One intern is selected per semester to work at the Deering Estate with mentor Vanessa Trujillo. Possible projects include:
Mapping Data collected at Deering Estate
Utilizing already published data sets and literature, this project would create a database of projects that have been conducted at and around the Estate. The data collected could be used for a literature review, meta-analysis and GIS map that would support future research projects.
Tropical Hammock Bird Transect
The Deering Estate is home to a large area of tropical hardwood hammocks. This project would look at the biodiversity within the area, specifically birds. One will see which birds are dominating the area and determine if any rare birds are utilizing the hardwood hammocks for any period of time.
Utilizing all 450 acres of the Deering Estate, this project would determine any symbiotic relationships birds at the Estate have with plants. The student would survey for avian uses of plants throughout the estate and determine if there is a symbiotic relationship with specific bird species and specific plants at the Estate.
Reef Gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus) Population Density
The native reef gecko can be found at the Deering Estate. One would survey the estate for reef geckos and determine any factors that impact their population density. What areas of the Estate do the reef geckos prefer to utilize as their habitat and why?
Invasive Anole survey
We find several different invasive anoles at the Estate. The project would entail surveying the estate to take an inventory of which invasive anoles we find, what the populations are like, and determine which habitat they are established in. The project will also determine why the invasive anoles are utilizing certain areas over others.
This project would study our seagrass and mangrove environment. The project will survey these different environments for biodiversity. Also water quality samples will be taken throughout to see if biodiversity is changed around the state pre and post-freshwater pumping from the C100 canal.
Atala butterfly survival rate
Students will utilize our pine rockland habitat to determine survival rates of atala butterflies. Atala butterflies only lay their eggs on the coontie plant, which is plentiful in our pine rocklands. Utilizing that fact students will determine which areas of the pine rocklands have the highest counts of coontie and also which areas have the highest number of atala butterflies.
Native versus nonnative plant competition experiment
Plants may compete directly or indirectly with one another for limiting resources. Students will choose a native and nonnative plant to conduct a competition experiment. Data will be collected from variables like growth rates of roots and shoots. Students will also compare differences in overall survival between native and nonnative plant species.
Native versus nonnative salinity experiment
Climate change, along with sea level rise will alter coastal habitats that may affect native and nonnative plants differentially. Students will to determine growth (i.e. roots and shoots) and survival rates of a native versus a nonnative plant across varying levels of salinity.
Aquatic species inventory
Students will conduct a survey of aquatic species in fresh and/or saltwater areas at Deering Estate. Baited video stations will be created across aquatic habitats and recorded. Students will then determine an aquatic inventory for species located in different areas around the Estate. Students would have to provide their own underwater camera or GoPro.
Citizen science: monitoring and outreach
Students will increase the interests of citizens by incorporating them in current programs and projects being conducted at the Deering Estate. This project will focus on flora and/or fauna surveys and the app, iNaturalist. In addition, students will help coordinate and run a bio-blitz event at the Deering Estate.