Summer projects

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Sometimes a story evolves between assignment and deadline. That was the case with this piece, written for UNH Manchester’s Campus News. I originally highlighted the long-running small mammal research project headed by Professor Steve Pugh and the unique experience it provided students over the summer, but after first review the story became something bigger.

Beyond the Books and into the Field for Summer Animal Tracking

Each day, Joshua Linnane walks a portion of an 800-acre plot of undeveloped land on the outskirts of Manchester. The senior biology major at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester eyes the ground and trees for hair, scat and rub marks on trees. He’s looking for signs of wild mammals in this urban forest.

Linnane has three motion detection cameras set up in the woods, located in the area known as Hackett Hill. He leaves each camera for up to two weeks to eliminate his human scent from the area and later retrieves the card to see what animals crossed its path.

Linanne is one of UNH Manchester’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship grant recipients. Linnane is conducting a 10-week study and after will compare his findings to data collected 12 years ago by then-student Christine Andrews, UNH professional tutor and lab instructor.

“I’ve found coyotes, raccoon, something that looked like a bobcat, porcupines, opossums, chipmunks and a couple of non-mammal species, like turkeys, blue herons and turkey vultures,” said Linnane. On one of his morning walks, Linnane said he wandered upon a moose and her calf. “It’s really only five minutes out of the city and the diversity in this area is huge.”

To read more, go to UNH Manchester Campus News.

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