Having recolonized the Adirondack Park in recent decades, moose now face a warming climate that threatens their continued persistence along their southern range margin. Our team is assessing the current status of the Adirondack moose population, tracking population trend, and identifying factors limiting population growth.
Collaborators: Krysten Schuler and Angela Fuller (Cornell University), Jeremy Hurst, Jim Stickles and Sharon Tabor (NYS-DEC), Heidi Kretzer (Wildlife Conservation Society)
As forest cover is lost, typically so are large forest-dependent mammals. Loss of top predators can trigger a cascade of changes at lower trophic levels, diminishing the ecological integrity of forest systems. Our team is assessing the degree to which puma and other wild cats use the last remnants of Atlantic Forest in Sao Paolo state, Brazil, so as to better understand trophic dynamics in ever-diminishing tropical forests.
Collaborators: Ronaldo Morato (ICM-Bio)
Photo credit: Allison Devlin
River otter are elusive, slippery, and impossible to tell apart -- so getting a handle on their population status can be tricky. Our team is modeling otter habitat, conducting winter track surveys, and deploying field cameras to provide the first comprehensive assessment of otter populations statewide, providing key data for a developing otter management plan.
Collaborators: NYS-DEC furbearer management team
Photo credit: Elaina Burns
The Amur leopard numbered as few as 40 individuals in the wild in recent history. Our team is investigating the forces limiting Amur leopard today, from poaching to competition with Amur tiger, in the Land of the Leopard National Park in Primorsky Krai, Russia to help ensure the persistence of this majestic predator.
Collaborators: Dale Miquelle (Wildlife Conservation Society) and Mark Hebblewhite (University of Montana
Photo credit: Bob Nixon
Lion Guardians stand on the front lines of lion conservation in Kenya and Tanzania. Part of a larger, long-term study in Tanzania, our team is studying the behavioral ecology of the lions the Gaurdians interact with to help increase the efficiency and sustainability of their efforts as well as the applicability of their approach in other regions.
Visit lionguardians.org to learn about the Lion Guardians program.
Collaborators: David Macdonald and Andrew Loveridge (Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford), Luke Hunter (Panthera)
Photo credit: Ewaso lions (ewasolions.org)
Although diminuitive in size, bats are highly mobile, spreading a devastating fungus that causes white-nose syndrome far and wide. In core disease-affected areas (northeastern US) and at the leading edge of disease spread (Great Lakes Region), our team is seeking insights to help forest managers mitigate population declines and help bats recover as the disease progresses cross the country.
Collaborators: Deahn Donner, Paula Marquardt, and Dan Lindner (US Forest Service, Northern Research Station), Leah Berkman (Missouri Department of Conservation)
Photo credit: Michael Fishman
White-tailed deer and forest regeneration
Heavy browsing pressure can diminish the integrity of northeastern forests, reducing habitat quality for a range of other species. Our team is studying where strategic changes in silvicutural treatments and deer management are likely to improve forest conditions across NY State, with a goal of enabling managers to strike a better balance between healthy deer populations and healthy forests.
Collaborators: Martin Dovciak (SUNY ESF), Mark Lesser (SUNY Plattsburgh), Paul Curtis, Kristi Sullivan and Peter Smallidge (Cornell University Cooperative Extension), Jeremy Hurst (NY-DEC)
Visit the publications page to see published products from our completed research projects. For work not yet in publication form, graduate theses. progress reports and other relevant links are provided below.
Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation
Despite billions of dollars being invested in the global network of protected areas as a primary vehicle for biodiversity conservation, the value of protected areas in stemming local species losses or facilitating species range shifts over time is little known. Our team investigated the effect of protected areas on local colonization and extinction rates for 97 avian species across 20 years of climate and land use change across New York and Pennsylvania.
Chacoan peccary are endemic to the
Dry Chaco ecoregion, where they are endangered by habitat loss (deforestation) and overharvest. Our team investigated these threats to Chacoan peccary persistence, as well as assessed the status of their populations, in and around the Defensores Del Chaco National Park, Paraguay. See the results of this study in the M.S. thesis below.
Photo credit: Silvia Saldivar Bellassai
Coyotes colonized NY State in the 1920s and today are the largest and most widespread canine predator around, potentially exerting a large influence on competitor and prey populations. Our team has been investigating coyote foraging ecology, in particular coyote predation on deer and dietary overlap with native mesocarnivores.
Photo credit: Scott Smith