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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 (lead by graduate student Arthur Scully) to examine lynx distribution, density, and interactions with other carnivores, transboundary coordination with Canadian partners to improve cross-border collaboration and integration of datasets, distribution modeling of lynx and other carnivores, and some synthetic analyses of lynx GPS telemetry data. This work is being funded by NSF, Washington Fish and Wildlife, Conservation Northwest, and Washington State University.

climate change

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Forest loss 1

SPATIAL ANALYSES TO IMPROVE CONSERVATION OUTCOMES

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

  • examining the umbrella value of a range-wide jaguar conservation strategy (collaboration with Panthera)
  • evaluating the impact of forest loss on jaguar connectivity and core areas (led by PhD student Peter Olsoy, collaboration with University of Idaho)
  • documenting discrepancies in cross border protection of carnivores and other species within North America (collaboration with University of Washington and Trent University)

IMPROVING SURVEY TECHNIQUES FOR CARNIVORES

I am current working in the Chiapas and Tabasco region of Mexico to examine distribution patterns of jaguars within modeled corridors. 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. We also hope to generate baseline data about connectivity of jaguar populations within this key region of southeastern Mexico. This work is supported by the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Jaguar Research Program and Panthera.

 

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OTHER PROJECTS

Other projects include:

  • Meta-analysis of camera-trapping data from Central America to examine peccary and tapir distribution and response to environmental drivers
  • Use of large-scale datasets of vertebrate occurrence in central Argentina to develop distribution models
  • Examination of puma-livestock conflict within Argentina
  • Meta-analysis of patch occupancy patterns of Neotropical mammals