Project Description: 

We are seeking one undergraduate research assistant to help with literature review over the summer. Literature review will be about beaver ecology and how beaver dams impact surface and groundwater storage capacity. This will support a study where we are using hydrological modeling and satellite imagery to investigate how restored beaver populations could improve water storage in areas where snowpack is declining due to climate change. We will be using information from this literature review to create a beaver habitat suitability model for the state of California. Then we will create a hydrological model to help us understand what would happen to water in California if beaver populations were fully restored under current climate conditions and future climate projections. This study is led by PhD student Jessie Moravek (ESPM), who is advised by Dr. Justin Brashares. 

This project will occur in the Brashares lab offices (Wellman 210) or virtually during summer 2022. In their application, the student should indicate if they are available/comfortable coming to the office in person or if they would prefer to work virtually. The student’s literature review tasks will include searching for relevant peer-reviewed publications on databases like Google Scholar or Web of Science, entering literature into a spreadsheet, and reading literature to find relevant information to include in our models. We will provide training and support to help the student achieve these tasks.

There may also be opportunities to help with fieldwork or wildlife camera-trap photo processing related to other ongoing research projects in the Brashares lab. As long as the student communicates with their supervisor about time management, they are invited to explore these other opportunities as appropriate. 

Undergraduate's Role: 

The primary responsibility of the undergraduate student will be to help conduct an extensive literature review about beaver ecology and the physical and biological requirements for supporting beaver dams. We will work with the student to develop skills for reading and interpreting scientific literature, and will develop a spreadsheet or worksheet for keeping track of information. Student applicants should be interested in freshwater ecology, wildlife ecology, and/or climate change ecology. 

It is also important for the student to have a good attitude. Reading scientific literature is interesting most of the time, but it can also be frustrating and tedious. It is important that students stay positive and recognize that they are doing valuable work, even if it feels boring. As supervisors, we will try to meet with the student at least once a week during the summer. However, due to travel and fieldwork obligations over the summer, we also ask that the student remain flexible about meeting times as much as possible. 

Undergraduate's Qualifications: 
  • Currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in CNR
  • Background or interest in freshwater, wildlife, and climate ecology
  • Availability ~3-6 hours/week over the summer
  • Friendly, flexible, responsible, and independent
  • Good team player with the ability to follow instructions
On Campus
3-6 hours
Project URL: