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2012 Soar Student
Hometown: Nazareth, Pa.
Project: Quantitative Analysis of Snout and Upper Jaw Movements in Erycine Snakes
Project advisor: Dr. Frances Irish
Project details: Victoria Womer and I worked with Erycine snakes and specifically Sand Boas. We worked with many species of Sand Boas such as Eryx colubrinus and Eryx conicus. All of these snakes are also burrowing snakes. We were trying to determine how these snakes balance the constraint of snout movement in feeding and burrowing. We looked at snout and upper jaw movements via films. A high-speed camcorder and a high definition camcorder were used to record high-speed strikes and swallowing respectively. We analyzed all the films we acquired with computer software such as Tracker in order to obtain quantifiable data for statistics. The data we collected helped us better understand how they balance the constraint of burrowing and swallowing.
Why I wanted to participate in SOAR: I wanted to be able to acquire a research experience, and previous SOAR students recommended that I do a SOAR project. They really enjoyed doing it at Moravian. I also had a great experience.
Results: We were able to perform a statistical analysis on the data we acquired for each of the events. We were able to determine that the snout is not that mobile for some species such as Eryx johnii. The data we collected helped us better understand how they balance the constraint of burrowing and swallowing. With the data we acquired the next step would be to compare our snakes to other species of snakes that are not burrowing. Future plans: I want to pursue a career in medicine so I am hoping to get into medical school after finishing my education at Moravian College.