Undergraduate Research: Carnivore Diversity
Carnivore Biodiversity in response to habitat fragmentation. In spring of 2013, my Environmental Science class at North Hennepin Community College participated in a project with the Three Rivers Park District. We determined carnivore biodiversity in unfragmented habitat (Elm Creek Park Reserve) compared with fragmented habitat (on campus). We recorded carnivore biodiversity by capturing data on camera traps at each site. Three Rivers park staff connected us with access to fresh road kill deer as bait. Each group of students was responsible for setting up, checking and removing their camera trap, as well as analyzing the photograph data for number of visits by each species and time of day for each visit. Students also collected data on tree size to indicate the maturity of the habitat. Five students from the course created a research poster displaying the class findings. Students were enthusiastic about this study and some reported it as the most engaging activity in any college class. Results were presented at the CCURI (Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative) conference in Philadelphia. Because this project provided information to Three Rivers Park District, it is also listed on the Service Learning portion of this site.