As both a wetland ecology major and a chemistry minor, I believe learning all I can about the systems I work on and everything that depends upon them will better equip me to manage them in the future. I would like to use this internship to research a method of utilizing muskrat and other potential faunal indicator species to detect and monitor hydrologic change related to climate change. I will then use my collected data to expand a graduate study entitled “Predicting Potential Effects of Climate Change on Existing WRP Wetland Restoration Projects” being conducted by a fellow student. I am the current research assistant on this project, and this internship will allow me to supply a separate faunal component to augment the ongoing hydrological study. The data will support better management practices to prepare and protect Wetland Restoration Program (WRP) sites in the face of climate change.
Detailed Project Plan:
Goal: To use muskrat and other potential indicator species, such as snails, as mechanisms to detect and manage hydrologic change related to climate change on USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) WRP wetland restoration sites.
Hypothesis: Muskrat presence, abundance, and den elevation indicate hydrologic conditions necessary to sustain wetland restoration projects.
Research Question: Can we provide a reliable observational method for the use of muskrat and other species as indicators for hydrologic conditions related to climate change?
Purpose: To research a method of utilizing muskrat and other potential indicator species to detect and monitor hydrologic change related to climate change in order to perfect the method and offer a separate faunal component to the hydrological study already in progress.