Biology Professor Jennifer Sevin Receives NSF Grant to Support Project Related to Wildlife Trade & Undergraduate Research

April 22, 2021

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Biology professor Jennifer Sevin has received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a project focused on undergraduate research exploring the wildlife trade.

The project focuses on the development and assessment of course-based undergraduate research experiences related to the legal and illegal aspects of the wildlife trade.

“People may associate the wildlife trade with ‘The Tiger King,” which drew a lot of attention, but it’s more widespread than most people realize, and it even includes native wild animals — from turtles to bears,” said Sevin. “Not all wildlife trade is illegal, and the more we learn about the trade and begin teaching it at the undergraduate level, the more awareness and sustainable solutions we can create.” 

Sevin’s funding is an incubator grant that is part of a larger grant led by the University of Rhode Island with additional collaborators from the University of Florida and the University of Maryland.

"I am working with faculty from 30 colleges and universities across the U.S. to develop and pilot research-based learning modules for undergraduate classes on wildlife trade,” Sevin added. “The funding will also support student research beyond the classroom and encourage undergraduate students to publish their research.”

Sevin, an expert in ecology and conservation biology, has worked at the University of Richmond since 2017. Sevin enjoys engaging her students in real-world issues. She led a project to install pollinator gardens on campus and also raised and released monarchs with her students as part of an international conversation effort. Her students have also taken part in the national camera trapping effort called SnapshotUSA with the Smithsonian Institution and collaborated with other students at North Gujarat University in India to address the increasing issue of human-sloth bear conflict.

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