I have begun the process of trying to connect with a member of the faculty who will be the best fit as an advisor. I have an appointment next week to discuss this with a faculty member who does turtle research. Before I chose him, I checked the university website and carefully read his page. I then did a little bit of Googling and found that he had co-authored a book on the biology of snapping turtles and was also able to get copies of a few of his research papers to read over. Am I over-doing it? I don’t think so but then I am flying by the seat of my pants on this one. I also sought out students who have worked with this professor and/or had him as an instructor. All this preliminary work took up probably two hours of my time. I meet with him next Wednesday and the emails that we have exchanged sound promising.
I’m working out the things that will be needed to conduct an observational study on turtle basking near the river trail in North Little Rock. The idea came from reading the paper “Basking Behavior of Emydid Turtles (Chysemys picta, Graptemys geographica, and Trachemys scripta) in an Urban Landscape”
William E. Peterman1 and Travis J. Ryan2
The scientist’s goal as explained in the above paper was to determine, among other things, the affect of highly managed habitat on turtle basking along canals in central Indianapolis. I intend to study how turtle basking is affected by the specific distance of a basking location is from this multi-use river trail that runs along side the Arkansas River. As I have been jotting down notes on possible research questions, how to obtain specific data, what kind of data I should collect, what tools I need and attempting to formulate a hypothesis; I am both excited and overwhelmed. The only thing I can do is jump right in. Hopefully I’m still in the shallow end of the pool.