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My thesis:
Indictors of stress and reproduction for management considerations in abundant deer and endangered ferrets

My research aims to identify potential indicators of fitness to inform and promote evolutionarily enlightened management practices. I use non-invasive laboratory and field-based assays to examine behavioral and physiological traits in two intensively managed North American wildlife species: black-footed ferrets and white-tailed deer.

Below are major findings from my research along with other published works of mine.

How do urban cities sustain so many wildlife species?

Understanding what environmental or anthropogenic variables impact wildlife health and survival will aid in facilitating human-wildlife-coexistence

White-tailed deer in Chicago experience chronic nutritional stress when unmanaged, shown by a novel hair medium used to monitor cortisol, a stress-associated hormone

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How can we encourage natural behaviors of ex situ wildlife? 

It's imperative we promote and maintain natural behaviors of wildlife in captive settings. Foraging and reproductive behaviors are necessary for survival but can also represent indicators of an animal's current psychological state. Pair these with physiological and morphological indicators to fully "talk to the animals" and see what they need.

The endangered black-footed ferret can discern odor cues from potential mates, spending more time sniffing dirty soiled bedding from future suitors. Yet they don't get this opportunity - this behavior is especially important for reproductively active individuals. 

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How does human hunting influence the acclimation and adaptions of wildlife? 

We provide conceptual frameworks for how hunting and harvesting species influences behavioral changes in prey, induces subsequent evolutionary changes, and can drive indirect emergent properties that influence other species or whole ecosystems

These human induced evolutionary changes can be useful behavioral indicators for conservation and management, can inform behaviorally and evolutionarily enlightened management strategies, and provide a mirror into our own socio-economic circumstances

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