Monday, April 11, 2011

SOURCE Presentation 2011

All right.  So I convinced myself to sign myself up to present my thesis research proposal at the The Symposium on University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE).  I am going to present a poster presentation this year.  Next year, I hope to give a talk about my research and the data I aim to collect this summer.  But, I am keeping it simple this year.  

The first time I did this was in 2008.  My poster and work earned me an outstanding poster award.  (You have to scroll down a bit under Outstanding Posters).  In creating that poster, I studied two aerial photographs from two different times (2000 and 2005 I believe) looking at the Kiger HMA.  I learned from the Range Specialist at the Burns district which areas were strictly horse-use only.  From this, I determined that horse impacts could be seen from aerial photographs and monitored.

My 2008 abstract
"In 1971, the Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro act was passed into law, requiring these
animals to be protected (from harassment, branding, capture, or death), managed, and
controlled on public lands. Further, as declared by Congress, the act viewed them as living
symbols of the historic and pioneering spirit of the West. It placed their care into the hands of
federal agencies, like the Bureau of Land Management. However, though there had been a
decline in wild horse numbers previous to the passage of the act, their protection saw a rapid
rise in their population on the rangelands of the United States. This has implications for the
health of the wild horse herds, as well as the health of the rangeland that they share with other
wild and domestic ungulates. This project is an examination of how aerial photography and its
interpretation might be used to identify horse grazing impacts on the landscape."

This year, the poster will exhibit some background on my research subjects and what my proposed research this summer will entail.
2011 Abstract
Grass height and certain shrubs, especially sage-brush, are important to maintaining viable populations of greater sage-grouse.  Grazing is hypothesized to impact sage-grouse by reducing the height of herbaceous cover. This would have an impact on important sage-grouse breeding sites and the success of concealing nests from predators.  This research will test this hypothesis.  Free-roaming horses, which are herbivores minimally managed on federal lands, may have significant impact to perennial grasses as the graze.  Using exclosures, vegetation canopy surveys and utilization measurements this study will determine the amount of perennial grass height removed by free-roaming horses on sage-grouse leks in southeastern Oregon on the Riddle Mountain Herd Management Area.  The impact of free-roaming horses on sage-grouse habitat will be determined.

I look forward to being a part of this university gathering and sharing of knowledge from across campus.  As always, I hope to inform people about my topic.  

After earning an award last time, I feel as though the pressure is on to do even better this year...

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