Teen Science Cafe: How Many Raccoons Are There?

One of the most important pieces of information that a wildlife biologist seeks is how many animals there are in a given population. This information can tell us if a population is increasing or decreasing over time and the effect of human activities such as conservation efforts, global warming or habitat destruction. Mark-recapture is arguably the most accurate method for estimating population size in mammals. Join Arielle Parsons as she explains the method and shares findings from her own work with raccoons on the Outer Banks. Then, she will lead us through our own mark-recapture study to see how accurately we can estimate the population of teens at the Open Minds: Teen Science Café.

About the Speaker

Arielle Parsons is a researcher in the Museum’s Biodiversity and Earth Observation Research Lab where she coordinates eMammal, a citizen-science camera trapping project to survey mammal species. Arielle is interested in mammalian and avian ecology and human-wildlife interactions but her particular expertise is raccoons. Most of her work has involved measuring population dynamics such as abundance and survival through different methods. Her work has taken her to the wilds of Canada, the mangrove swamps of West Africa, the Australian outback and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. When she’s not working, Arielle relaxes by practicing martial arts and running around with her dogs.

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