Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Jonathan Conard has published an article in this month's issue of BioOne Online Journals. Titled "Foraging Ecology of Elk (Cervus elaphus) in a Tallgrass Prairie," the Sterling College faculty member’s article is a breakthrough piece in understanding the diet of elk in Kansas.
"We found out what species of plants [the elk] ate," said Conard. "They focused on trees and shrubs but not as many grasses. This research gave us more insight into their diet in a different setting. While there is a good amount of knowledge in the Rocky Mountains, elk in Kansas have undergone much less study."
A free-ranging herd of elk outside of Fort Riley, Kan., - the only free-ranging herd in the state - was the subject of Conard's study. The data collection phase was two years long, and analysis of the data, as well as writing out the results was a year long process. Conard's doctoral dissertation sparked his interest in elk and compelled him to do a significant amount of research.
"It's great to have faculty members who are engaged in their profession," said Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Gregory Kerr. "This is an excellent example of faculty members still contributing to their discipline and staying current."