Advisor: Dr. Michael Eichholz
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) occupy a wide range of habitats throughout much of North America, often in large numbers. As a result of their high abundance and wide distribution, whitetails have numerous impacts on ecological communities. Whitetails are prey to carnivore species like coyotes (Canis latrans) and bobcats (Lynx rufus). Whitetails also impact the structure of forest communities through foraging. Interactions with humans are a particular concern because whitetails occupy human modified landscapes. In particular, whitetails may pose risks associated with vehicle collisions or crop depredation. Finally, disease in whitetails is a concern due to Chronic Wasting Disease, which can be spread through direct or indirect contact between white-tailed deer.
My current research focuses on tracking the movement of white-tailed deer using GPS collars. We will use this data to estimate contact rates, habitat use, and how ecological factors impact the movement and space use of deer. Furthermore, we are interested in using data on the movement of predators to better understand how predators may impact white-tailed deer