Integrating Camera Trap, Visual, and Dung Survey Data


Accurate estimations of animal populations are necessary for management, conservation, and policy decisions. However, methods for surveying animal communities disproportionately represent specific groups or guilds. We present a modelling framework that both compares and integrates field-collected dung, visual, and camera trap data to more robustly estimate animal populations in data-scarce environments.

How to Estimate the Gut Passage Time of Wild Forest Elephants

In Review

Knowledge of gut passage time is essential for understanding vertebrate-mediated ecological processes like seed dispersal. We apply and compare three novel methods -- modified seeds, colored plastic pellets, and Thermocron temperature logging iButtons -- to estimate the gut passage time in wild forest elephants for the first time.

Exploring the Unacknowledged Dimension of Habitat Variability

In Press, Ecological Monographs (2019)

Highly-variable, synchronous seed production in forests provides a pulsed resource that both supports and destabilizes food webs. We provide a model that combines knowledge of consumer life histories with the emergent space-time covariance structure of fruit and seed production to assess the ability of habitats to provide for important consumer groups.

Long Term Effects of Low-Intensity Logging on Seed Dispersal

Annals of Botany, Plants (2018)

Low intensity logging has been proposed as a sustainable solution for timber harvesting in the tropics, but long-term alterations in seed dispersal may have big effects on community composition and ecosystem function.

Forest Elephant Extirpation Will Transform African Forests

Conservation Biology (2018)

Large herbivores like forest elephants might be the only thing keeping Afrotropical forests from turning into the Neotropics, and they're headed for extinction.

The Joint Responses of Growth and Survival to Adversity

American Journal of Primatology (2015)

We've long suspected that later-born infants fare better than first-born siblings, but 34 years of macaque survival data suggests otherwise.

Online Tools

credit: Josef Kellndorfer, NASA

How Much Carbon Will America's Future Forests Hold?

Warm, dry conditions are causing established forests to move away from historical ranges and into formerly inhospitable terrain. What will that mean for America's carbon sequestering future? See for yourself with an interactive map.

Ongoing Projects and Collaborations

Seed Dispersal Dynamics and Masting Events

  • Developing a state-space model that joins seed rain data from the Eastern US and Google Earth Engine environmental covariates to describe ecological causes and consequences of masting events. (NASA)
  • Developing theoretical model that integrates animal behavior, evolutionary ecology and life history theory to understand how pulsed resources mediate the spatio-temporal structure of consumer populations. (NSF)
  • Comparing ecological and climatological predictors of mast seeding in different biomes. (NSF)

Seed Disperser Behavior and Conservation

  • Estimating and implementing sampling effort in species distribution models using Ebird citizen scientist observer data. (NASA)
  • Assessing social, ecological, and economic drivers of bushmeat market species composition in Gabon. (US Fish and Wildlife/Parcs Gabon)
  • Comparing relative time, cost, and biases of camera trap, visual transect, and dung survey data for estimating community composition. (US Fish and Wildlife/Parcs Gabon)
  • Modelling forest elephant seed dispersal and evaluating the consequences of differential dispersal by animal sex, site and homerange. (Duke Bass Connections)
  • Describing the ecological and social drivers of forest elephant aggregations using remote sensing and genetic data. (National Geographic)

Community Composition and Global Change

  • Creating an open-source workflow providing predicted species distributions for plants, small mammals, and beetles at all sites in the National Ecological Observatory Network. (NASA)
  • Quantifying community sensitivities to climate and disturbance in Congo. (NSF GRF)
  • Predicting tree species composition in Gabon's forests using climate records, remote sensing, and future climate predictions. (NSF GRF)
  • Comparing community resilience to climate change in ecologically analogous, but evolutionarily distinct communities in Europe and North America. (NSF)