Student Research Projects

Use of a Designed Highway Undercrossing by Wildlife Over the First 2 Years of Use

Student Kathleen Mabry, Samantha Porter '07
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 316: General Ecology (Honors Section)


This structure was sited to facilitate wildlife movement between the Great Dismal Swamp and habitats along the Northwest River Corridor to the east. We are currently studying the effectiveness of this undercrossing using remote infrared wildlife cameras, in order to document its use by wildlife over time. Between Nov. 2005 and November 2007, we observed an average of 19.8 crossings per month by eight different species at the north and south ends of the bridge, including Raccoon, Bobcat, Opossum and White-tailed Deer. In October of 2007, after almost two years, we finally observed the black bear, which the undercrossing was originally designed to serve. We documented significantly more wildlife in raised and mulched dry crossing areas, as opposed to adjacent wet crossing areas. We also documented fewer animals during the winter months as compared to November and spring sampling. We hypothesize that the use of this structure will increase over time, as we have seen with the recent bear sightings, and we will continue to monitor its use through 2008.


National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Salisbury, MD, April 2008.


Mabry, K.K., S. Porter, B. Donaldson, Faculty Adviser - M. Schaus. 2008. Use of a Designed Highway Undercrossing by Wildlife Over the First 2 Years of Use. Proceedings of The National Conference On Undergraduate Research, Volume 22 (In Press).