Advisor: Lisette Waits
Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences
I am interested in the community interactions that drive predator and prey population abundances, and how these processes are affected by human-induced environmental changes. My approach is to merge ecological theory with applied ecology to better inform the management of ecological systems. I view molecular techniques and non-invasive genetic sampling as important tools and look to apply these methods in novel ways to the study of population and community ecology.
I am currently studying the predators of caribou and their associated effects in Newfoundland, Canada. Increased calf predation, in conjunction with decreased forage availability, are the likely factors causing a 66% decline in the size of the Newfoundland caribou population over the last 10 years. I am using traditional field methods and molecular tools to estimate black bear and coyote population densities, model the recent colonization of Newfoundland by coyotes, build a model to predict the predator species at caribou calf kill sites, and evaluate the presence of niche specialization within two generalist predators.
Landguth EL, Fedy BC, Oyler-McCance SJ, Garey AL, Emel SL, Mumma M, Wagner HH, Fortin M, Cushman SA. (2012) Effects of sample size, number of markers, and allelic richness on the detection of spatial genetic pattern. Molecular Ecology Resources 12, 276–284.