Are school yards viable habitat for mammals? Can children collect data for science?
Humans are clearly correlated with the decline of biodiversity across the world. However, many mammals are able to able to adapt to developed landscapes, and some even thrive. I work with K-12 teachers to incorporate eMammal and Candid Critters citizen science camera trap research into classrooms for students to conduct authentic investigations. Students run cameras in North Carolina, Mexico, India, and Kenya for studies on the distribution, behavior, and conservation of mammals. I am interested in assessing mammal biodiversity found in school yards, comparing results to protected areas, and characterizing this unstudied urban habitat.
Is urbanization selecting for mammal personalities?
The challenges to the survival of wildlife in urban ecosystems (e.g. proximity to humans, busy roads, pollution) often leads to the decline of many species. However, animals can adapt, as some species have colonized urban environments where they now thrive. Animals possessing certain personalities, such as boldness or aggression, may even be more successful in urban environments. In this project, K-12 students run camera traps at their schools. I use students’ camera trap images to record mammals’ responses to a novel object (a pink lawn flamingo) as a measure of personality across different development zones.