Alisa Abuzeineh, Ph.D.
Education: Bachelor of Science in wildlife biology (May 2002)
Master of Science in biology from Texas Tech University
Doctor of Philosophy in aquatic resources from Texas State University
McNair Project: The Response of Breeding Birds to Cutting of Woody Vegetation by Beaver (Castor canadensis) in North Central Kansas (2000)
Mentor: Philip Gipson, Ph.D.
The effect of beaver cutting of woody vegetation on breeding birds was examined at eight sites along streams at Fort Riley in north-central Kansas. Four sites were control sites that showed no present beaver activity. The other four sites were treatment sites where beaver activity was present. At these sites, tree and bird counts were conducted, as well as measurements of canopy coverage and vegetation coverage on the ground. At each site, tree counts were conducted on four separate survey plots (2 m by 50 m). I counted all woody vegetation (dead and alive) within each plot, recorded the species, and measured the diameter of the trunk. American elms were the predominant tree species at most sites, and used the most by beavers. Cutting was limited to trees that fell into size categories from less than 2.5 cm up to 30.5 cm. Therefore, beavers had no marked effect on canopy coverage. One bird count was taken at each site along the banks of the streams. During a 10-minute period, every bird heard or seen within 50 meters was recorded. Analysis of the bird counts found that beaver cutting of woody vegetation had no marked effect on the variability of bird species at treatment sites.