Keith monitoring readings at the weather station.
Foraging patterns of migratory caribou can conflict with the development of roads, mines and oil fields. Caribou populations can also vary widely in number and distribution with natural changes in the environment among years and seasons. Lindsay Van Someren and Keith Oster completed their MS degrees in wildlife by studying forage abundance and quality for Alaskan caribou in their summer ranges with support from the Boone & Crockett program. The work was a collaboration with The US Geological Survey on lands managed by the State of Alaska, Bureau of Land Management and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Lindsay now works as a science writer. Keith works as a biologist for the State of Alaska on caribou, moose, and muskoxen. Read more.
Photo courtesy of Dan Thompson.
Dan Thompson graduated from the doctoral program Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M with support from the Boone & Crockett Program. Dan also works as a biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at the Moose Research Center, which is located in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Moose are tracked with satellite collars after they are captured by darting from helicopters. The chase and the immobilization procedure affect the ability of the moose to regulate their body temperatures for over 24 hrs. Dan’s work is being used to modify capture protocols. The data from collared moose are being used to map habitat that not only provides enough food for moose but also provides relief from hot summer temperatures.
Jeff with bison collecting data. Photo courtesy of Jeff Martin.
Jeff Martin recently completed his doctoral studies in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M with support from the Boone & Crockett Program. Jeff uses thermal images to monitor the body sizes of bison. Warming temperatures across the Great Plains appear to be reducing the size and productivity of bison herds. Jeff’s research is being used to predict the social and economic consequences of shrinking bison populations on private and public lands.
Jeff’s featured work in the Western Bison Association’s Fall Newsletter.
Bridgett collecting insects off the back of a moose. Image courtesy of Dan Thompson, Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Moose vs. Insects Project
Bridgett Downs Benedict is completing her doctoral studies in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M with support from the Boone & Crockett Program. Bridgett is studying the costs of biting insects on moose. Bridgett spent the summer in Alaska at the Kenai Moose Research Center where she collected insects and monitored moose via thermal imaging and salivary cortisol analysis, testing for stress caused by biting insects.
Bridgett was recently featured by Alaska Fish & Wildlife News.
Kaylee worked with hunters to sample 305 deer during the study.
White-tailed Deer Project
Kaylee Hollingsworth is completing her master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M with support from the Boone & Crockett Program. Kaylee’s study tracks the supply of trace minerals such as copper, which is critical for herd health. Kaylee worked with hunters to collect liver samples from white-tailed deer at 12 sites over 3 seasons to assess variation in trace mineral stores. We found that copper was deficient in some areas, which may predispose those populations to disease outbreaks and rapid declines in number.
Students after presenting their capstone project in 2019.
Seven students completed a consulting capstone project on wildlife conservation for the Boone & Crockett Program as part of the Master of Public Service and Administration program at the Bush School of Government in 2019. Greg Connell, Adria Escobedo, Courtney Guillen, K.C. Kim, Robert Ladrimault, Kaitlyn Malec, and Andie Parnell were advised by Dr. Blease Graham (Bush School) and Dr. Perry Barboza (Boone & Crockett Program). The team worked on finding a reliable method for raising $20M/year for the State of Texas to match a proposed expansion in federal funding from the Pittman Robertson Fund. In 2019-2020, ten students completed a follow-up study on this topic: Taimoor Alvi, Colton Haffey, Mary Huddleston, Emily Parks, Bill Prieto, Austin Reed, Hamza Sadiq, Carolyn Smith, Matthew Vatthauer, Maheen Zahid.