Small Mammal Biology & Urban Ecology:
A Research Study with Undergraduate Students.
Principle Investegator: Dennis Wilson, Dept. of Biology
The purpose of this project is to: (i) update and expand my content knowledge in small mammal biology and urban ecology, (ii) conduct original research involving undergraduate students in small mammal biology and urban ecology, and (iii) apply the research findings to propose a conservation and wildlife biology management strategy for the rapidly urbanizing Red Mountain campus (originally a 100 acre parcel of Sonoran desert). I am conducting the research study with a team ofundergraduate students to census the small mammal population on the Red Mountain campus, and investigate finer scale ecological questions on small mammal biology in this urban setting.
An essential component of my project is to develop an undergraduate research experience in biology, and provide students the opportunity to participate in poignant biological studies and urban ecology. Specifically, I want to develop a long-term small mammals monitoring program at the Red Mountain campus involving student research assistants as active participants in the research. I selected small mammals as a focus group to study because they are easy to trap and monitor, are an ideal group of organisms for students to work with, and the methodology requires a relatively short training period so inexperienced students can begin quickly. Over the past two years I have made an undergraduate research experience available to individual or small groups of students who want a deeper understanding of biology and gain experience in research.