Research

A selection of research done in partnership with our students, faculty, and community partners

Research projects of Dr. Natalie Dawson, Director of the Wilderness Institute

My current research focuses on the biogeography of carnivores on islands along the North Pacific Coast of North America. I am looking at potential reasons for the recent decline of pine marten (Martes americana and Martes caurina) on several islands in southeast Alaska. I am also interested in understanding the influences of climatic fluctuations on these island populations. Together with other researchers at the United States Geological Survey and the University of New Mexico, we are trying to understand the influence of past glaciations on the biogeographic distributions of mammals across Beringia, the large, formerly ice-free corridor that connected contemporary Eurasia with North America.  Hopefully, our understanding of past climatic changes, and biological response to these changes, will help us understand what will happen in the uncertain future.