Squirrel behavior and distribution on the UCSC campus and campus reserve

Mentor name – Lab group: Gizelle Hurtado –Ken Norris Center for Natural History at UCSC

Positions: 2 interns

Tentative dates: approx. June 26th – approx. Sept 20th

Project Location: Norris Center, Main Campus

Project Background: The UC Santa Cruz campus and campus reserve are involved in the research, conservation and management of many species and landscapes. This project seeks to inform researchers, conservation biologists and managers about the impacts of urban development on squirrel species that call UCSC home. Broadly, the goal is to understand the diversity of influences that urbanization can have on mammalian behavior in a changing landscape and how various mammalian species use habitats under different pressures. This is a continuing study started by previous CAMINO interns and continued by CAMINO interns. We will aim to understand how squirrel species are impacted by urbanization. Interns will collect behavioral data and habitat data. CAMINO students in this summer’s research group will continue to lay the foundation for this planned ongoing project, and will contribute to our knowledge of the impacts of urbanization on mammalian wildlife.

Intern duties: Interns will work with a mentor to define a research question and carry out their investigation through work in the field and in the lab. Interns are expected to conduct field work; conducting surveys in the early morning, midday and afternoon/evening, (potentially setting out camera traps, processing photos and video data captured), hiking across campus and potentially the campus reserve (on and off the paved walk ways, hiking in wooded areas and grasslands is expected). Interns are expected to conduct a thorough literature review, collect data, enter data into spread sheets, analyze date, write a research paper, create a presentation, create a poster, present their findings and other related tasks. This research will take place on the UC Santa Cruz campus and the Campus Reserve.

Intern qualifications: Field experience is a plus (or a high comfort level with being in the field outside). Formal field experience is not required (a high-level of enthusiasm to learn is essential). Experience with research protocols, data management, and data analysis (using excel, and R) are a plus but not required. A high level of self-motivation is essential and required for this position. A high interest in working with mammals, and/or behavior, and/or urban ecology is required.

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?
not at this time

UC Santa Cruz Land Acknowledgement

The land from which we base our work is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.