Nichole Dunham, Elizabeth Rhodes, Adelaide Starks, Alyssa Hack


Presentation: 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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As the climate continues to change at catastrophic rates, research to mitigate environmentally-devastating effects have been globally conducted. Solar energy has become a widely understood renewable energy source, yet its implications on wildlife remain relatively unstudied. With concern from local communities and solar companies regarding implications of solar panel implementation on surrounding biodiversity, our research project aimed to investigate vertebrate activity in both undeveloped lawns (Sherwin Williams and Water Treatment) and an established lot (Daniel Curran Place Solar Prairie). We predicted a greater level of vertebrate activity and greater diversity at the solar prairie compared to the open lot facilities. To compare vertebrate activity across different habitats and understand solar panel effects on wildlife, we utilized the two empty grass lots and the solar prairie. Four transects were constructed at each of the three study sites (two additional added to the outside regions of the solar prairie) to collect scat data and document burrow observations. Both the scat and burrow type and location per transect were recorded. Camera traps were positioned throughout each site to capture supplemental photographic data of local vertebrates.We found more diversified scat at the solar prairie as well as burrows belonging to various burrowing vertebrates which implies that infrastructure can provide suitable habitat for vertebrate species. Based on this data, implementing solar prairies would provide a renewable energy source while simultaneously promoting vertebrate diversity in a human-dominated area.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project 202280 BIO 479L M1

Primary Advisor

Chelse Prather, Samantha Urquidez

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Silly Goose! We Can Have Clean Energy, Too