Samantha in Taos

Samantha is a senior majoring in biology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. A member of the University Honors Program, she received a Richter Fellowship for summer 2012 to conduct research at SMU-in-Taos. She is investigating the frequency of ectoparasites in specific habitats by collecting them off deer mice. She expects to find ticks, mites, fleas, botflies and more, and will document which parasites are near rivers, woodlands and deserts. With this information she plans to inform residents and visitors of Taos how to stay parasite free and avoid possible transmission of diseases.

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My research begins

On Day 2 my class took a hike up Pedernal Mountain, which is a famous geological spot in New Mexico. It was challenging but well worth it when we made it to the top to admire the view!

On the way down we collected very interesting-looking rocks, which added a few pounds to our backpacks. At the end of the night we gathered around a fire and I enjoyed delicious s’mores with my classmates.

On Day 3 I took a trip to Santa Fe and shopped around the flea market. I purchased a beautiful handmade ring made by a local Native American.

When I arrived back to campus I began putting my research together. The first step was to label the traps, 1 to 30. I then went to a sagebrush area and disbursed the traps 20 feet apart across the field in consecutive order. I will update you tomorrow with my findings!

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