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Recently in Research: Cara Ratterman


Gobbles from turkeys are one of the best ways to count their population in the wild. Cara Ratterman, a senior majoring in Organismal Biology, is working with a method to automate the process of finding wild turkey population in Alabama. Cara conducted her Undergraduate Research Fellowship this summer under the mentorship of Dr. James Grand in the College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

Cara is working by establishing a machine code to listen and count whenever a turkey gobble is heard. This will allow field sites to be operated with fewer technicians, thus reducing costs.

“We placed recorders in sites and allowed them to run for a month to collect data,” Cara said. “We then analyzed the recorded files to verify the machine’s readings were accurate.”

Cara and her team discovered that the automated recorders could be as reliable as a field technician, but more work is needed for them to be operable in all environments. She is currently reviewing the results and hopes to publish them in a journal article.

Last modified: December 4, 2017