January 23 2019

12:00 Hershey Hall 158

Rachel V. Blakey

Managing Predators in Fire-Prone Landscapes—the Importance of Vegetation Structure


Across the globe, fire regimes are changing, driven by climate change, drought, fire suppression, and human land use alteration, with implications for wildlife and humans. For terrestrial predators, changing fire regimes can create both opportunities and challenges through transformation of habitat structure and shifts in prey availability. While management of high-order predators is often a conservation priority, we have limited understanding of how wildfires and management approaches used to limit them impact these species. In California, as landscapes become increasingly fragmented and fires more frequent, synergistic negative effects may threaten predators and have broader impacts for ecosystems. During the first part of this seminar, I will share some of my past and current work linking vegetation structure and fire to community structure, movement and habitat use of mammalian and avian predators. I will discuss how the use of technologies such as Lidar and high resolution GPS-tracking to address conservation problems have informed management strategies of my project partners in Australia and California. To close the seminar, I will introduce my proposal for the La Kretz Postdoctoral Fellowship in Conservation Science: Effects of severe fire and changing vegetation structure on mountain lions (Puma concolor) in an urbanized landscape. The proposed study will not only inform management of the at-risk population of mountain lions of the Santa Monica Mountains, but will provide much needed insight into the ecology of large carnivores impacted by the dual pressures of increasing high severity fires and urbanization.

Host: Brad Shaffer













































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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