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BRI Graduate Student Profile: Jacob Lampman

Jacob Lampman learned to love wildlife and nature at his grandfather’s knee.

“My grandma’s family has had a family ranch in Central Texas for generations,” said Jacob. “Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sitting in a deer blind with my grandpa. We hunted some, but I was fascinated to just sit there with him and watch the wild animals and birds go by. My grandpa really opened my eyes to the natural world and how everything in nature is connected.”

That love of wildlife and nature led him to Texas A&M and a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries.

“I didn’t even know you could get a degree in wildlife biology until high school,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect when I enrolled. As I went through my degree plan, it turned out to be all about research and science and studying relationships between wildlife and habitat. That really caught my attention.”

During his undergraduate studies, he gained some real-world experience by taking part in bobwhite quail and white-tailed deer studies in South Texas. He was also fortunate enough to study abroad through a Texas A&M South Africa biodiversity project.

“That was an amazing trip and it was so interesting to learn about wildlife in another country and how species are managed and conserved,” he said.

One of his professors introduced him to Dr. Louis Harveson at Borderlands Research Institute, and a few conversations later, Jacob made the decision to pursue a master’s degree at Sul Ross State University.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next, but something really clicked after talking to Dr. Harveson,” said Jacob. “I started at Sul Ross in January 2016, and I should be finished up by the end of August.”

His experience and interest in deer influenced his thesis project, which is focused on mule deer. The project is exploring the influence of agriculture on mule deer diets and nutrition in the Texas Panhandle. It’s part of a larger long-term study by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

During the last couple of years, Jacob has been involved in a number of research projects underway at BRI. He’s participated in translocation projects for mule deer, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. He’s worked with scaled quail, other grassland birds and habitat surveys. All of this experience positioned him for his first full-time professional job, though it has complicated his life somewhat.

“I’ve been working a full-time seasonal position as a wildlife research technician at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game since last September,” he said. “The timing was good since I had finished up my thesis field work. I’m living in Boise right now and am working on a variety of projects with mule deer and elk. When I’m not on the job, I’m working on finishing up my thesis.”

Jacob expects to graduate in August 2019, and the seasonal position in Idaho may be over soon after. What’s next for Jacob is up in the air.

“I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to focus my education on what I am passionate about,” he said. “I hope to spend my career helping to manage and conserve the natural resources that I love. I’m hoping to land a job as a wildlife biologist in Idaho or Texas, or wherever the opportunity presents itself.”

Graduate student Jacob Lampman is studying how agriculture in the Texas Panhandle affects mule deer diet and nutrition.