Personal Reflection Of A Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission

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Personal Statement: I strapped on my waders and began walking toward a manatee carcass. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) marine mammal biologist proceeded to instruct me on how to perform my first field necropsy. Through this research experience I got to understand the internal anatomy of a manatee, outside of textbooks. Therefore, research allows me the opportunity to tangibly investigate my curiosity. The manatee has always sparked my curiosity because humans are their only major predator, leading to human-wildlife conflict. My undergraduate research and volunteer experience focus solely on the conservation of manatees, demonstrating my desire to become an expert on this topic in my graduate research. Intellectual …show more content…
These results have great potential to assist FWC with their protection of the Florida manatee. The broader impacts of this study included the creation of an internship to continue collaboration with FWC, inspiring other undergraduate researchers to complete conservation projects, and the enhancement of infrastructure for research. The success of my research resulted in a meeting between FWC and my mentor to discuss the potential for GMU to contribute more studies, like mine, that target different species. This recognition prompted my advisor to implement an internship that pays undergraduates to conduct this research. I also assisted fellow undergraduates with applying to the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, if their proposals were on the topic of conservation biology. All applicants that I assisted were awarded funding, which included individuals of underrepresented groups in science. The methodology of my research included creating a categorical database of conservation actions for the manatee, which will be used in other undergraduate research projects that are similar to …show more content…
Although the De Mutsert Fish Ecology Lab was the first lab I officially joined, my previous lab experience that I received from courses that were not required under the biology core curriculum excelled my ability to contribute to the success of this lab. While volunteering in the lab, I assisted with a graduate research study that aimed to examine the life history traits of river herring, and determine if the Potomac River was a suitable spawning site. My role in this project was to assist with the sorting of ichthyoplankton, and the dissections of juvenile river herring to extract the otoliths for aging. Participation in this research project allowed me to work with graduate students in a laboratory setting, and learn the skills I will need in my forthcoming research projects. The broader impact of this study is that the results will later become widely accessible through various publications, which allows other researchers to expand on her

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