Researchers: Madeleine Zuercher, Greg Grether, and Debra Shier
Summary: I am studying competition and behavioral interactions among carnivores in the Santa Monica Mountains. The mesocarnivore assemblage here includes ringtails, foxes, skunks, coyotes, and bobcats. There is little documentation about mesocarnivore ecology in this area aside from road mortalities. Additionally, this reserve is surrounded by residential areas where invasive carnivores like domestic dogs can affect native species. To determine how dogs affect the ecology and behaviors of native gray foxes, I will use camera traps and experimentally present dog cues (urine). The camera trap data will give us valuable information about each fox activity and behaviors. The dog cue experiments will provide insight into how foxes react to the perceived presence of an invasive carnivore. This work will improve our understanding of carnivore competition and how invasive species affect the system. I will compare data between cues (urine vs water control) and between site types (dogs permitted vs not permitted).