Michelle Kirlin

Herpetology Outreach!

I am the Outreach Coordinator for the Herp lab. The Davidson College Herpetology Lab coordinates and participates in a variety of outreach programs and events to raise awareness about reptile and amphibian conservation and to engage the local community in citizen-science projects focusing on the conservation of amphibians and reptiles. (Link to Outreach Website)

Independent Research Project - Winter/Spring 2005

Predictors of Winter Anuran Calling Activity in the North Carolina Piedmont

Michelle S. Kirlin, Michelle M. Gooch, Steven J. Price, and Michael E. Dorcas

Abstract: Global amphibian declines have created an urgent need to monitor populations. Anuran calling surveys are a widely used and accepted monitoring technique, however habitat and weather variables influence anurans breeding distribution and timing and need to be considered when establishing monitoring programs. In this study, we investigated the effects of both habitat and weather variables on detection probabilities and site occupancy estimates of winter-breeding anurans in the western Piedmont of North Carolina. We conducted calling surveys at 27 ponds in Mecklenburg County, NC and used the program PRESENCE to evaluate how anuran detectability and site occupancy estimates were influenced by habitat type surrounding the pond and weather variables. We determined the best-fit model for each of the three species we observed. Upland chorus frog calling activity (Pseudacris feriarum) was best predicted by distance to nearest road and air temperature, spring peeper calling activity (Pseudacris crucifer) was best predicted by precipitation, and southern leopard frog calling activity (Rana sphenocephala) was best predicted by day of the year. Our results indicate that species’ calling activities vary according to different habitat and weather variables. Models that incorporate these variables to describe anuran calling behavior can be used by monitoring programs to design species-specific survey protocols. (Link to pdf of article published in the Journal of the North Carolina Academy of Sciences)

Studying Abroad - School for Field Studies, Center for Rainforest Studies, Yungaburra, Australia

Fall 2005

I studied abroad at the School for Field Studies in Far North Queensland, Australia in Fall 2005. It was an amazing time in my life. I spent 14 1/2 weeks living and working with 12 other college students from across the United States. I got to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, hold koalas, rescue orange-footed scrub fowl in the middle of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area Rainforest, hike to beautiful vistas, enjoy the pleasures of smokos, throw boomerangs, and learn so much more about myself, the global environment, and how to appreciate the beauty of different cultures and different people.

About Me!

I am a current senior biology major at Davidson College, in Davidson, North Carolina. I am from McLean, Virginia and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in 2003. I have been working the the Davidson College herpetology Lab for 3 years (since my freshman year). I am currently the Herpetology Lab's Outreach Coordinator in charge of all of the lab's outreach activities including our Annual Reptile Day in the Spring and scheduling talks at local schools. I have participated in various different monitoring and research activities, including Joy Hester's Box turtle radio-tracking study and the DCEP drift fence. Outside of class I am involved in the Davidson College Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, Methodist Campus Fellowship, and the Davidson College Dance Ensemble. Also I am also an Assistant leader for a Cadette Girl Scout troop in the Davidson Area. If you have any questions about this page please contact me at mikirlin@davidson.edu


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