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Research Overview

My research interests are generally related to understanding how wildlife populations respond to environmental change, and the ecological, conservation, and management implications of those responses. As such, research performed by my lab is grounded in ecological theory and is largely empirical, combining field experiments, observational studies, long-term cross-sectional and longitudinal datasets, and development of quantitative approaches. A particular area of research we focus on is the development and application of statistical models for estimating animal abundance, occurrence, survival, resource selection, and species interactions. A key question of interest is how individuals, populations, and ecological communities respond to changes in resource availability across environmental gradients under changing habitat and climate conditions.

The Quantitative Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Lab focuses on both applied and basic research, with a current emphasis on three complimentary themes:

  1. Population and behavioral ecology.
  2. Species interactions and cascading effects.
  3. Development of novel field sampling and analytical techniques to inform wildlife management and conservation.

Current Research Projects


Effects of brown bears on black bear occupancy and abundance on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska: scaling spatially explicit simultaneous genetic tagging data to habitat heterogeneity using 2-species occupancy and spatial capture-recapture                 

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Location: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Chugach National Forest, Alaska

Funding source: Dr. Manning’s startup (WSU CAHNRS Office of Research) and USFWS Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Collaborator: Dr. John Morton).

Summary: This study will use 2-species conditional occupancy and spatial capture-recapture modeling to estimate the effects of brown bears on black bear occupancy and abundance across 11,700 km² of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Chugach National Forest, Alaska. It expands upon the work of J. Morton, G. White, G. Hayward, D. Paetkau, and M. Bray (2016), uses simultaneous, systematic genetic tagging of both black and brown bears, and is intended to further our knowledge of the role brown bears play in shaping the spatial distribution and habitat partitioning of subdominant black bears in this heterogeneous Alaska system.

Graduate student: Cullen Anderson


 


Scaling up from individuals to populations: integrating spatial ecology with multi-locus environmental DNA to improve detection and estimate population parameters

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Location: Continental United States

Funding source: Department of Defense.

Summary: Dr. Manning is a Co-PI on this collaborative study led by Dr. Caren Goldberg (PI) that will integrate spatial ecology and eDNA to estimate population parameters. This novel study will build upon the previous eDNA work from Dr. Goldberg’s WSU eDNA Lab (https://labs.wsu.edu/goldberglab/). Additional details coming soon …



Modeling environmental factors affecting the frequency of wildlife-vehicle collisions

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Location: Methow Valley, Washington 

Funding source: Washington State Department of Transportation (Collaborator: Piper Petit) and USDA
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire-Stennis project.

Summary: Details coming soon …


 


Avian responses to multi-state habitat components in restored and natural riparian systems in the Kern River Preserve

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Location: Weldon, California

Funding source: Southern Sierra Research Station (Collaborator: Mary Whitfield)

Summary: Details coming soon …

Graduate student: Amanda Crandall



Monitoring demography of a newly discovered Mojave Desert tortoise population

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Location: United Nation’s Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve

Funding source: The Desert Tortoise Council

Summary: Details coming soon …



Estimating biodiversity across vegetation gradients in the United Nation’s Valle de Los Cirios Biosphere Reserve

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Location: Baja, Mexico

Funding source: JiJi Foundation and ICF-International Community Foundation.

Summary: Details coming soon …