Field Research

Field Research at CSUEB

Colleges and Universities like CSUEB have a number of faculty and students who regularly do projects involving animals in the wild.  Field studies of animals are conducted 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 a vertebrate 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 that simply walking into a sensitive ecosystem has the potential to create harm.  For this reason, all field research is subject to animal care committee review.  Technically, strictly observational field research may not require animal care committee approval (USDA, 1989); however, CSUEB's IACUC would like to review all field studies that may involve vertebrate animals through an exemption application process.

The IACUC has developed guidelines as to what studies may be issued an approved exemption. We encourage any invesitgators seeking to conduct field work to review the following guidelines in the following SOP - Review of Exempt Animal Research.

If you have any questions regarding whether your proposed study falls under IACUC exemption, please email:

If, after reviewing SOP 103 - Review of Exempt Animal Research - or discussing with the IACUC you have determined your proposed study is eligible for an approved exemption, you will need to formally apply for an exemption.

Complete the following Request to Review Exempt Field Research form, and submit to These can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed by the Chair and the attending veternarian.

Please note that the committee reserves the right to request that a long IACUC protocol must be submitted prior to the proposed work beginning. We again emphasize that you email with any questions or concerns early in the process to avoid any delays in beginning your work.

If you are asked to complete the IACUC long protocol form, please read the following information below:

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):

  1. Animal Capture. 
  2. Animal Restraint/Handling.
  3. Animal marking and Radiotelemetry.  
  4. Description of Proposed Procedures 
  5. Release, Euthanasia or Other Disposition of Animals
  6. Recapture of Animals
  7. Qualifications of Personnel
  8. Health Precautions for Personnel
  9. Housing of Captive Wild Animals
  10. Transportation of Animals

For each of these questions, IACUC will want to have a description of the method, why this technique preferred over others, the potential negative effects, and how these potential negative effects might be 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 Lyanh Luu, for gathering training materials or with any questions you may have.

First and foremost, researchers should conduct their research and 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.