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Research Projects

Ungulate Demographics

Mule deer buckOur research group investigates a range of questions on ungulate demographics and parameter estimation.  We have projects working on white-tailed deer in South Dakota, mule deer in Idaho and elk across the northwestern United States.  We work closely with collaborators in state wildlife management agencies to produce research products that are useful for management applications.  We are currently examing methods for bringing multiple data sets together for more robust population modeling.  In doing so we are considering how sampling and non-sampling error can be best handled in the models.  We are also evaluating demographic esitmation methods that put less emphasis on the use of helicopters while maintaining a high quality and management relevant data stream.

Demography of Kittlitz's Murrelet

Zodiac in Ice FloeThe Kittlitz's murrelet is a rare alcid found in Alaska and eastern Russia.  Evidence of population declines sparked interest in the population status and ecology of Kittlitz's murrelet  I collaborate with ecologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service on research examining murrelet population ecology in Icy Bay, Alaska.  We are investigating ecological questions related to survival and reproduction of murrelets as well as implementing population monitoring.  Finally, we are developing integrated population models to link multiple data sources and improve our understanding of murrelet population dynamics

Humpback Whale Collision Avoidance

Reducing collisions between large ships and large whales (ship strikes) is a pressing conservation concern and a prioritized management issue for a number of agencies within the US and globally.  Glacier Bay National Park and adjacent waters is the location of a hotspot for humpback whale feeding aggregations during the summer. Glacier Bay (and southeast Alaska) is also a common summer destination for cruise ships.  In 2010, Humpback Whalenearly 1 million cruise passengers visited Alaska arriving aboard 28 different large cruise ships.  Not surprisingly a number of collisions between whales and ships (mostly cruise ships) has been documented in and near Glacier Bay. Our lab, in collarboration with the National Park Service, is working to better understand whale movement and detectability to develop ways of reducing whale-ship collisions.

Software Development

Statistical developments  in ecology have expanded tremendously in recent decades, in many cases out pacing their applicability for field biologists.  Moreover, many wildlife management agencies Population Projectionpossess large databases containing diverse wildlife data sets that are difficult to coalesce.  Providing user-friendly tools to management biologists that bring the latest statistical concepts to their fingertips can provide substantial improvements in wildlife management.  Our lab develops automated statistical analysis programs for wildlife management agencies to increase the utility of large data sets and reduce the amount of time required to complete those analyses.  Current development projects include ungulate population dynamics modeling, large-scale bird monitoring analyses and mountain lion spatial population modeling.