My wife Nikki in Costa Rica on our honeymoon, 2008 My son Jude and I hiking in, AZ 2011 Mason doing what hounds do best, laying on the front porch, with Jude, 2011
Ok so predators rule! There I said it, I am totally fascinated by the predators of the world, large and small. That said my research interests lie at the crossroads of pure and applied questions concerning carnivores and their interactions with prey and humans. I seek to ask ecological questions about how and why things work but also think it is important for research to have application such as species and habitat management and conservation. My M.S. work detailed the basic foraging and spatial ecology of one of the rarest canids in the world, the red wolf (Canis rufus). Beyond the purely ecological I investigated: low-cost management techniques for monitoring red wolves in the wild; foraging habits of red wolves in relation to accessibility of human-related food sources; and how habitat use of red wolves changes with human density and development. Following my M.S. work I spent time in the beautiful desert southwest capturing and radio-collaring mounatin lions (Puma concolor). The goal of the research was to use radio-collar data in concert with remote game cameras to develop a technique to estimate mountain lion densities without having to capture and radio-collar mountain lions. At UW I am investigating the impact of recolonizing gray wolves in Washinton state on ungulate species. Field work will involve four (2012-2017) winter field seasons (December - April) on the north and south halves of the Colville Reservation in north-central Washingon. With the natural experiment provided by the recolonizing gray wolves, and cutting edge technology (GPS and camera collars!!!), I hope to understand the 1) non-consumptive and 2) consumptive effects of wolves on ungulate species in Washington state as well as 3) develop predator-prey models to understand how predation risk by wolves with respect to ungulate prey varies as a function of landscape variables, weather, and season. With this information state biologists should be better able to predict the impact that recolonizing gray wolves will have on ungulate populations in Washington. Such an understanding with allow for proper management of ungulate prey for shared use by 1) hunters, which bring in substantial state revenue from buying tags, and 2) wolves, which currently carry a state and federal listing and attract tourist dollars.
Field Work Update:
- Wildlife Technician, Bald Head
Island Conservancy. May - August 2006. This internship gave
of initial field experience. I was able to to get
hands on experience monitoring populations in the wild. I conducted
nightly surveys of deer and alligators on the island as well as
monitoring of beaches for nesting loggerhead and green
Plant Biodiversity Research
Technician, University of North Carolina Wilmington. May 2006 -
2007. I investigated patterns of plant diversity in maritime
forests with respect to varying age, size, and elevation of
various maritime islands. This research helped give a better
understanding of how various environmental factors interact to
direct plant diversity in these coastal ecosystems.
- Assistant Curator, University of North Carolina Wilmington. January - December 2007. Assisted in preparing, maintaining, and cataloging specimens in the ornithology and mammalogy collections at the university.
- Bird Survey Technician, University of North Carolina Wilmington. January - May 2007. Conducted daily visual and auditory bird surveys in a long-leaf pine ecosystem to guide development of land with respect to species of concern.
- Exotic Mammal Technician, University of North Carolina Wilmington. August - December 2007. Conducted surveys of rivers in southeastern North Carolina to determine the presence/absence of the invasive nutria or coypu (Myocastor coypus), a large rodent native to South America capable of devastating wetland habitats in North America.
- Paleoecology Research Technician, University of North Carolina Wilmington. May 2007 - May 2008. I identified carbon dated bone fragments taken from the Colorado Rockies to lowest possible taxonomic level in order to try and determine the faunal make-up of the Colorado Rockies during the mid-Miocene. This research helped to give a better picture of how resitant alpine communities are to changes in climate.
- Mammal Research Technician, Colima, Mexico. Winter 2009-2010. I helped set-up and maintain trapping grids for small mammals in a tropical thorn forest to study interplay in population dynamics between the various species, as well as spatial and temporal habitat partitioning.
- Graduate Researcher, Auburn University. August 2008 - May 2011. See thesis.
- Graduate Teaching Assistant, Auburn University. August 2008 - May 2011. I taught the laboratory components for Mammalian Physiology, a hands-on live dissection lab involving anesthetized vertebrate lab animals, and Vertebrate Biodiversity, a field course detailing various methods used to catch, survey, and monitor vertebrate populations.
- Wildlife Researcher, San Carlos Apache Tribe Recreation and Wildlife Dept. May 2011 - May 2012. Set-up and maintained camera grids to determine occupancy and detection rates for mountain lions as a function of habitat. Also used camera grids to determine interactions between mountain lions and prey species such as mule deer and elk. I also made and deployed snares to catch and radio-collar mountain lions to better understand habitat use and foraging ecology. Specifically we were interested in developing methods to determine mountain lion abundance across a given landscape and the impact that mountain lions were having on the cattle ranched by San Carlos Apache Tribe.
Todd Steury - Auburn University
Marcella Kelly - Virginia Tech
Christine Proctor - Virginia Tech
Joey Hinton - University of Georgia
Red Wolf Recovery Team including: Chris Lucash, Art Beyer, and Ford Mauney - U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Eric Krausz - Colville Confederated Tribes Fish & Wildlife
Donovan Antoine - Colville Confederated Tribes Fish & Wildlife
Matt Marsh - Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Woody Myers - Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
Briand Kertson - Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife