Thesis Opportunities

Senior Thesis Opportunities with Dr. Donald McFarlane
Fall 2017 - Spring 2018

In addition to the projects outlined below, I am willing to consider well thought-out proposals in the area of general mammalogy, field-based ecology, ecological modeling, and paleontology. I will also co-supervise Geology/Earth Sciences projects developed in collaboration with colleagues in the Depts. of Geology (Pomona), or Environmental Analysis.

Bioaccumulation of uranium in Brazil nuts (claimed!)

               Brazil nuts, which are the fruits of a large Amazonian rainforest tree, famously contain significant levels of bioaccumulated uranium and one of its radioactive daughters, radon. This project will test Brazil nuts (and possibly raw tea and coffee beans) to determine the range of variability in these foods.


Bioaccummulation of heavy metals in snails.

        This project will assess the degree to which lead and cadmium are concentrated in the shells of land snails, as it moves from soil to plants-to-snail. This will complement a study of snails as indicators or environmental pollution.(2 semesters)


Assessment of a California Bat Population Size by Quantitative Video Analysis.

Very large bat populations in caves are notoriously difficult to quantify. This project will examine video footage of the exodus of bats from a roost in Riverside County, determine flight speed and "flux rate", to derive a statistically supportable estimate of total population size.

(1 semester; Fall only). Requires transport to make ~ 3 visits to the roost in September.


Uranium uptake in Teeth (claimed!)

Uranium uptake in fossil teeth is an important parameter in radiometric dating of vertebrate fossils.  This project involves laboratory experiments into the rate of uptake into (modern) teeth under different conditions of temperature and pressure, followed my micro-scale analysis by laser ablation ICP-OES.

A large number of project ideas, based on work at the Bernard Field Station, are also available.