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Megan Chesser

Graduate Student (MS)


Megan Chesser earned her BS from the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina in 2007. She is currently an MS candidate in the Landscape Ecology Lab in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Megan's thesis research is entitled: Analysis of error rates associated with photographic identification in large-scale databases.

Megan's research is part of the vernal pools project, where she is continuing the research of Chris Jenkins, Lloyd Gamble, Brad Timm and Ethan Plunket on the metapopulation dynamics of a local marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) population. Using ten years of capture-recapture data across 14 seasonal ponds, she is evaluating and improving a computer-based individual pattern recognition approach developed in collaboration with Dr. Sai Ravela at MIT. The specific objectives of her project are to: (1) quantify the advantages and disadvantages between two methods of photographic identification: human-visual vs. computer-assisted, (2) determine if either method of identification is biased in the type of errors made, and (3) determine if there is a difference between methods in terms of the frequency of errors made (more specifically to quantify the supposed decrease in error frequency gained by using computer-assistance).

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Kevin McGarigal
Department of Environmental Conservation
University of Massachusetts
304 Holdsworth Natural Resources Center
Box 34210, Amherst, MA 01003
Fax: (413) 545-4358; Phone: (413) 577-0655

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