population ecology of urban white-footed mice
Peromyscus spp. have been a model system in population ecology for the last century because they occur in virtually all North American habitats, are relatively abundant and easy to trap, and are important trophic players as seed predators and prey. However, no study to date has examined their population dynamics in the urban core. In 2012, we are establishing a trapping grid in the Thain Family Forest at the New York Botanical Garden that will be used to examine population dynamics of urban white-footed mice for several years to come. The NYBG has one of the most dense populations of white-footed mice in the city, but it is unknown whether these urban populations exhibit the same cycles and respond to the same ecological factors as non-urban populations. This trapping grid will also be useful as the base for several future studies, such as the ecology of mouse-borne diseases and examination of gene expression in urban environments.
monitoring the establishment and dispersal of coyotes in the nyc metropolitan area
Coyotes (Canis latrans) have established breeding populations in southern NY state, and are currently dispersing into NYC. We are working with a team of CUNY Ph.D. students (Linda Gormezano, Mark Weckel), a recent graduate (Chris Nagy) and others (Scott Silver, WCS) to investigate these emerging populations and their dispersal through the urban landscape. We are using camera trapping to monitor known locations and document the spread of coyotes to new areas. We have been assisting with logistical matters and field work, but our main roles are 1) contributing to landscape connectivity models, and 2) lending expertise and material support to future genetic analyses of relatedness among coyotes.