Summer 2018

Newsletter Archive


Summer Student Profile: Mitchell Cornell

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It all started when my conservation biology course was asked to pilot the 'Call of the Wetland' app for the Miistakis Institute. We were given the opportunity to learn about amphibians and their habitats. We were introduced to what citizen science was and how we could all help. I was really interested in the project and have always been interested in conservation so after that semester I participated in the 'Call of the Wetland' project using the app and began following other local conservation projects.

This summer I was given the opportunity to work with Dr. Melanie Rathburn at Mount Royal University, collecting data on the environmental variables in Calgary's wetlands, which is a continuation of the research started in the summer of 2017. While I'm out at all the wetlands, I participate in as many surveys as I can for 'Call of the Wetland.' It's a great opportunity to photograph birds and amphibians and just enjoy the summer, outdoors collecting data that can be used to better understand the health of our wetlands and the species living in them.

In addition to the health of the wetlands, we are collecting water samples to process for environmental DNA (eDNA) of tiger salamanders. The water is collected once the eggs are expected to have hatched so that there will be feces and skin cells present in the water. With the eDNA we are hoping to determine the presence or absence of salamanders in Calgary's wetlands, because they are much harder to spot and don't make calls like other amphibians.

I'm very excited to be working with Dr. Rathburn and Miistakis for the summer, and can't wait to see what the results will tell us.