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Rachel Smiley

Advisor: Chad Rittenhouse


Rachel is a senior in the Natural Resources Department in the honors program and a University Scholar.  Her interests center around the ecology of game species, particularly ungulates, with the goal of using research to better informing management decisions.


Her research project focuses on evaluating mule deerbody condition and its effect on migration.  Rachel’s honors thesis will use known metrics of body condition from captured mule deer to validate a nutritional condition index based on camera trapping images. A Visual Body Condition Index for mule deer would allow managers to evaluate the health of large numbers of animals without the need for physically capturing. She is also hoping to investigate whether body condition affects migration timing, with the hypothesis that deer in poorer condition would migrate earlier than those in better condition.









Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Center
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4087