Justin A. Dellinger
Mail: School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Office: Winkenwerder 114a
Radio-collaring a male mountain lion captured in a snare on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in 2012
am a good ol' southern boy born and raised in North Carolina. I
can honestly say I have been obsessed with animals since I was an
infant. From begging to go to every zoo within a
days drive when I was 5 to begging to go camping/backpacking
myself due to the superior hygiene practices of friends and
family) when I was 15. After graduating from Shelby High
School in 2004 in Shelby, NC, I set off to attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington
to study Biology (at the time thinking I would become a biology
teacher). While at UNCW I took an internship at the Bald Head Island Conservancy
in the summer of 2006 convinced me that wildlife biology was my
true passion. So after graduating from UNCW in 2008 with a B.S.
in Biology, and getting married to my wonderful wife Nikki (who also has hygiene practices superior to my own) of 4+ years, I undertook a graduate position at Auburn University under Dr. Troy Best studying foraging and spatial ecology of red wolves (Canis rufus) in northeastern North Carolina (click for thesis).
After graduating in Spring of 2011 with an M.S. in Biology, and
becoming a first time dad to my son Jude five days after
defending my thesis, the family and I headed to Arizona where I got a
job as a wildlife researcher studying mountain lions (Puma concolor)
in collaboration with the San Carlos Apache Tribe. In the
summer of 2012 I accepted a Ph.D position at the University of
Washington under Dr. Aaron Wirsing studying the impacts of
recolonizing gray wolves (Canis lupus)
in Washington state on ungulate species. I love to spout out
random wildlife facts for my wife's benefit, teach my son all
manner of boyhood mischief and fun, hike and backpack with my certified
ADD hound dog Mason, kayak, play rugby (that is when I was younger and
my body could take such obscene abuse), and play and watch
basketball (I have a mild addiction to Duke basketball which there is
no cure for since growing up in NC). I look forward to
exploring the left coast in my time at UW and hope to get my hands on
all manner of wildlife (both fluffy and hazardous to my health).
My wife Nikki in Costa Rica on our
My son Jude and I hiking in,
Mason doing what hounds do best, laying on
the front porch, with Jude, 2011
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 love 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.
M.S. work detailed the basic foraging and spatial ecology of one
of the rarest canids in the
world. Beyond the purely ecological I investigated: low-cost
techniques for monitoring red wolves in the wild; foraging
red wolves in relation to accessibility of human-related food
and how habitat use of red wolves changes with human density and
development. At UW I am investigating the impact of
recolonizing gray wolves in Washinton state on ungulate species.
Field work will involve four (2012-2016) winter
seasons (December - April) on the eastern side of the Cascade
range. With the natural experiment provided by the recolonizing
gray wolves, and cutting edge technology (GPS and camera
collars!!!), I hope to understand the 1) indirect and 2) direct effects
of wolves on ungulate species in Washington state as well as 3)
develop predator-prey models to understand how encounter risk,
kill risk, and kill rate by wolves with respect to
ungulate prey varies as a function of landscape
variables and changing wolf density/pack size. With this
information state biologists should be better able to predict the
impact that recolonizing wolves will have on ungulate
populations in the state of Washington for the purpose of proper
management of ungulate prey for shared use by hunters, which bring in
substantial state revenue from buying tags, and wolves,
which currently carry a state and federal listing and attract tourist
dollars. Come back in the following months for updates to
research methodology, precise study areas, preliminary findings,
Male red wolf re-released with a new radio-collar, 2010 Male
red wolf near Lake Mattamuskeet Nat'l Wildlife Refuge, 2010
Beech Ridge pack pups, 2009
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
- - 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
- 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
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
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
in population dynamics between the various species, as well as
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
elk. I also made and deployed snares to catch and
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
impact that mountain lions were having on the cattle ranched by San
Male Mexican Gray Wolf in a Ponderosa
Forest, AZ 2011
Bull Elk in a
Ponderosa Pine Forest, AZ 2011
Lion waking up
from radio-collaring, captured with hounds, AZ 2012
- Dellinger, J. A.,
J. M. McVey, C. Moorman, and D. Cobb. 2011. Diameter
thresholds for distinguishing between red wolf and other canid scat.
Wildlife Society Bulletin 35(4):416-420.
- Dellinger, J. A., T. D. Steury, B. L. Ortman, J. Bohling, and L. P. Waits. 2011. Food habits of red wolves (Canis rufus) during pup-rearing season.
Southeastern Naturalist 10(4):731-740.- Dellinger, J. A.,
C. Proctor, T. D. Steury, M. J. Kelly, and M. R. Vaughan. 2012.
Habitat selection of a large carnivore, the red wolf, in a
human-altered landscape. Biological
Conservation In Press. - Dellinger, J. A., C. Proctor, T. D. Steury, and M. J. Kelly. In Prep. Potential
sites for continued reintroduction of the red
wolf to its historic range.
To be submitted to Journal of Wildlife
Management. - Proctor, C., J. A. Dellinger, M. J. Kelly, and M. R. Vaughan. In Prep.
Seasonal variation in red wolf home range size and composition.
submitted to Journal of Mammalogy.
small mammal traps,
Exploring a cave for
bats, Mexico 2010 (notice same shirt!)
Black bear in a riparian box canyon, Arizona 2011
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
watching the lions at the zoo, 2012, reminding me never to get to busy
in my work that I forget the initial awe I felt as a child watching
Job 12: 7-10