Alex Zager '23

Bullfrog Vocalization Study: A Zoological Analysis
A photo of UNH alum Alex Zager in a forest holding up an animal.

Alex Zager is a zoology major from Jersey City, New Jersey.

COLSA: Tell us about your research in as non-technical language as possible.

Alex Zager: We studied and surveyed bullfrog calls throughout summer 2023, focusing on local ponds teeming with these amphibians from late May through June. By day, our team conducted visual surveys and set up audio recorders; by night, we visited the ponds to classify observed bullfrogs, recording their characteristics such as gender and behavior.

Following the summer, we analyzed the audio data, selecting the three sites with the highest bullfrog populations for detailed study. We examined calls from the coldest and an average-temperature day in June 2023, counting calls over several hours to determine if temperature significantly affected call frequency.

COLSA: What challenge/issue does your research seek to address?

Alex: This research built upon a pilot study from summer 2023, exploring whether temperature influenced bullfrog activity and vocalization. We carefully reviewed audio files, counting the call notes from the selected days. Our primary research period was in June, coinciding with bullfrog mating season.

COLSA: What has your experience conducting undergraduate research been like so far?

Alex: Engaging in this research has been an excellent opportunity to expand my skills in unexpected ways. It introduced me to a previously unfamiliar field, fostering valuable connections within and beyond the university. My experiences included presenting at a symposium and research conference at UNH, where I interacted with fellow scientists both from the institution and the wider community. The university's commitment to offering genuine research opportunities in both field and laboratory settings has been instrumental to my learning and achievements, underscoring the unique advantages that UNH provides its students for hands-on research.

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