two collars (one attached snugly and one loosely) worn by each deer. Each collar carried two accelerometers, one programmed to collect data at 30-second intervals and one at 60-second intervals. Individual deer behavior was observed and recorded for a total of eight hours. Behavior categories included walking, feeding, running, standing, and bedding. Mean and standard deviation were calculated for the accelerometer readings for each behavior observed. Then, by calibrating the accelerometers using mean, standard deviation, and histograms we assigned each behavior a range of accelerometer readings. Finally, we determined the proportion of time intervals that were correctly assigned a behavior using the accelerometer readings. Preliminary analysis on two of the four deer suggest that 60-second intervals were more accurate than 30-second intervals, and that accelerometers are best able to distinguish bedding (least active) and running (most active) behaviors.
Experience and development in McNair: Being in the McNair program has allowed me to set my life on the path that I had always known I wanted. Not only is it preparing me for the rough road ahead, it is also pushing me to surpass the restrictions I have set on myself and become a stronger individual.
Plans for the Future: Work towards obtaining my Masters and PhD in either Conservation Sciences or Wildlife Behavior Science. My dream species to work with are Killer Whales (Orcinus orca).
Summer Research Opportunity:
Location: University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana
Program: Center for Integrative Study of Animal Behavior
Mentor: Dr. Kimberly Rosvall and Elizabeth George
Project Title: Does Short Term HPG Axis Activation have Longer Term Consequences in Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor)?
Awards: SURCA Crimson Award 2017
CONFERENCES AND PRESENTATIONS:
- Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) 2017, Washington State University, Pullman WA; Poster presentation titled: Determining Deer Behavior Patterns from Different Accelerometer Settings
- Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) National Conference 2017, New Orleans, La; Poster presentation titled: Does Short Term HPG Axis Activation have Longer Term Consequences in Tree Swallows?
- Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference 2016, Long Beach, CA; Poster presentation titled: Assessing the Accuracy of Deer Behavior Patterns from Different Accelerometer Settings
- 17th Annual National Research Conference at the University of Maryland 2016; Poster presentation titled: Assessing the Accuracy of Measuring Deer Behaviors using Accelerometers
- Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) 2016, Washington State University, Pullman WA; Poster presentation titled: Determining the Accuracy of Deer Behavior Patterns from Different Accelerometer Settings
- Idaho Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Washington Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology, and NW Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Joint meeting, Coeur d’Alene Id. 2016
- International Society of Northwestern Vertebrate Biology, Portland Or. Feb. 2015
Current Graduate Program:
Location: Texas A&M-Kingsvile, Kingsville, Texas
Program: Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute: Masters of Range and Wildlife Management
Mentor: Dr. Randy DeYoung
Project: My research is focused on the effects of selective harvest on adaptive genetic variation in white tailed deer. Specifically, I’m looking at the relationship between the Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and antler development as well as the use of Immunogenetics to determine the heritability of alleles associated with the MHC.
LinkedIn URL: David Navarro