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Current Graduate Students - Sheryn Olson

Sheryn Olson, M.S. studentSheryn Olson
Advisor: Dan Harrison
Spring 2010 – Spring 2014
B.S. Zoology with minor in Experimental Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, 1977

Current Research: I’m investigating seasonal effects on snowshoe hare spatial ecology and the implications for Canada lynx in northern Maine. In March 2009, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared 2,460,488.6 hectares (9,500 square miles) in Maine critical habitat for the federally threatened lynx. A large proportion of the designated critical habitat is private industrial forest harvested for saw timber, biofuels, and pulp wood, and different management techniques affect forest stands’ vegetative composition and structure. My project is part of a long term monitoring study to determine which forest stand types best support adequate snowshoe hare densities for lynx persistence, as snowshoe hare are the primary prey for lynx. Both snowshoe hare and lynx change their core home ranges seasonally, and if female lynx cannot find adequate prey in summer, survival and recruitment is affected, so it is important to assess snowshoe hare summer density in forest stands with different management practices.

Previous research experience: For the Forest Service, Pacific SW Research Station, Redwood Sciences Lab, CA, I collected hair samples from the endangered Point Arena Mountain Beaver to assess genetic status and population demographics. I worked on 2 studies in northern CA National Forests and privately owned timber land monitoring American marten populations and recording vegetation data for Wildlife Habitat Relationship characterization, using non-invasive techniques like track plates with hair snares, cameras, and scat locator dogs. In Costa Rica, I assisted trapping small mammals as part of a sustainable agriculture project investigating faunal biodiversity differences in conventional versus organic coffee plantations and the surrounding forests. At the Smithsonian’s and National Zoological Park’s research station, Front Royal, VA, I assisted trapping, processing, radio collaring and telemetry monitoring for a population ecology study of skunks, opossum, raccoons and deer. I was a biomedical research technician for 7 years. My undergraduate honor’s thesis investigated planarian habituation as a model for learning and resulted in a publication.

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