Field Research FAQ

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 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 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 simply walking in a sensitive ecosystems 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 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:

After reviewing the SOP 103 - Review of Exempt Animal Research or have discussed with the IACUC and 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 at least 2 weeks before the next upcoming IACUC meeting. These dats can be found on the IACUC Meeting Dates.

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, 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 facilty coordinator or committee coordinator 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. 

  • Wildlife Research
    National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement, and Reduction of Animals in Research.
  • Wildlife Research and the IACUC
    NAL. Animal Welfare Information Center.
  • Guidelines for the Use of Fishes in Research  (PDF|729 KB)
    American Fisheries Society.
  • Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the Use of Wild Mammals in Research  (PDF|140 KB)
    American Society of Mammalogists.
  • Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research
    The Ornithological Council.
  • Wildlife Research
    Animal Ethics Infolink.
  • Guidelines for Use of Live Amphibians and Reptiles in Field Research  (PDF|92 KB)
    American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.
  • Guidelines on the Care and Use of Wildlife  (PDF|1.11 MB)
    Canadian Council on Animal Care.
  • Live Animal Capture and Handling Guidelines for Wild Mammals, Birds, Amphibians & Reptiles
    Province of British Columbia. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks.
  • Restraint and Handling of Captive Wildlife  (PDF|45 KB)
    Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching Ltd.