Research and Conservation Projects

The James H. Barrow Field Station is home to scientific and wildlife conservation/research projects during every season.

Through these research and conservation projects, Hiram faculty conduct groundbreaking research, and Hiram students play the important role of research partners through internships and hands-on classwork. Explore the exciting projects that students and faculty collaborated on during summer 2015:

Exploring Social and Exploratory Behavior of European Starlings

Sarah Mabey, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental studies

This study looks at how European starlings, a very successful invasive species, adapt and survive so well in North America. Twenty-five nestlings are being reared in the Field Station Wildlife Research Room in order to investigate their social and exploratory behaviors.

Artificial Stream Construction

Jennifer Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology

This study involves the construction of an artificial stream that will house a variety of freshwater animals in order to study different aspects of ecology and behavior. Use of an artificial stream allows for understanding how anthropogenic impacts stream organisms without disruption of natural ecosystems.

Eagle Creek Restoration Project

Jennifer Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology

A portion of Eagle Creek was diverted from an entrenched channel to a restored section that mimics natural meandering in 2013. Baseline data (physical parameters, water chemistry, invertebrates and fish) were collected prior to the restoration and the year following. Presently the invertebrates are being sorted and identified for measuring changes in stream health through time.

Competition Experiments

Jennifer Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology

This research involves testing competition for shelter between juvenile fish and crayfish. Animals are housed in buckets with small pieces of PVC pipe for shelter, and shelter occupancy is observed and recorded with game cameras.

Butterfly Surveys

Jennifer Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology

Transect surveys are done weekly in order to identify butterfly names and species along with plant abundance and weather data. This citizen science long-term monitoring effort has been set up in accordance with the standards of the Ohio Lepidopterists Society.

Nesting Success in Acadian Flycatchers

Sarah Mabey, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental studies

This study involves the comparison of rates of successful hatching and fledging of Acadian Flycatchers in areas of different types and levels of disturbance. Nests are located and monitored along with the amount of human traffic, ecological disturbance, forest cover, amount of edge area and other variables.

Testing for Possible Bottle-Neck Genetic Variation Within Endangered White Winged Wood Duck Population

Brad Goodner, Ph.D., professor of biology

This ongoing study involves searching for genes that could be used to compare genetic differences found in white wing wood ducks, a critically endangered species. Genetic material has been isolated from blood samples of numerous ducks from the James H. Barrow Field Station and the Sylvan Heights Bird Park in order to obtain genetic information.

2015 Summer Intern Projects

Jim Metzinger, associate director of James H. Barrow Field Station

  • Biologic Filter: This project involves developing an effective biological filtration system for rehabilitation ponds utilizing aquatic plants for water polishing.
  • A Proposal for Aging Birds in Rehabilitation Centers: This project entails compiling a guide to aging the twenty most common birds found at the James H. Barrow Field Station and Penitentiary Glen Reservation.
  • White Winged Wood Duck Egg Analysis: The purpose of the study is to examine current and past egg data in order to determine if there is a correlation between decline of egg rates and cause of death.
  • White Winged Wood Duck: How Weight Affects Fertility: This study involves recording the amount of fertile and infertile eggs and the weights of the ducks producing them. This study could indicate the need to alter the ducks' diet in order to maintain the desired weight for maximum fertility.

Stewardship Projects

Emliss Ricks, Jim Tolan

  • Installation of a 130-foot boardwalk across wet spot on the northern part of outer loop trail.
  • Replacement or upgrading of all boardwalks and bridges on the north side of the yellow loop trail.
  • Control of invasive species such as purple loosestrife, goutweed, and Japanese knotweed with special attention to the Stavenger property bordering Route 82.
  • Checking cameras that monitor water levels and creating a basic foot path to allow for easier property line monitoring at the Eagle Creek Restoration Project.
  • Daily property maintenance and repairs and assisting others with tools and construction on their projects.
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