The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations define field research as: "a study conducted on free-living wild animals in their natural habitat. However, this term excludes any study that involves an invasive procedure, harms, or materially alters the behavior of an animal under study."
If the animals are confined in any way, if an invasive procedure is involved, or if the behavior of the animals is harmed or materially altered, then the field study is regulated and must comply with the regulations and standards. If the field study involves SOLELY invertebrates, or the salvage of dead vertebrates, it does not need to be reviewed by the IACUC.
To further understand the requirements for field studies, please read the IACUC's new training module for field research.
Additionally, to improve and expedite the process for review and approval of field studies, the IACUC has developed a separate application form for field research. The information obtained through this new protocol application form is more appropriate for field studies and the issues that the IACUC is required to address.