To manage and preserve species, state agencies, private organizations and wildlife managers need reliable information on the status of the target populations.
Remote cameras, also known as trail cameras or camera traps, are widely used to monitor species dynamics and wildlife communities. However, when using cameras for simultaneously collecting information on several species, and in particular for rare and cryptic species such as carnivores, it is important to carefully consider the differences in species’ response to stimuli (e.g. attractants) and sampling design choices (e.g. cameras placed randomly versus on secondary, forest roads). My PhD research focuses on defining an optimal sampling design to simultaneously survey multiple species of carnivores occurring in Minnesota using camera traps. In collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, we collected over 2 million pictures using different sampling strategies (e.g. comparing two different lure types) to assess which sampling design is more effective in collecting data on the medium-to-large carnivore community that lives in the state.
More broadly, I am interested in developing and applying new quantitative approaches to address complex ecological questions. Over the years, I have worked on several species in different countries, targeting issues ranging from metapopulation dynamics in small rodents, effects of habitat fragmentation on endangered species, home range estimation from non-invasive genetic sampling in large-roaming carnivores and occupancy estimation.