|A Study of the Deer Herd on the RIT Campus and the Relationship of Herd Activity and Habitat to the Incidence of Deer-Vehicle Collisions
Mentors: Karl Korfmacher and Douglas Merrill
Abstract: The purpose of this research project is to provide RIT with preliminary information on the possible affects of campus landscape management and development on the resident deer herd by estimating the density of the herd, characterizing habitat variables, and correlating that information with the incidence of deer-vehicle collisions on the roadways of campus and the surrounding area. I will use geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques coupled with traditional ground-based observations to estimate the density and distribution of the deer herd that utilize the RIT property and to establish a database and map of deer trails and high-use “hot spot” habitats. I will also obtain records from RIT campus safety and the local police departments concerning the incidences of deer-vehicle collisions and then geocode the database in order to compare the distribution of the herd with the locations of the accidents involving deer. The proposed College Town development will provide an interesting pre- and post- construction comparison to deer patterns by analyzing deer responses from the College Town area to deer responses throughout the Super Block and surrounding area. If correlations can be established, it may be possible to ultimately derive a comprehensive management strategy for enticing deer away from hotspots and development sites and into areas where collisions with vehicles can be minimized. I'm encompassing the entire campus in my study now and the end result will be a management plan and information regarding the deer herd.
Biography: Philip Nau came to RIT in the fall of 2003 as an Undeclared Science major. After a year of taking core courses and discussing options with various contacts within scientific fields he transferred into the Environmental Science program. Phil is currently in his fourth year at RIT and has been accepted into the BS/MS Environmental Science program with concentrations in Public Policy and Remote Sensing. He is presently working with Professor Karl Korfmacher on his thesis project, involving the study of the RIT deer herd and the relationship of herd activity and habitat to the incidence of deer-vehicle collisions. Phil is a member of the RIT Varsity Swim Team, the Student Environmental Activist League (SEAL), RIT Law Club, and former member of the RIT Water Polo Club. Phil is also a lifeguard at the Student Life Center, a former student worker in the College of Science Dean’s Office and tutors math and science at Pittsford Sutherland High School. Upon graduation from RIT, Phil plans to either pursue a career involving the environmental application of GIS and remote sensing technologies or to attend law school and focus on environmental law.
|Deer Study Survey|