Major: Environmental Science
Graduation: May, 2020
Research: Endangered Animals on the Barba Azul Reserve
Duration: May-August 2017
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This past summer I completed a research project in Bolivia involving endangered animals and conservation of their habitat. On the Barba Azul Reserve, my project was measuring how cattle ranching altered the forest structure, and in turn how the altered forest structure effected populations of wildlife in the area. The reserve was separated by a river with two very different sides. On the south side of the reserve, there was cattle grazing. On the north side, there was no cattle grazing. I collected measurements in forest plots to access both the composition and structure of the forest. I also completed wildlife surveys at dusk and night to measure the differences in wildlife populations inhabiting these forests. My favorite part of my research was seeing endangered animals in the wild every single day. The Blue-Throated macaw is one of the most critically endangered animals in the world. There are about 200 left in the wild, and approximately half of them make their home on the reserve! The reserve represented a safe haven for many of endangered animals like the Giant Anteater, Maned Wolf, and the Marsh Deer. Seeing them every day renewed my passion for work in conservation. I was on the reserve for 5-weeks straight without any contact with the outside world. I learned countless research techniques with vegetation and wildlife. I also learned the work ethic that is required of a researcher in harsh environments. I found out about this opportunity by reaching out to a professor from SENR. Dr. Davies informed me that he had a PhD student doing research with savanna birds in Bolivia and I contacted her for further information. I recommend finding SENR professors that align with your passions and asking if they have research they need assistance with to complete. Many professors in SENR are looking for students to help with field and lab work! I was selected to attend an international research conference in Brazil to present my research results from Bolivia. The conference took place in Sao Paulo and I got to spend an entire week presenting, networking, and exploring Brazilian culture!