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Data Nugget- City Parks and Texas A&M University-Kingsville Camera Trap Assignment

Author(s): April Torres Conkey

Texas A&M University-Kingsville

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The Data Nugget- City Parks module was used in a sophomore-junior level undergraduate wildlife management techniques course (with lab) in Fall 2017. Modifications were made to the original Data Nugget and a local camera trapping survey was added.


This Data Nugget was modified for use in an undergraduate wildlife management techniques course (with lab) and an additional local camera survey assignment was added.  Learning objectives were:  1) identify and apply scientific method components, 2) observe, identify, and record species and behavior data from local camera survey photos, 3) calculate species richness and Shannon Wiener diversity index, 4) graph data, 5) interpret results, graphs, and apply island biogeography theory to the given scenario. Below are descriptions of my files.  

01_TAMUK-CityParks-RevisedLecture-Conkey&Wied2017 (PDF):  New PowerPoint lecture defining and showing example calculations for species richness, species evenness, and species diversity.  This was presented to the class in lab by the lab graduate teaching assistant, Justin Wied.  Then the students were given the following handout (02).

02_TAMUK-CityParks-RevisedStudentReading&Assignment-Conkey2017 (PDF):  The students completed this handout as an in-class assignment during a lab period (they were allowed to work in groups of two).  I revised one of the student versions of the original Data Nugget handouts.  Underlines (hints) were removed from the background reading material.  The question about the study hypothesis was modified and moved (from page 3) to question #7 in the assignment section. Text was clarified in the Exploring Measures of Biodiversity section. Errors in the teacher copy in the original Park B species proportion row of the data calculation table (pg. 5) were corrected or deleted. Question text was clarified and additional questions were added for scaffolding.  A copy of the raw data spreadsheet was included on the last page of the handout (option to delete the data in the table on pg. 7 and have the students fill in the blanks using the raw data), and I added a key to the common names of the species data code (which was not included in the original Data Nugget).  

03_TAMUK-CameraTrappingAssignment-SouthPasture (PDF):  I was disappointed that the original City Parks Data Nugget did not actually have the students use and record data from the camera photos, so I created this assignment from camera traps that we set up as part of our regular field sampling lab (this goes along with the photo and data entry files 04-07 listed below).  This is the assignment instruction and question handout.  This handout was given to the class during a 2-hour lab period held in a computer lab.  They were allowed to work in groups of two.  

04_TAMUK-CameraTrap1-SouthPasturePhotos (PDF):  TX: 27°28'04.1"N 97°53'19.0"W, TAMUK South Pasture, Klebeg County.  This camera faces south.  This is a selection of 47 camera trap photos taken at our university field station, South Pasture, during the month of October 2017.  The ecological vegetation type is Tamaulipan Mixed Deciduous Thornscrub (file 08).  Some human and blank (no animal visible) photos are kept in the photo selection.

05_TAMUK-CameraTrap2-SouthPasturePhotos (PDF):  TX: 27°28'04.1"N 97°53'19.0"W, TAMUK South Pasture, Klebeg County.  This is a selection of 103 camera trap photos taken at our university field station, South Pasture, during the month of October 2017.  This camera faces north and is directly across from CameraTrap1, but it shows how camera placement and observations (using more than one camera) can make a big difference in your data interpretation.

06_TAMUK-DataSheet-Blank-SouthPasturePhotos (PDF): This is a blank data sheet that the student could use if they wanted to record the camera photo species and behavior observations on paper rather than in the spreadsheet (file 07).  

07_TAMUK-SouthPastureCameraTrappingDataSpreadsheet (Excel):  This a a blank spreadsheet that I wanted the students to use to record the data from the camera trap photos.  There are 4 spreadsheet tabs.  Camera & site info - instruction sheet and key.  Camera 1 data - blank data sheet for them to enter data from CameraTrap1.  Camera 2 data - blank data sheet for them to enter data from CameraTrap2.  Data Analysis - blank sheet for them to calculate and summarize data.  

08_TamaulipanMixedDecisousThornscrub_TPWD (PDF): This is a summary from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department of the vegetation and soil types of the region where the camera traps were stationed.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like Word or PowerPoint copies: April Conkey,


Contact April Conkey,, for information on files.  

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