Conservation Biology & Population Ecology Lab

Root Lab



Dr. Karen V. Root, Dept. of Biological Sciences




Root Lab

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Current Research Projects

Are you an undergraduate currently interested in getting some research experience?

We are looking for research assistants for a variety of ecological research projects in the Oak Openings Region. We are also interested in advising independent research projects (e.g., honors thesis) that are related. Not only will you gain valuable experience that will make you more competitive for jobs and/or graduate school. You can receive credit for the experience as BIOL 4010 (1-3 credits depending on number of hours worked per week) under Dr. Karen V. Root.


Contact any of the following graduate students or postdocs directly if you are interested or would like more information. Please let us know what project(s) interest you, if you have any previous research experience, and when you would be available.

  1. Project:Habitat Use Analysis in Local Anuran Species (Frog calling surveys)
    Contact: Brian Kron
    Timing:mid-February until mid-May
    Duties: Field assistants will have the opportunity to help out with the following tasks:
    • Learn frog call identification and survey methods
    • Survey across multiple protected areas for anurans (variety of environmental conditions)
    • Track movement patterns at night using a UV light
    • Collect environmental data
    • Can learn about data entry and analysis (Excel, GIS, modeling, etc.)

  2. Project:The Effects of Urbanization on Bats
    Contact: Kelly Russo
    Timing: May until September
    Project Description:My project will examine the impact of landscape features related to urbanization, especially light pollution and fragmentation, on bat activity and diversity. I will survey bats using both stationary bat monitors and roadside moving acoustic surveys.
    Duties: Field assistants will have the opportunity to help out with the following tasks:
    • Placing stationary bat monitors in the field and collecting them the next morning
    • Conducting roadside acoustic surveys driving along transects
    • Collect habitat and other environmental data in the field
    • Record light pollution using light meters
    • Data entry and analysis (Excel, ArcGIS, etc.)

  3. Project:Habitat use by primary and secondary consumers in modified aquatic landscapes
    Contact: Sean Britton
    Timing: May through August
    Project Description:My project will investigate use of ponds, ditches and streams by select vertebrates and invertebrates of varying mobility and dispersal ability. These features will be evaluated using measures of aquatic habitat quality and searched for sign/spoor of the focal organisms.
    Duties: Field assistants will have the opportunity to help out with the following tasks:
    • Visually search for tracks, burrows and other sign of mink, muskrats, and crayfish. Deploy, monitor and retrieve mink rafts.
    • Collect habitat and environmental data (e.g., canopy cover, macrophyte cover in quadrats, wetland morphological measurements, etc.). Collect mink scat samples.
    • Nighttime spotlight surveys for aquatic fauna.
    • Record data in data sheets and photographs. Enter data in MS Excel or Access and Windows Explorer.