Discovering Ancient Viruses

In 2000, scientists drilled a hole into the Siberian permafrost to collect old soil and look for ancient predators. In fact, these soil samples were estimated to be around 30,000 years old. These viral predators may be even older. Ten years later, the researchers added portions of these samples to amoebae colonies to see if... Continue Reading →

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Campus Ant Diversity 2018

Post by research students (Fall 2018) During the fall 2017 semester, we conducted ant surveys on both our Statesville and Mooresville campuses. Once again we surveyed ants across six grass plots and six pavement plots. However, this time we only sampled from the Statesville campus. The figures below show these comparisons. Temperature: High- 89ºF, Low-68ºF,... Continue Reading →

Gray Fox

Gray foxes, Urocyon cinereoargenteus, are omnivorous members of the canine family. Their diet ranges from mammals and birds to invertebrates, fruits, and nuts depending on the season and what is available. As you can see from the figure above, we didn't catch any on camera from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. There could be many... Continue Reading →

Deer

The most numerous animal we "caught" on our cameras was the white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus. This species is sometimes referred to as a keystone herbivore, which means that they fulfill such an important role in an ecosystem that if they were to disappear, other populations would be altered tremendously. White-tailed deer alter the abundance of... Continue Reading →

Raccoons

One of the most common critters caught on our camera traps were raccoons. The graph above shows when they were most active in Statesville. The northern, or common raccoon, Procyon lotor, is an opportunistic omnivore. This simply means that they will eat just about anything. This is one of the adaptations that allows them to... Continue Reading →

Eastern Cottontails

From December 2016 to December 2017, we set out to understand how animals move in Statesville, NC. Motion-activated trail cameras were deployed throughout a section of the city's greenway section. The camera traps were randomly placed in a grid location and then rotated every two weeks. Thousands of pictures later, we discovered some interesting things... Continue Reading →

Campus Ant Diversity

Post by research students (Fall 2017) During the Fall 2017 semester, we conducted ant surveys from six grass plots and six pavement plots, both at the Statesville and Mooresville campuses of Mitchell Community College. Besides wanting to know what types of ants were living in each location, we were also interested in looking for differences... Continue Reading →

Coyote Data, Thus Far

We have learned a great deal about animal movement and activity patterns from collecting and analyzing pictures in Statesville’s green patches and neighborhoods. If you look at Figure 1, time (24-hour) is displayed on the x-axis while activity level is displayed on the y-axis. Activity level is simply the number of detections (pictures) within a... Continue Reading →

Coyote Misconceptions

The recent coyote attack in Iredell county is unfortunate and sad. Someone lost a pet in a matter of seconds. Human fear and emotions are real and for good reason. The dog was likely attacked with no warning at all. In situations like this, comments like, “What do we expect? We have built houses in... Continue Reading →

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