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Dr. Dan Thornton's Mammal Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab

CURRENT RESEARCH

CANADA LYNX CONSERVATION

I am currently working on building a better understanding of lynx populations in Washington State and how they may potentially respond to climate and land cover change. This work includes extensive field work in Washington to examine lynx distribution, density, and interactions with other carnivores, and to develop a methodology for large-scale, long-term monitoring of lynx in the state. I am also working on transboundary coordination with Canadian partners to improve cross-border collaboration and integration of datasets. As part of this work, I am collaborating with Trent University on a project in southern BC that seeks to understand cross-border movement and connectivity of lynx. This work is being funded by NSF, USFWS, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Conservation Northwest, and Washington State University.

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SPATIAL ANALYSES TO IMPROVE CONSERVATION OUTCOMES ACROSS BORDERS

I am also involved in several large-scale spatial analyses to improve conservation planning for carnivores, including:

  • evaluating the usefulness of a range-wide jaguar conservation plan (complete, see publications in Biological Conservation and Ecological Applications in 2016)
  • documenting discrepancies in cross border protection of carnivores and other species within the Americas – see 2018 publication in Conservation Letters
  • examining distribution of protected areas in the Americas, and how that informs transborder conservation
  • As part of work funded by USFWS Wildlife Without Borders program, I am working to integrate datasets across multiple partners to develop distribution models of white-lipped and collared peccaries across the countries of Mesoamerica

IMPROVING SURVEY TECHNIQUES FOR CARNIVORES AND OTHER MAMMALS

  • In Chiapas and Tabasco region of Mexico we are testing the utility of interviews as a means to generate reliable data on jaguar distribution by comparing interview-based and field-based datasets. This work is supported by the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Jaguar Research Program and Panthera.
  • I am also developing work to examine response of jaguars and large mammal communities to disturbance in the Maya Biosphere Reserve using camera trapping and line transect sampling.
  • Two current projects seek to use and validate recently developed techniques to generate density estimates of unmarked animals. We are applying these approaches with deer and snowshoe hare in Washington

 

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OTHER PROJECTS

Other projects include:

  • Use of large-scale datasets of vertebrate occurrence in central Argentina to develop distribution models
  • Examination of puma density within Argentina – see Plos One publication in 2017
  • Jaguar connectivity in northern Honduras
  • Meta-analysis of patch occupancy patterns of Neotropical mammals