Undergraduate: Biology / EPSCoR
Supervisor: Jessica Kern
Migration paths of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) along the Wind River Indian reservation are of major importance to the tribal members. Teaching tribal members about how these deer move around the reservation is a great lesson tool to learn about preserving their natural resources. I collaborated on two internships this past year with Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (West, Inc.) and the Ecology and Biogeochemistry Core laboratory (EcologyBGC) at the University of Wyoming. During this time GPS collared female deer were chosen from the data provided by the UW migration initiative project. Looking at these deer, two deer were chosen that had sufficient stops within their unique migration paths. For each mule deer spatial polygons were created with the help of West Inc.to map out the stopover sites and migration corridors. Along the migration path for each deer, soil samples were collected on and off the deer stopover sites, which were still inside the migration corridors. In the EcologyBGC lab the soil was processed to look for biodiversity using the following analytical tests: pH, elemental Carbon, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Sulfur, and thirteen anions and cations using ion chromatography. Understanding some of these chemical and microbial processes could have the potential to assist tribal members in understanding why mule deer have high fidelity to follow the same migration path each year.
For this award my goal is to describe what results were identified in soil biodiversity between my sampling sites on and off the migration path. I want to present the data results, as well share my experiences in transitioning from high school, junior college and the experiences at the University of Wyoming with my former high school, Lander Valley and Central Wyoming College. Additionally, I was able to obtain laboratory internships this past year which have given me valuable career tools working in the Ecology and Biogeochemistry Core Laboratory, www.uwyo.edu/ecologybgc and West, Inc. https://west-inc.com/. I will be graduating this fall with my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.
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