National Capital UWIN

We are fortunate to work closely with colleagues across 25 cities through a multi-city urban biodiversity monitoring network called the Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN). We run a long-term array of study sites across the Washington, D.C. region. Together with other UWIN partners we have amassed the world’s largest urban wildlife dataset. This network and study design is not taxa specific and facilitates long-term cross-institution collaborations. Datasets at this temporal and spatial scale allow us to study a diverse set of novel and challenging urban ecology topics, such as metapopulation and metacommunity dynamics, human-wildlife interactions, and habitat connectivity.

Ecological processes in urban ecosystems

Ecological processes continue to operate within densely built, urban landscapes. However, urban ecosystems have unique characteristic compared to their more rural counterparts. Therefore, ecological theories and principles derived from more natural ecosystems may not be generalizable in urban environments. Through our research we hope to better understand fundamental ecological processes in urban ecosystems (e.g., species distribution functioning, species-habitat relationships, and population and community dynamics). In this space we work on applied projects such as metacommunity and metapopulation dynamics, scale dependent species-habitat relationships, novel fear and risk dynamics, and spatial planning and prioritization of green infrastructure in cities.

Behavioral adaptation of urban species

While cities are not typically built with wild flora and fauna in mind, they do contain important habitats and some wildlife species are adapting and persisting in urban ecosystems. Understanding how species adapt to these urban environments is an important endeavors to enhance coexistence and conserve species. In an effort to understand how species adapt to urban environments, we are assessing boldness and exploratory behaviors in urban coyotes and raccoons using a novel object study design. The information generated from this project will inform management decisions pertaining to human-wildlife coexistence.