As human populations continue to expand and fragment critical habitats, the future of many species is increasingly dependent on our collective willingness – and ability – to ensure their survival within a human-dominated landscape. It is crucial, then, that we increase our understanding of wildlife behavior in sub-optimal habitats. The more we know about how animals use less pristine areas and how, ultimately, they survive, the more effective we can be at modeling and designing landscapes that benefit both humans and wildlife.
My research is focused at this intersection of humans and wildlife. Integrating the fields of landscape ecology, wildlife biology, landscape genetics, and biostatistics, I work to understand wildlife use of natural and developed landscapes. My research is defined by two major tenets. The first is to provide spatially-based quantitative analyses to inform applied conservation work. The second is to critically assess, compare, and contrast the current methods used to model wildlife habitat use and movement so that best practices can be identified.
Much of my work is focused on identifying wildlife corridors between populations and protected areas. In the past, I have worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera, modeling corridors for large cats throughout the world. In my role at Panthera, I helped develop the Jaguar Corridor Initiative which has become the largest conservation initiative for any species in the world. With colleagues at University of California, Davis and San Diego State University, I worked to identify wildlife corridors for a suite of species (from wrentit to mountain lion) in Southern California – one of the most heavily developed landscapes in the U.S. The results of this research will be used in conservation and land use planning efforts at the county level, as well as to site wildlife road crossing structures.
I am currently a post-doctoral researcher with the Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit where I am modeling habitat use, movement, and connectivity for black bear and moose in Massachusetts.
I have a B.S. in Biology from Tufts University, a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.