So you want to study animal behavior?


Much of my research has focused on bats, but I'm interested in animal behavior in general, and I'm open to examining a wide variety of questions. If you are interested in studying behavior and you don't have a specific question in mind, come and see me and we'll see if we can find a project that works for both of us. If you are interested in working with me, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Because the majority of my projects have been field-based as opposed to being completed in a laboratory, researchers must have schedules that will allow them fairly large open blocks of time. This is generally not going to be the type of research that can be completed by working in a lab in between your classes. The work may require early mornings or late nights in some cases.  Depending on the project, you may need to complete some parts of the work without direct supervision.
  • You should expect to spend six hours per week working on the research project (which can include finding references, analyzing data, writing up results, etc.). You may also need to budget in additional time for travel depending on where you live, when we are conducting the research, and where the field site(s) are is located.  You need to be able to provide your own transportation to/from study sites in most cases.
  • Researchers should have good communication skills, and be able to express themselves well in both written and oral formats.
  • Researchers should have good computer skills including: experience with their computer's operating system, the ability to use email including the sending and receiving of attachments, the ability to analyze data in Microsoft Excel, the ability to use a word processing program to produce reports, and experience finding online articles using GALILEO and other databases. Other computer experience will be helpful but is not required.
  • Researchers should be motivated to study animal behavior and interested in the topic we choose to address. If you're not interested in the topic, it's not going to produce useful results. It's generally best if you come to me with at least some ideas you'd like to examine as they are more likely to interest you than having me just give you a topic to study.
  • Students should have a GPA in their science courses of 2.5 or higher although consideration will be given to motivated students with lower GPA's.
  • Because these projects are generally done as part of an experiential learning course (BIOL3223, 3224, or 4222) students will have to meet the requirements of the appropriate course. These include
    • Meeting the pre-requisites of the appropriate course
    • Producing a research proposal before starting the research project. This will require evidence of background research and a proposed methodology for the project you are going to conduct. This must be completed BEFORE you start research. I generally recommend students write this the semester before the actual project so that the semester of the project can be spent collecting actual data.
    • Recording all observations in an appropriate log book that will be turned in to me at the end of the semester as a permanent record of your research data. This guidebook must meet certain guidelines and is evaluated as part of your grade.
    • Writing a research paper at the end of the semester based on your project. This should have all the required parts of a scientific paper and will be evaluated as part of your grade.
    • Students in 3223 may be required to produce a different written product depending on the nature of the project.
    • Students in 3224 and 4222 are required to give a presentation to the CSU Natural Science faculty. 3224 students give a presentation in the form of a poster while 4222 students give an oral presentation. In either case, the presentation is evaluated by all faculty who are present and those evaluations will be used as part of your grade for the course.

If you are interested in talking to me about a potential project, stop by my office or email me and we'll see what we can do!

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