Researchers at the HSU Vertebrate Museum combine fieldwork, DNA analyses, and comparative morphological examination of museum specimens to explore the ecology, evolution, and conservation of vertebrates. Examples of current faculty and graduate student research projects include:
Systematics and Biogeography of Whales and their Ectoparasites
Christopher Callahan, Lecturer, Christopher is using analysis of DNA and museum specimens to examine how whale lice (crustacean ectoparasites) made the evolutionary jump to colonize gray whales. See more on this research at Christopher’s webpage
Population Ecology and Movement Patterns in Harbor Seals
Dawn Goley, Professor of Zoology, Dawn is using telemetry to study differences in habitat use between male and female harbor seals in and around Humboldt Bay.
Systematics and Bigoegraphy of Chipmunks of Northwestern California
Karen Reiss, Professor, College of the Redwoods
Karen is using analysis of DNA and comparative morphology of museum specimens to examine species limits and the biogeographic history of the Townsend’s chipmunk complex of northern California.
Monitoring and Identifying Bats from Their Echolocation Calls
Joe Szewczak, Professor, Joe is the developer of Sonobat, a software package that can be used to analyze and compare high-resolution, full-spectrum sonograms of bat echolocation calls recorded from time-expansion bat detectors.
Examining the Effects of Wind-Turbines on Bat Mortality
Joe Szewczak, Professor, Joe has been collaborating with several colleagues to investigate bat mortality associated with wind turbines, and to utilize our knowledge of bat ecology, auditory biology, habitat bioacoustics, and animal behavior to develop mechanisms to alert bats to turbine presence and/or deter them away from turbines.