10/7/2008 Freauff researches invasive ants in Oregon parks
McMINNVILLE – Alex Freauff of Redmond is among four Linfield College students who participated in a summer research program studying the impact of invasive species on the biodiversity of Oregon.
Freauff, a senior biology major and music minor, is a 2004 graduate of Redmond High School. He is the son of Mark and Patti Freauff of Redmond and Janet Freauff of Coos Bay.
Freauff worked with students and Chad Tillberg, assistant professor of biology at Linfield, in a number of Oregon State Parks to study how invasive ants affect the communities they invade. The students did surveys to determine if the non-native ant species were present, and whether they were outcompeting native Oregon species. They collected the ant species and worked in a lab to prepare the specimens for identification and preservation in addition to conducting a dietary analysis. Tillberg has spent more than 10 years studying ants and their ecology. In the program students worked to further the understanding of how invasive species might lead to biodiversity decline.
“This research opportunity has taught me a lot about working in a group and dealing with a variety of group dynamics in a scientific setting,” said Freauff.
Freauff learned about the importance of species on different habitats and how controlling a species is a significant part of wildlife conservation. He said that the experience educated him on the practices of a laboratory environment and the importance of maintaining an overall group goal.