FAYETTE, Iowa (February 3, 2010)—Two Upper Iowa University (UIU) conservation management students and their professor presented their research results at the annual meeting of the Iowa Chapter of the Wildlife Society in Ames on January 22.
Marc McKinney, Sioux City, presented his results on comparing capture success of remote cameras and scent stations in forest and prairie habitat. McKinney conducted his research on four sites in Fayette County to evaluate noninvasive (no stress to the animal) techniques to capture mammals. Results from his research can be used by biologists and land managers who are trying to decide the best technique to use when investigating wild mammal presence and population density within an area. McKinney found that remote digital cameras with minimal delay time, large memory, and no glow flash were the most effective at recording mammal presence. McKinney is also a six-year veteran of the National Guard.
Lucas Wilsing, Sheboygan, WI, who is double majoring in conservation management and criminology, presented his results on analyzing spatial and temporal patterns of poaching activity in Fayette County, Iowa. He conducted a spatial analysis of known poaching locations in Fayette County to identify patterns in poaching activity. Lucas found that poaching activity usually occurs along roads next to forests in areas of relatively steep topography. Based on his results, Wilsing developed a map for Fayette County that identifies areas that could be hotspots for poaching activity. This map can then be used by conservation officers to determine areas that should be surveyed for poaching. Wilsing is also a student/athlete, playing baseball for Upper Iowa, and was recently selected as an All-American.
The two were accompanied by Dr. Aaron Haines, UIU assistant professor-vertebrate biology, who presented his research results on conservation reliant species and the future of conservation. Dr. Haines discussed how the recovery process of the Endangered Species Act needs to be changed because of species dependence on human conservation management efforts. Haines recommends that future conservation management agreements for endangered species be developed so that management of these species can continue even after they are no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act.
“Both Marc and Luke are exceptional students,” said Haines. “Not only have both of these students put in extra effort in developing robust research projects for presentation at professional societies, they are also preparing their research papers to be submitted for publication.” He added, “Marc’s research paper is currently in review with The Prairie Naturalist Journal.”
Wilsing received guidance for his research project from retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officer David Elledge, who also attended the conference with the three. Elledge, who lives in Arlington, has offered to help Upper Iowa students with future research projects to further analyze poaching activity in the state of Iowa.
Other presentations at the meeting included fish and wildlife research efforts conducted by professors and graduate students at Iowa State University, as well as wildlife and fisheries biologists and conservation managers from the Iowa DNR.
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