Sarah Fritts

Global Change Fellow Alumna | Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology | North Carolina State University

2011-2013 Global Change Fellow

Where are they now?

Sarah is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Management at Texas Tech University. She is also affiliated with the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech and the Southcentral Climate Science Center (DOI).

Statement of purpose:

I am a second year Ph.D. student at NCSU working with Professor Moorman. I am interested in the possibilities of using woody biomass as an energy feedstock, particularly because of its importance to North Carolina’s climate change mitigation measures. I hope to use my passion for wildlife conservation, leadership experience, and problem solving skills to contribute to policy development for woody biomass harvests and green energy production. After graduation, I plan to enter academia so that I can continue researching the impacts of alternative green energy production on wildlife, while also teaching others the importance of conservation.

Description of research:

Our regionally focused research project addresses the SECSC Mission and the SECSC Draft Science Plan Science Theme 2 Task 1 by helping understand the potential negative environmental consequences of harvesting woody biomass for use in green energy production. This project is unique in that it uses replicated experimental manipulations across a large geographic land base to investigate amphibian, reptile, and small mammal response to removal of woody biomass as an energy feedstock. Six treatments were randomly assigned to 8-ha areas in 8 replicate blocks. To better understand the physiological response of amphibians to CWD removal and the mechanistic reasons population abundance may differ among the large-scale treatments, we will monitor southern toads (Bufo terretris) in a mesocosm experiment. Individual toads will be placed in a 100-m2 enclosure divided into 4 treatment areas: 1) CWD piled, 2) CWD dispersed, 3) CWD piled and dispersed, 4) No CWD. Individuals will be marked with PIT tags and tracked for movements among treatment areas. Body condition indices will be measured to assess changes related to CWD use in cleared areas.

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