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Posted by pj on April 17, 2001 at 15:17:40:
In Reply to: thanks...actually i have been keeping oreganus for some posted by time and wanted to do something with wild populations. patrickv on April 16, 2001 at 23:09:26:
Why not do some physiological and behavioral ecology? There is some information available for other species of Crotalus, but I am sure you can get some interesting data for C.v.oreganus. If you think you can find individuals in the field, you can use dataloggers to measure environmental temperatures and temperature-sensitive radio telemetry transmitters to record body temperatures and relate them to behavior (e.g. female Crotalus are known to seek warmer microclimates to facilitate reproduction). You could also characterize the microenvironment where your snakes are found (e.g. vegetation, slope, substrate).
: : I teach a herpetology lab course and I wouldn't advise a student to work with venomous reptiles in the field unless they had extensive experience with them. You should pick a species that is common to your area and easy to collect. I spent all day Saturday looking for timber ratlesnakes and copperheads and didn't find any! Working with venomous species is not just dangerous and difficult, there may be permit issues too.
: : My students have to write an NSF grant proposal for a research project, but they don't have to do the field work. Your research ideas are interesting, but you are right about being too complex for what you can do given your level of experience, resources, and time frame (one summer).
: : I would suggest you hit the library and find some recent field studies on herps that are similar to what you have available. Keep it simple! Most research projects fail (including one I did as an undergrad) because they are too complicated. Talk to your teacher and get an idea of what projects have been done in the past.
: : : I have to do an extensive research paper or a field study paper for my herpetology class. I would probably rather do the field study than spend my weekends in the library for 4 weeks surfing scientific journals. I have pretty much decided I'd like to do my paper on C.v. oreganus but I am stumped on what aspect. I am fascinated by rattlesnakes and oreganus is the most accessible to me. I have a few ideas but they seem too dificult to implement such as comparing venom composition of different populations or seeing if populations in areas with resistant prey are adapting their venom differently. I could set this study up fairly well but have no idea how I'd analyze the venom components and it seems like a little big of an endeavor. anyone have suggestions? I'm in the brain storming period now because it's due in june.
: : : patrick