Christopher Schell, Professor

Closed (1) Coyotes, cities, and conflict: Using animal movement and community science to pinpoint conflict hotspots

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Human-carnivore conflict is a major issue around the world. In many urban spaces, coyotes (Canis latrans) have increased their tolerance of people and human-dominated spaces, while also facing threats from anthropogenic contaminants. This project will use multidisciplinary and participatory data sources to understand human-coyote interactions across California - particularly in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Specifically, we will be answering the following questions:

1. Where do coyotes choose to move and reside in relation to human factors (such as infrastructure, building density, human population density) and ecological factors (such as vegetation greenness and availability, vegetation structure)?
2. Where do coyotes choose to move and reside in relation to human sociocultural factors, and how can these patterns be used to predict human-coyote conflict hotspots?
3. Are coyotes with high levels of exposure to anticoagulant rodenticide using landscapes differently than coyotes with lower levels of exposure?

Using multidisciplinary and participatory data sources (such as GPS collar data, camera trap data, citizen scientist and community input, remotely sensed data, etc.) will help us to gain a holistic and nuanced understanding of how coyotes and people are interacting and how they may successfully share landscapes in the future.

The primary set of tasks will include 1) curating and cleaning existing ecological, infrastructure, and sociocultural data, and associating these with existing data on coyote movement and presence; 2) developing basic coyote home range analyses and visualizations; 3) compiling and cleaning human dimensions data for use in analyses on human-coyote conflict and interactions.
Other tasks may include field work and sorting through camera trap images.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Dr. Christine Wilkinson, Post-Doc

Qualifications: Applicants should be interested in wildlife ecology and movement, as well as the social aspects of wildlife conservation. Applicants should have an excitement to learn about multidisciplinary methods. Required skills: Applicants should have some experience with the basics of ArcGIS Pro/ArcMap or another GIS software, competence in Microsoft Excel, an ability to work independently, an eye for detail, and patience with some repetitive tasks. Desirable additional skills: experience with remote sensing, experience with R.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

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