This spring, Biology major Bracken Brown gave a presentation entitled "Moonlight and suburban white-tailed deer movements" at the 2011 joint meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter Ecological Society of America and the New Jersey Academy of Science.
Brown set out to test the veracity of hunters' claim that deer avoid certain areas when the moon is out. Using advanced tracking and measurement devices, he was able to display a significant variance between the nighttime patterns of deer movement determined by the position and visibility of the moon.
Brown's research was done as a part of the Deer Study at Bryn Athyn College, which uses electronic collars to track deer in the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust. Bryn Athyn College students have been tracking and studying deer since 2007 and Brown, who is now a senior, has been involved with the program in all four of his years here.
The small class sizes at Bryn Athyn College have allowed Brown to get hands-on experience in his field. He and his fellow students are involved in all aspects of the study—from trapping and collaring, to tracking, to synthesizing and analyzing the data. And, with professors who are world-renowned in their field, students participating in the Deer Study are given a uniquely thorough understanding of their subject.
This recent opportunity to present his findings at a professional conference was the culmination of Brown's experience in the Biology program at Bryn Athyn College; but it's not the first time the scientific community has heard from our students, and it won't be the last. Since 2007, Bryn Athyn College students have participated in the presentation of seven posters and two talks on the Deer Study, and more are planned for the future.