Upcoming Defense: Randall McBride, a master’s student in the lab, will soon be defending! Randall will defend his research on “Spatial-temporal responses of cow elk to consumptive and non-consumptive hunting risks”. His defense is scheduled on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at 3:30 PM MST. Good luck and congratulations, Randall! View flyer here


Grant Winners: It’s that time of year when NSF announces the recipients of their highly competitive grant, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Four of the lab’s students, Courtney Check, Ronan Hart, Maria Stahl, and Veronica Winter, applied last fall and the results are in. Out of tens of thousands of applicants, Courtney is one of the few 2021 recipients and Maria received an honorable mention. Congratulations to all who applied, and congratulations to Courtney and Maria!


Statistical Seminar: Want to learn more about Integrated Step-Selection Analysis (iSSA)? Brain Smith and Tal Avgar presented a seminar on this method for the Statistical Seminar Series from Ecological Forecasting. Watch the recorded seminar here.


New publication: Beavers are often translocated to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts and to help ecosystem restoration by relying on the beavers’ natural engineering. But what happens to the beavers after translocation, particularly in the desert rivers of Utah? Tal Avgar worked with Emma Doden, Phaedra Budy, and Julie Young to answer this question and more in order to help beaver restoration efforts and identify the best sites for re-location.


New publication: Dani Berger, Ronan Hart, and Tal Avgar, along with collaborators David German, Christian John, and Thomas Stephenson, wanted to understand how Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep decide if and when to migrate from high- to low-elevation ranges. This new research study shows that these bighorn sheep are ‘perceptually-informed’, meaning they make their decisions to migrate based on what they can see from their high vantage points in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


New publication: A new research model from Tal Avgar and Oded Berger-Tal suggests that more optimistic animals make decisions that result in healthier outcomes, more access to food, and are overall more successful foragers.


New publication: Humans build trails and roads to make moving from Point A to Point B easier and faster. Some animals, particularly wolves, use these trails for the same reason. A new study shows that these human-created movement corridors are helping wolves decrease their home range size, thus allowing more wolves to crowd themselves in the region. This increase in wolf density and ease of movement could increase wolf access to caribou, whose populations are already threatened by habitat loss.


Deer Captures: Members of our lab have been helping out the UDWR with deer captures this past week. This work is vital for providing our lab with the spatial data we use for analysis. View the gallery here.


Interview: Tal and Ronan were interviewed about wildlife crossings and how animals behave around barriers. Read the article here.


2021 Publications: It’s been quite a year for publications! If you’re interested in learning about animal cognition and movement, check out this paper. If instead, you’re interested in anomalous diffusion and what it means for single-cell tracking and movement ecology, check out this paper.


Accessible Data and Code: The Wildlife Space-Use Ecology Lab is a big proponent of reproducible science and accessible data. Below are some recently published data and code.

  • Data from “Density-dependent space use affects interpretation of camera trap detection rates” can be accessed here
  • Data from “Moving in the Anthropocene: global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements” can be accessed here
  • Code for “A ‘How-to’ Guide for Interpreting Parameters in Habitat-Selection Analyses” can be accessed here.


Book Reviews: Our lab published not one but TWO book reviews this summer! Dani and John reviewed Species-Habitat Associations: Spatial Data, Predictive Models, and Ecological Insights by Jason Matthiopoulos, John Fieberg, and Geert Aarts. Ronan, Brian, and Veronica reviewed Habitat Ecology and Analysis by Joseph A. Veech. Read those here and here.


Field Site Visit: Tal and Dani visit the Sierra Nevada Mountains for Dani’s PhD research on California Bighorn Sheep. View the gallery here.


New publication: A ‘How‐to’ Guide for Interpreting Parameters in Habitat‐Selection Analyses, by John Fieberg, Johannes Signer, Brian Smith, and Tal Avgar. Published in bioRxiv, Data Repository for U of M, and Journal of Animal Ecology.


Fence modification on Hwy 16 in Northeastern Utah allows pronghorn to access their seasonal migration route. Learn more


PhD assistantship in rangeland ecology at Utah State University under supervision of Dr. Kari E. Veblen and Dr. Tal Avgar


Habitat selection patterns are density-dependent under the Ideal Free Distribution: This MS is now accepted for publication in the Journal of Animal Ecology


I am pleased to announce that the talented Elie Gurarie and I are co-editing a @FrontEcolEvol article collection dedicated to #CognitiveMovementEcology. Check it out, spread the word, and come join the party:


CSTWS Webinar with Dr. Tal Avgar:

10 FAQs in wildlife habitat-selection analysis


Symposium on Animal Movement and the Environment

My talk @AMoveE 2014

Tutorial @AMoveE 2014