Esson Completes Undergraduate Research on Red Wolves

Thomas Esson in the field

Thomas Esson, a junior wildlife sciences major from Wells, Maine, completed a 10-week Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) on the home range of red wolves in North Carolina. Esson was among 13 students selected for the competitive fellowship, offered by the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech to undergraduates who wish to pursue life sciences research full-time during the summer. Esson monitored the home range and movement patterns of red wolves along U.S. Route 64 in North Carolina with Marcella Kelly, associate professor in fisheries and wildlife sciences, and doctoral student Christine Proctor. “The experience was highly beneficial for me as a student,” Esson remarked. “I was introduced to a variety of field techniques, including radio telemetry and GIS, all while helping with a fascinating project.” Esson explained that the widening of U.S. Route 64 could have considerable impact on the survival of an endangered, reintroduced species like the red wolf. Over the past several months, more wolves have been collared and additional GPS data has been collected. Esson plans to continue analyzing the data to determine the locations of road crossings and the degree to which the highway allows for wolf movement.

 

 

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