Lizzie HancockStudent Research Spotlight - Lizzie Hancock

Lizzie Hancock won the Undergraduate Student Research Award for the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences during the 2020 Auburn Research: Virtual Student Symposium.

Hometown:  Abbeville, Alabama
Major and degree: Wildlife Ecology and Management
College: School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Class year: Senior
Faculty mentors: Sara Bolds, Graeme Lockaby and Stephen Ditchkoff

The impacts of wild pig (Sus scrofa) rooting on the biodiversity of soil macroinvertebrates in southeast Alabama




What are you researching?
My research objective was to determine the impact of wild pig rooting on soil macroinvertebrate abundance, richness and diversity. I traveled to Bullock County, Alabama, every two weeks to collect soil that was rooted by wild pigs.

How could the results benefit individuals, agencies or companies?
Wild pigs are commonly found in the southeastern U.S. and can cause extensive damage through rooting and wallowing. My research could benefit landowners and the environment because the damage in these habitats used by macroinvertebrate populations has an impact on forest productivity and nutrient cycling in wetland ecosystems.

Tell us why you enjoy research.
When I decided to become a wildlife ecology and management major, I knew that research biology was what I wanted to focus on. Actually, going into the field and having that hands-on experience with every aspect of the research process just further showed me that this was the career for me.

What advice would you give to other students considering doing a research project?
The best piece of advice I can give any student trying to pursue research is to never be afraid to ask. There are so many professors and graduate students who need help and would love to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn more about their career field.

Tell us about any hobbies or activities you enjoy.
I enjoy being outdoors and hiking. I also love taking trips to the beach, reading and traveling.

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