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A Nose for Wildlife Conservation

Q&A with wildlife ecologist and conservationist Jonathan Derbridge

BY ANGELO LAVO

Jonathan Derbridge
Now a doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona, Jonathan Derbridge earned his master’s degree at the University of Montana. (Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Derbridge)

“When it comes to sniffing out wolf scats and hairs in the wild, I’m the guy to call,” said University of Arizona doctoral candidate Jonathan Derbridge. As a master of science candidate and Boone and Crockett Fellow at the University of Montana, Derbridge spent the 2007 and 2008 summer seasons studying poop and tissue samples from 12 Montana wolf packs. He sought to uncover the impact that their diets have on prey populations, an effort grounded in conservation principles. In general, he found that wolves ate more moose than anticipated, but wolf packs across the territory had diverse consumption habits. This study developed a valuable method for game managers to implement in population management. Continue reading “A Nose for Wildlife Conservation”

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The Third Desert Tortoise

BY MICHAELA WEBB

An interview with Taylor Edwards about Gopherus evgoodei

Dr. Taylor Edwards holds a Sonoran-type tortoise (Gopherus morafkai), which is a sister species to G. evgoodei. (Photograph courtesy of Taylor Edwards)
Dr. Taylor Edwards holds a Sonoran-type tortoise (Gopherus morafkai), which is a sister species to G. evgoodei. (Photograph courtesy of Taylor Edwards)

While some scientists spend their days in labs under the glare of fluorescent lights, Dr. Taylor Edwards spends many of his days searching for tortoises. Between 2006 and 2012, he and his team encountered Africanized bees and scorching summer temperatures as they collected genetic and morphological data on tortoises. Their research project resulted in the designation of a third species of desert tortoise, Gopherus evgoodei, in northern Mexico. A paper published in February 2016 in ZooKeys describes their findings. Continue reading “The Third Desert Tortoise”

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