RESEARCH ALBUM

Some of them are small fun projects, while some are serious ones.

Just as a photo captures the world differently from every angle, I hope my research could capture the world.

 
 
  • Minseok 'Joseph' Kim

[NOP] 1. Flying Squirrel Species Preservation


Photo of a Siberian Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans) taken by my research mentor, Alexander Ganse. They are really cute!

Siberian Flying Squirrels (Pteromys volans) are distributed from the Baltic Sea in the west through the Pacific Coast in the east. While it is considered as Least Concern on the list of (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, it is considered as an endangered species in South Korea, the southernmost location of the species' inhabitation.


Geographic distribution of Siberian Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans). By IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, species assessors and the authors of the spatial data., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12352831

However, we have found that these flying squirrels are living in our forest, evidenced by photos taken by Alexander Ganse (both at day and at night) and by the dead bodies of the species found in a corner of a building. Scats (animal wastes) were also found near flying squirrel diet-trees such as Betula (birch trees).


In order to protect these species, we brought two solutions.

1. Protect P. volans's feed (diet-trees)

2. Construct shelters



1. Protect P. volans's diet-trees

Previous research showed that these species feed from the catkins (flower cluster) of birch and alder and live on the oak trees. This was confirmed by past observations.


The school campus both had alder and birch trees along with oak trees. However, a forest in the middle of ecological succession suggests that birch trees were soon to be overgrown by oak trees, which grow at a faster rate. Then birch trees would eventually be outcompeted by oak trees and food for flying squirrels would decrease.


To protect betula (birch) trees, we first identified existing birch trees (location, height, # of branch, crown shape). With aerial mapping and the help of Mr. Ganse, total 207 trees were identified. Then for some trees that had highly competing crowns (branches) with the betula trees went under felling (cutting) for the preservation of betula.


These trees are constantly monitored for scats (poop) and activity.


2. Construct shelters

To provide these squirrels houses, I've created flying squirrel houses.

They were constructed with 2x4 and plywood.

Total 5 houses were created, and were installed around trees.


One of the houses had shown active use.

Every photo on this page is taken by me, Minseok 'Joseph' Kim.