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The George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University
Fear, Parental Behavior, and Community Structure of Wildlife in Residential Lands
In an urbanizing world, residential lands provide an opportunity for conserving biodiversity right in our own backyards. Identifying the ecological mechanisms underlying patterns of backyard wildlife populations and communities requires novel experimental approaches. In this presentation,Dr. Aaron Grade will discuss one such mechanism: fear. Dr. Grade investigated the cascading effects of fear on bird behavior and nest success with a predator playback experiment across an urbanization gradient in western Massachusetts. Camera trap sampling revealed that mammals, which are potential predators, varied in species richness and composition in surprising ways across the urban gradient. Can we manage our backyards for wildlife communities and populations, or are certain species filtered out at the landscape scale? As urban development is predicted to accelerate, conservation of the world’s biodiversity hinges on a deeper understanding of wildlife’s relationship to human-dominated habitats.