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Monday, January 25 • 10:20am - 10:40am
Using Social Media To Increase Public Understanding of Research

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AUTHORS: Tyler R. Petroelje*, Mississippi State University; Ashley Lutto, Mississippi State University; Nick Fowler, Mississippi State University; Dean Beyer, Jr., Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Jerrold Belant, Mississippi State University

ABSTRACT: Public understanding of wildlife research, often filled with misinformation, is limited to media portrayals of research regularly polarized by a political agenda. Social media networks are readily available to wildlife researchers, easy to use, and may be a tool to reach members of the public and build support for, and understanding of, wildlife research. The Michigan Predator-Prey Project (MIPP) is a multi-phase 12 year study examining the influence of habitat, predation, and winter weather on fawn survival in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The study provides information on predator-prey ecology and recommendations for white-tailed deer management. We examined the total reach of our social media and compared this to our website reach to assess public awareness and involvement in this research. During 1 July–30 September 2015 the MIPP Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mipredprey) increased followers from 2,015 to 2,270 unique users. Content reach during that same time ranged from 18 to 4,340 (x = 1,052) unique users/day. The MIPP website (cfr.msstate.edu/carnivore/predatorprey) visitation ranged from 3 to 29 (x = 12) unique users/day. Social media provides a platform to reach greater numbers of people than a static webpage and can provide an easy way to communicate with people locally and globally.

Monday January 25, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Emerald A