Kasey Jobe, senior biology major and forestry minor from Chester, will represent SFA at the 2021 Texas Undergraduate Research Day event held virtually on Feb. 23.
Jobe said the research he worked on focused on snake entanglements in erosion control blankets, which are used often during road construction to stabilize the soil.
“Snakes and other species of animals have been known to get entangled because it’s like fishing line—barely visible even to the human eye,” Jobe said. “We ran the experiment to see: If we change up these installation methods, how does that affect possible entanglement?”
Jobe said the experiments were successful in supporting the hypothesis, and no snakes were entangled.
While Jobe is the only current undergraduate student that worked on this project, he also worked with Christopher Schalk, assistant professor of forest wildlife management, Daniel Saenz, research scientist from the U.S. Forest Service, Krista Ward, a former undergraduate student, and Nick Schiwitz, another former undergraduate student.
Schalk said Jobe has been working with him since the summer of 2018.
“Kasey’s desire to develop new skills and work on different projects makes him an invaluable collaborator on all our research projects. He is one of the most hardworking and dependable students I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” Shalk said.
Ward said Jobe is enthusiastic about his work and has no fear of grabbing snakes or getting bit by them, making him the best person to present the research.
“I am so happy that Kasey is representing this project because he has been involved with the project from the very beginning,” Ward said. “He knows all the background info plus the experimental design, results, and implications of the research that will be presented. So, no better person to represent our research or SFA undergraduate research projects!”
However, Jobe said this is not the first time he has presented this research. He previously presented with Schalk at a national conference in Utah.
“It’s brought our project to the public eye, and I think that is what this type of project [needs] when it has real life implications,” Jobe said. “It’s something that we could implement here in Texas, in SFA.”
Snakes are not the only animals Jobe wants to help with his research. He is currently working on a project over birds that he will present at the SFA Undergraduate Research Conference in April.
“I feel like my career path is going to be something along the lines of research. I wanted to do research, and it just so happened that this was the project that hired me, but I do have a huge love for snakes,” Jobe said.
The public can view Jobe’s presentation here, along with research presentations of students from other universities.