Projects

In this section, we give some brief descriptions of some group projects that involve Dan and/or other lab members. However, this is not at all an exhaustive list of projects going on in the lab right now. Please see the sections on each lab member to read more about other projects.

Recovery planning and endangered species management

Dan and Allison Louthan, along with multiple other researchers (including Vickie Bakker, former postdoc, and Bill Morris, collaborator on other projects) organized a workshop in 2012 to make recommendations on how to improve the biological basis for recovery criteria under the US Endangered Species Act. This led to publishing a paper in 2015 (Doak et al. in Bioscience) that analyzes the issues with more or less rigorous ways to define and analyze endangered species status. This work is also part of a large, long strand of work in the lab that is about specific and general issues with rare species management and population viability analysis (see Dan’s publications). Also, various lab members are or have recently worked on particular rare species issues. In particular, Reilly Dibner, Allison Louthan, and Dan are currently completing a five year student of an extremely rare endemic plant of central Wyoming, Yermo xanthoocephalus.

Range Limits and Demography of Arctic/Alpine Plants

A long term collaboration between Bill Morris and Dan is to study how demography of two wide-spread tundra plants is shaped by climate and what these effects indicate about how climate change will alter range limits. This project involves annual field work from Alaska to New Mexico. In addition, we have started to collaborate with European researchers to monitor one of our species across sites spanning a similar range of latitudes in Europe. Doak and Morris 2010 and a recent popular article explain more about this project. Current grad student Nathalie Chardon is also conducting her dissertation work on one of the two focal species for this project.

Condors

This is a multifaceted project led by two former postdocs in the lab (Myra Finkelstein, now at UC Santa Cruz and Vickie Bakker, now at Montana State). Dan is involved in this work, as well as Alex Rose (the CU Museum of Natural History), Holly Copeland (The Nature Conservancy, Wyoming) and Dai Shizuka (Univ. of Nebraska). The overall goal is to assess the short and long term viability of the reintroduced California Condor population in California, and to understand how management methods and anthropogenic threats will influence the fate of these birds. Some of the early work on this project was published in Finkelstein et al. 2012. We are now pursuing issues that relate behavior and movement to exposure to different contaminants, as well as a citizen science initiative to better understand the social behavior of condors and how it influences success in the wild (Condor Watch).

Modelling approaches group project

A current group project that involves all the lab members is a simulation study of the advantages and disadvantages of using different demographic modeling methods. In particular, we are comparing different approaches to the parameterization of both population matrix and IPM demography models, and then the use of the two model types to predict dynamics.