Human Influence is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across most landscapes in North America, forcing wildlife to adapt to ever-changing situations in order to persist. In this light, it is critical that scientists understand how wildlife behavior and distribution is affected by human influence. Recent research suggests that wildlife adapt to human influence in different ways, largely based on evolutionary taxonomy and life history characteristics, highlighting how interspecific variation in human influence response leads to differences in wildlife community structure across a wild to urban gradient. However, there is little work done on how individual species' responses to human influence vary across major life stages (e.g., when raising young vs. when dispersing to new environments). Therefore, in this study, we will investigate how species use their environment in different life stages. Specifically, we will elucidate what elements of the environment are utilized at different stages of life and whether or not species responses to human influence change as they raise young. We will do this by comparing the distribution and habitat preferences of lone-adult vs. young-raising individuals, discovering the difference between the environments. We hypothesize that species distributions and habitat preferences, including responses to human influence factors, will vary across life stages. We predict that the presence of juveniles will make species more likely to avoid areas of higher risk, like areas rich with human development and recreational activity. This research will highlight the importance of studying wildlife during different life stages, making it possible for wildlife managers to better understand what elements of an environment that are critical to juvenile development.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Austin Green