Our projects span across taxa and biological systems, addressing applied research questions of relevance to agencies, landowners, and the general public. We highlight a few of those current efforts here! More detailed information about these, as well as past projects can be found under the research tab.
Black Bear – Dog Hunting
Hunting black bears with hounds is a long-standing tradition in the southeastern United States and plays a crucial role in population management. Yet, limited information exists about the impact of hound-hunting on black bear behavior, space-use, or demography. Georgia recently offered a new opportunity to harvest black bears with dogs in North Georgia starting in 2019. Since that time, we have been deploying GPS collars on black bears and hunting dogs to better understand how the hunt influences landscape-scale space use by bears, and potentially, human-bear conflicts.
Urban Vs Rural Coyotes
Coyotes have expanded across the southeastern United States since the 1970’s and now are prominent residents of metro areas throughout the state. As part of an international effort, we worked with Georgia DNR to evaluate differences in coyote behavior between rural and urban areas. In total, we deployed 60 cameras across northeast Georgia in March and April of 2020. This data is currently being compiled across sites from North America, and we are anxiously waiting to hear more about the results.
Today, over 80% of the American population reside in human-built urban landscapes. Here in Georgia, 82% of the state’s population live in urban areas. This is most obvious in the 20-county Atlanta regional area which recorded the 4th highest population growth in the country in 2018. This of course poses significant changes to wildlife habitat due to habitat fragmentation, degradation, and loss. We are beginning a large-scale study to better understand the impacts of urbanization on our wildlife populations here in Georgia.
Sage-grouse are a suge-brush obligate of the western U.S. that have declined dramatically throughout their range due to to long-term habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. We have been working with state and federal partners, as well as collaborators at Utah State University to better manage and conserve the species across the state of Utah.