Increasing rigor in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of ecological data
We’re always finding ourselves working with great people on exciting projects. Here’s a sample of some recent collaborations:
Desert tortoise: Seth is currently developing a multi-year, multi-method occupancy model to identify landscape features associated with desert tortoise occurrence in the eastern Mojave desert. This is a novel and cutting-edge statistical model Seth is developing from scratch that will leverage the sparse information on desert tortoise occupancy and it will have wide utility for other cryptic or highly-mobile species with high survival and/or territoriality.
Columbian sharp-tailed grouse: Seth spent time last winter contributing the statistical analysis portion of a project looking at sharp-tailed grouse hen and nest survival in CRP land versus native sagebrush steppe.
Kirtland’s warbler: Seth just wrapped up an analysis of point count data for endangered Kirtland’s warbler using unmarked N-mixture models to quantify detection rates and density of singing male warblers as a function of forest stand type. These results may identify new opportunities for conservation of Kirtland’s warbler breeding habitat.
Oil well pad restoration: Seth recently completed analysis of a restoration design study for abandoned oil well pads in Michigan. The focus was on identifying pre-planting treatments and tree species that maximize survival and growth of planted seedlings.
Landscape disturbance models: Seth is part of a team that developed and is testing the performance of distance and density-based landscape disturbance models to evaluate the relationship between cumulative human disturbances and greater sage-grouse populations and wetland and upland vegetation communities.
Custom R code: We were contracted to develop custom R code to automatically process hundreds of complicated GPS location text files and convert them to shapefiles. This will form the basis of upcoming analyses on spatio-temporal contact rates of hunters and white-tailed deer.
Greater sage-grouse: We are currently working on a meta-analysis of greater sage-grouse occurrence and fitness in relation to roads, particularly unpaved roads, to better understand inconsistent findings in the literature and provide guidance for land management.
Water quality: We have provided ongoing analysis and support on projects monitoring dissolved metals in surface and ground water to maximize the rigor of water quality monitoring projects in the Northern Rockies. In addition to conducting data analysis, our role was providing guidance on the most appropriate statistical tests to answer monitoring questions and explaining the inference that follows from the sampling design and data analysis.
Amphibian detection and abundance: Seth is analyzing survey data for amphibians in permanent forest pools in Illinois to estimate the detection probability and relative abundance of each species as a function of habitat type.
Migratory bird surveys: We regularly conduct field surveys to locate and monitor migratory bird nests as part of watershed-level cleanup of contamination from historic mining in the Northern Rockies.
White-tailed deer: We are providing ongoing advice on statistical analysis and interpretation with a study looking at how white-tailed deer behavior and movement is influenced by hunter density in Oklahoma.
Landscape types and breeding leks: Seth Harju presented a paper titled “Newly discovered greater sage-grouse leks: an analysis of multiple lek-supporting landscape types” at the annual meeting of the Idaho Chapter of The Wildlife Society in March, 2014. The talk described how, while investigating the likely origin of newly-discovered leks, Seth unexpectedly found that there were actually three distinct landscape types that supported sage-grouse breeding leks in Wyoming.
White-tailed deer body mass: Seth is part of a research team that just published a paper exploring environmental and innate sources of inter-individual variation in the body mass of white-tailed deer over two decades in Oklahoma.
Grouse reintroduction: We recently provided statistical and research oversight to a GIS-based study identifying suitable locations for reintroduction of sharp-tailed grouse to previously inhabited range in Washington and Idaho.
Legumes and grasses: We recently consulted on statistical analysis for a germination study of cool and warm season legumes and annual and perennial cool season grasses to identify optimal growing conditions in Oklahoma.
Complex habitats: Seth Harju presented a paper titled “Characterizing important seasonal habitat using community gradients: occurrence and success of greater sage-grouse broods” at the annual meeting of the Idaho Chapter of The Wildlife Society in March, 2013. The paper uses a multivariate approach to investigate how assemblages of vegetation and insects collectively function as habitat for sage-grouse broods in Wyoming.
Landscape connectivity: Seth Harju presented a paper titled “Generalized functional connectivity for animal populations” at the national meeting of The Wildlife Society in October 2012 in Portland, Oregon. The topic was describing a more flexible approach to assessing landscape connectivity, using data from greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Wyoming.