Applied Conservation Lab
Soil Testing To Identify Illegal Bait Sites for Wildlife (Undergraduate Researchers Meta Griffin and Tristan Conrad)
When taken in the context of the public trust and fair chase, the use of bait can be seen as an unfair advantage that can potentially narrow the distinction between game animal and domestic animal, which jeopardizes public trust protection given to game animals. While the use of bait to hunt wildlife can be illegal in many states such as Pennsylvania, commercial baits to attract white-tailed deer (e.g., Evolved Habitats® Deer Cane) are readily available to consumers at common retail sporting goods stores. In response to this, Pennsylvania conservation officers require the ability to identify if an area is being baited or had been baited. Meta Griffin and Tristan Conrad are currently conducting a research project to help Pennsylvania conservation officers ID bait sites in the field. Many commercial baits contain distinct ingredients including sugars, proteins, chloride, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, etc. The objective of Meta and Tristan's research is to conduct soil tests on areas where commercial baits had been placed in comparison to non-baited sites to determine if chemical signatures are left by commercial baits.
Surveying for Winter Birds Using Remote Devices and Automated Software (Undergraduate Researcher Andrew Wolfgang)
Avian researchers have been experimenting with technology which allows surveying to occur without wasting long hours in the field. Automated recording devices can survey long time periods at predetermined time intervals. This means that personnel are not deployed for a costly length of time. In addition, claims have been made that new survey software can automatically detect bird species based on their call or song. In this project Andrew Wolfgang chose to analyze computerized identification technology available from Wildlife Acoustics including their Song Scope Program and their SM-2 automated recording device. Andrew will attempt to test Song Scope's ability to identify four target bird species wintering within a deciduous forest in a suburban setting near Millersville, Pennsylvania. The four winter bird vocalizations chosen to test will be the "jay" call of the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), the basic song of the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), the "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call of the Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis), and the high clear whistled song of the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis). The goal of this project will be to produce recognizer models for each surveyed winter bird species based on their vocal cues using the Song Scope Program, and then evaluate the effectiveness of the Song Scope Software in detecting these bird species.