The Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Anthropogenic Activities on
Black Bears in a Human-Dominated Landscape
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, in collaboration with Bear Trust International, have provided Dr. Lise Aubry at Utah State University with a remarkable 33-year data set which includes: >5,000 black bear captures, >3,900 cause-specific mortality recoveries, spatial data from 35 GPS instrumented individuals, and >27,000 spatially-explicit reported conflicts. My dissertation research links the ecological consequences, including behavioral, spatial, and demographic responses to anthropogenic activities, to the evolutionary consequences, such as shifting body size or altered distributions of personality types, within an archetypal human-dominated landscape, northwestern NJ, USA. We examine how nuisance and threatening black bear behaviors, as well as age and sex, relate to the probability of
harvest, lethal management, and other sources of mortality, such as vehicle strikes. We further assess correlations between temporal trends in human-bear conflict reports and harvest and lethal management rates. We evaluate the intrinsic (e.g., sex, age, reproductive status) and extrinsic factors (natural food production, harvest regime) associated with black bear spatial transitions across the wildland-urban landscape gradient. We explore how urbanization may be influencing female fertility and fitness, and how survival and fertility rates vary as a function of anthropogenic landscape transformation. Lastly, we will attempt to construct high-dimension matrices to appraise eco-evolutionary consequences on body size and/or behavioral phenotypic distributions as they relate to the use of anthropogenic resources.
The Impact of Calf Survival on Elk Population Dynamics in West-Central Montana
With support from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International Foundation, and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and under the guidance of Dr. Dan Pletscher at the University of Montana, my crew radio-marked 121 newborn calf elk and 30 adult female elk during 2002-05. We estimated causes and rates of mortality, pregnancy rates, birth weights, birth dates and synchrony to test a suite of hypotheses proposed to explain a 30 year decline in calf elk recruitment, as indexed from spring green-up flights. As part of my thesis, I conducted a large meta-analysis in which we demonstrate that calf elk survival, despite its low elasticity relative to adult females, can dramatically influence population growth rates given the sizeable magnitude of inter-annual variability in this vital rate.
Monitoring Coral Reef Ecosystem Health Following the Post-Tsunami Modernization
of the Fishing Fleet Along the Andaman Coast, Thailand
With support from the EarthWatch Institute, I trained and managed volunteers in conducting Reef Check SCUBA transects along the Andaman Coast, Thailand during 2008-09. We evaluated the relative influence of a number of threats (e.g., bleaching, eutrophication, overfishing, loss of apex predators) from highly degraded systems that are close to human affluent and heavily fished, to pristine reefs that are >60 km offshore where no-fishing regulations are enforced.
Translocating Threatened Louisiana Black Bears as part of
Larger Repatriation Effort
During spring of 2005, I participated in an effort which radio-marked and translocated 7 adult female Louisiana black bears and 15 cubs from the Tensas National Wildlife Refuge, in northeastern Louisiana, to the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area in east-central Louisiana. Captures entailed climbing huge bald cypress trees in swamps and free-darting sows in tree cavity dens.
Identifying Stopovers During Northern Pintail Duck
Spring Migration Along the Pacific Flyway
During spring 2002, I worked on the USGS - Ducks Unlimited 'Pinsat' project, serving as a radio-telemetry technician across California and Oregon to quantify habitat selection of northern pintail along their West Coast migration.
Quantifying the 'Successional Debt' Created by Clear-Cutting in the
Tongass National Forest, Alaska on Deer-Wolf Dynamics
During summer 2001, I worked as a technician for a long-term Alaska Department of Fish and Game research project to measure how three decades of intense clear-cut logging in southeast Alaska has affected the forage of Sitka black-tailed deer. Secondly, we radio-marked does to assess how deer distributions impacted the threatened Alexander Archipelago gray wolf.
Determining the Extent of Sexual Size Dimorphism in the Extinct Moa-Nalo:
Massive Flightless Hawaiian Waterfowl
During summer 2000, I was selected from a highly competitive global pool of applicants to participate in the undergraduate Research Training Program at the Smithsoniam National Museum of Natural History. Under the guidance of Dr. Helen James, I conducted a morphometric analysis evaluating the presence and extent of sexual size dimorphism within the moa-nalos, two extinct species of massive, flightless Hawaiian ducks.
Locating Northern Spotted Owl and Northern Goshawk Nest Trees in the
Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
During summer 1999, I interned for the US Forest Service conducting surveys for northern spotted owl, northern goshawk, mountain yellow-legged frog, willow flycatcher, and great gray owl.