Thursday, March 17, 2022

UTSA students research human-wildlife interactions in South Texas and Mexico

UTSA students research human-wildlife interactions in South Texas and Mexico

UTSA undergraduates conduct survey and observation research at the San Antonio Zoo.

(June 27, 2017) -- Undergraduate students at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) are spending the summer conducting research and doing service-based learning projects about human-wildlife interactions, environmental change and perceived risks of infectious diseases in three regions: San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley and Guadalajara, Mexico.

This top-tier summer course, which is being taught by Michael Muehlenbein, professor of anthropology, and Jill Fleuriet, associate professor of anthropology and associate dean of the UTSA Honors College, will take place at different research and service sites, including zoos and wildlife rehabilitation and rescue organizations.

Students will conduct survey and observation research at the San Antonio Zoo and the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, and meet with health researchers and curators from the Zoológico Guadalajara in Mexico.

They will also volunteer time with Primarily Primates in San Antonio and Sea Turtle Rescue in South Padre Island to understand the impact of environmental change and human-wildlife interactions on animal welfare. They will meet and talk with researchers and conservationists in Mexico, as well.

“Our eight-week program will serve as a capstone research and internship experience for anthropology students as well as those in related majors, such as, public health, medical humanities and biology,” said Fleuriet.

“After returning in August, these students will have learned international research ethics, methods in bicultural anthropology and will have sharpened their cross-cultural communication skills,” said Muehlenbein.

In addition, students will have made connections with graduate and undergraduate students here in South Texas and in Mexico.

Students plan to share the research they conducted over the summer during the COLFA Research Conference and Undergraduate Research Showcase during Spring 2018.

“This program is a clear example of how UTSA excels in study abroad: It’s academically driven, professionally enriching and cross-culturally engaging," said Brandon Lanners, director of UTSA Education Abroad. “The return on investment for study abroad at UTSA is clear: On a graduate school application or at a job interview, this type of experience makes our students stand out.”

UTSA offers several academic programs and services, through UTSA colleges and the UTSA Office of International Programs, to prepare students to become global citizens through outreach, research and international educational programs.

UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and among the top 100 in the nation, according to Times Higher Education.

Kara Mireles

Learn more about the UTSA Office of International Programs.

Learn more about the UTSA Department of Anthropology.

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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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