Thursday, March 10, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Emma Howes

Senior year of high school is when I knew that I wanted to major in Biology. The reason I wanted to major in Biology is because I think that learning about the science behind life is fascinating. Along with my major in Biology, I plan on doing a concentration in Environmental and Conservation Biology. My dream is to research and study animals and the environment. As a research assistant for Dr. Luther, I help with his research on the evolution of communication in birds and the total funding given to endangered animals in the United Sates.

I’m only a freshman so I’m not yet’ sure what I plan to do after college, but so far I’m settled on getting my master’s in graduate school. Then I plan on finding a job researching and studying some area related to animals – probably mammals of dome sort -- and their environment. This job gives me a taste of what it’s like and how much goes into studying animals.

On a weekly basis, I usually research information related to the task given to me and then I type it up either as a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet. Throughout the week I report back to Dr. Luther on the progress I’ve made. Once I’m done, I inform Dr. Luther and then he gives me another task to research.

One thing I discovered this week is there’s a lot of different aspects that go into the communication among birds and that can distinguish the difference in communication, such as how the song is structured, who the bird is communicating to, the environment the bird is in, the species of the bird, gender of the bird, etc.  The careful, systematic collection of that kind of information becomes the basis of observations for the trained biologist.