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January 21, 2021

12:00pm Zoom Webinar

Kaitlyn Gaynor
University of California, Santa Barbara

" Sharing Space on a Crowded Planet: Spatiotemporal Responses of Large Mammals to Human Disturbance "

Co-Sponsored with UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics


Given the ongoing loss of biodiversity and the expansion of the global human footprint, it is critical and urgent to understand the role of humans in ecological communities. Human presence and infrastructure can instill fear in wild animals, which may adjust their behavior to mitigate perceived risk. As in natural predator-prey systems, such risk avoidance can have important non-lethal effects on animal demography and distribution, and initiate trophic cascades. In this talk, I will discuss how approaches from behavioral and community ecology can inform our understanding of animal responses to human disturbance. Drawing on meta-analyses and field studies from Mozambique and California, I will demonstrate how animals adjust their activity in space and time to balance risk-foraging trade-offs in human-modified landscapes. I will also discuss collaborative research efforts to elucidate broader connections between ecosystems and society, which link the fates of human and non-human animals. I will reflect on how this interdisciplinary research program can advance our knowledge of ecological and socio-ecological processes while informing strategies for just, effective conservation and human-wildlife coexistence on an increasingly crowded planet.

Host: Shane Campbell-Staton