THE COALBOURN CHARITABLE TRUST have generously awarded me a grant to assist with the development and undertaking of foraging experiments to investigate how inter-specific interactions between both wolves and mesopredators, as well as wolves and prey species are affected by context. This generous donation has made the expansion of the project possible and we now have some exciting investigation directions and field experiments planned for the summer. :)
So I have some pretty exciting news that I thought it time to share.
I recently began working as a graduate teaching assistant at Bangor University (UK) where I am now also conducting my PhD research. As you can imagine I am incredibly pleased and excited about the appointment. I will be expanding my work in Croatia and will now be able to give the research the time it deserves. This is great news for the research which will now have a great deal more support. The core focus of the research has remained the same and I will have the opportunity to widen the study, collecting more data and asking more questions. I will also be enjoying my involvement teaching students in the school of Biological Science.
“Is the impact of apex predator’s context dependent? Examining landscapes of fear and interspecific interactions with the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) in human dominated landscapes”
Large carnivore decline and trophic downgrading is a common occurrence and something of great concern worldwide 1. The impacts of world-wide predator decline and the relative importance of direct and indirect species interactions have been highlighted as fundamental ecological questions 2. Caution has been expressed in seeing wolves as ecological saviours because ecosystem services may not always apply or may be inhibited by anthropogenic activity 3. It is important to understand how the impacts of apex predators are shaped by this variable context and if this context can be manipulated to achieve management goals.
A key question is, whether the wolf’s impact on the use of space and time by other species is consistent and constant regardless of context. This study aims to improve understanding of spatio-temporal partitioning between wolves, ungulates (prey), mesopredators (kleptoparasites) and humans (competitors/predators). Interspecific interactions with the grey wolf will be examined in three geographic regions of Croatia (high, moderate and low human disturbance). We will use GPS technology and motion activated cameras alongside traditional field studies to gain insight into how behaviour and interspecific interactions are affected by context. Knowledge gained will inform management decisions and conservation efforts.
1 Estes, J. et al. Trophic downgrading of planet earth. Science 333, 301-306, doi:10.1126/science.1205106 (2011).
2 Sutherland, W. J. et al. Identification of 100 fundamental ecological questions. J Ecol 101, 58-67, doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12025 (2013).
3 Mech, L. Is science in danger of sanctifying the wolf? Biol Conserv 150, 143–149, doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2012.03.003 (2012).
Happy wolf awareness week everyone.
Last week saw the international wolf symposium where professor Kusak presented a preliminary report on our findings in Croatia. The abstract can be viewed on page 47 of the 2013_International Wolf_Symposium_programme
For those on a quest for wolf knowledge and discussions with friends and colleagues this week, here’s a list of links to get you started.
A great infographic blog about american wolf recovery by Defenders of Wildlife
A short wolf info page by national Geographic
For those of you with google translate the life project page for the Croatian wolf project.
The IUCN canids specialist publications page
And let’s not forget our domestic sub-species of wolves, the dog, here’s a great range of information leaflets on dog care by the blue cross.
And don’t forget the publications section of the blog for a few articles from me :)
I hope everyone has a great week!
I am very pleased to announce that me and professor Kusak have had our presentation proposal accepted for the 2013 International Wolf Symposium in Duluth, Minnesota. We have a lot of work to get done in the meantime but it is so great to have a nice goal to aim for and we look forward to sharing our findings.
After a long absence without being located, Tona was thankfully found again recently. She is wearing a tracking collar that is collecting valuable data on her movements and her activity. The data was successfully downloaded in the field via a handheld device when within transmission range of her collar. We look forward to analysing this information and discovering what she has been up to for the past several months. An exciting development is that Tona is not alone and was spotted with 3 other wolves by Professor Kusak.
The latest Wolf print is out. This time my article is about the development of wolf pups. I hope you enjoy it.
The Wildlife society have released some video’s from their conference presentations. Here’s a link to a 2012 presentation by my American colleague Suzanne Stone. The presentation is about the past 5 years of work conducted on the wood river wolf project by defenders of wildlife. I worked on the project in 2011 and was very glad to be able to contribute to this fantastic work.
I finally managed to get the time to update the past projects section and organise some of the highlights from my time working in Bulgaria. I hope you enjoy them.