Movement Ecology Workshop

Movement Ecology HTMost animals move. In an immediate time frame, animals may move to find food because they are hungry or thirsty or are being chased by a predator. On an ultimate time scale, decisions governing how to search for food lead to improved body condition resulting in improved survival and reproductive output. Movement patterns are determined by the distribution of resources, and the costs and risks of exploiting those resources.

How and why animals move through space is fundamental to all areas of their life history, ecology and conservation. A variety of methods have been used to better understand animal movements including traditional observational studies, surveys of presence and absence over specific areas, mark recapture methods, tracking via radio telemetry, and most recently GPS telemetry. Animals can now be tracked for years on end with very high precision.

This workshop explores movement ecology within the context of the St. Louis Box Turtle Project (see video below) and the Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme. It includes time in the field tracking tagged box turtles with the research team, learning about the tracking and health research for both local box turtles and giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands, and exploration of educational activities that can be used in the classroom. While some of the workshop content may be most appropriate for middle and high school science teachers, all teachers are welcome.

The St. Louis Box Turtle Project team is very interested in connecting their research to students at all levels. Teachers who implement educational activities from the workshop with their students may be eligible for a free field trip for their students to track turtles with the team in Forest Park.

Workshop highlights:

  • Spend a day with National Geographic Explorer Dr. Stephen Blake and Dr. Sharon Deem, director of the Institute for Conservation Medicine at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Explore Tyson Research Center, Washington University’s field station located at Exit 269 on Interstate 44.
  • Learn how to apply basics of movement ecology in your classroom, with connections to the Missouri GLEs and CLEs for biology and also the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • Find out how to get your students directly involved with the St. Louis Box Turtle Project.
  • Network with other St. Louis area teachers who dream of taking their students into the field.

The upcoming workshop will be on Friday, June 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Tyson Research Center. Lunch is included.
Registration is now closed as all available spaces have been filled.