Colleges and Universities like CUSEB have a number of faculty and students who regularly do projects involving animals in the wild. Field studies of animals are conduced to observe animal behavior, to evaluate populations, to assess disease pathogenesis and management, and to examine the effects of environmental features on wildlife. Most of these involve some risk to the animals that are observed. The information on this page is meant to give researchers some guidance in conducting field studies and in preparing a field study protocol for IACUC review.
IACUC approval is required whenever a study may impact on an animal in any way. Field research generally has the potential to affect animals. This is especially true in the case of research involving animal capture, but it is also the case simply walking in a sensitive ecosystems has the potential to create harm. For this reason, all field research is subject to animal care committee approval. Technically, strictly observational field research may not require animal care committee approval (USDA, 1989), but the CSUEB IACUC still requires approval of such investigation.
Scientists and students conducting field research should disturb their subjects as little as possible, within the requirements of their research. Moreover, efforts should be made to minimize the negative impact of the study on the environment.
Section XI, Field Studies, will have to be filled. This section asks nine questions about the proposed study (questions that are not applicable can be marked N/A):
For each of these questions, the IACUC will want to have a description of the method, why this technique preferred over others, what are the potential negative effects, and how are potential negative effects addressed?
Additional justification may be required for the study of endangered animals. Such research on endangered species should not be conducted until all requisite permits are obtained. The committee will also examine likely hazards for the personnel in the project including zoonotic diseases, bites, and so forth.
All personnel involved in field research must complete the required CSUEB Occupational Health Program course and verify successful completion with the IACUC Coordinator before they may begin work. Contact the IACUC Coordinator, Cameron Ryczek (firstname.lastname@example.org) for gathering training materials or with any questions you may have.
First and foremost, researchers should conduct their research teaching in a manner consistent with laws and regulations. For example, if wild animals are captured, they should be trapped in a humane manner and in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations. The following list of resources provides additional information that may be helpful in designing a successful research program.