Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

B&C Fellow - Jessie Golding

University of Montana – Ph.D. Student in Wildlife Biology - Projected to Graduate 2022
Project Title: Rethinking Rare: Novel Approaches to Monitoring and Understanding Rare Species

I have wanted to work with animals for as long as I can remember. I have always loved the complexity and depth of understanding animals can give us about the world. I come from a family split down the middle between arts and science, so I always attempt to incorporate interdisciplinary approaches that combine different disciplines. I double majored in Biology and Environmental Science at UC Berkeley, followed by 5 years in environmental consulting which gave me valuable perspective on the intersection between science and management. I completed my MS at the University of Montana, where I’m currently conducting my PhD. I work primarily with rare species and am interested in changing how we approach rare species problems. I hope to change the thinking that rare species problems are uncommon and apply only to certain species; in most time and space, there is a point where everything is rare. My dream job is to work as a conservation designer: I would like to bring knowledge and techniques from the professional research and practice in design to solve conservation problems.

Rethinking Rare: Novel Approaches to Monitoring and Understanding Rare Species

Rare species present multiple challenges for long-term monitoring and conservation: because they are difficult to detect and often sparsely distributed, gathering knowledge about their populations if often difficult or impractical with existing wildlife monitoring tools. In addition, due to both protections and small population dynamics, more detailed information other than presence/absence is often needed. Finally, the populations, and the knowledge and questions associated with them can change rapidly. In order to address these problems, we proposed a long-term monitoring structure called Goal Efficient Monitoring that allows for and anticipates changing questions related to changing population dynamics. We are demonstrating the application of this approach using five forest mesocarnivores species present in the western US: fishers, lynx, wolverines, martens, and montane red foxes. In addition, we are using design principles to investigate novel display configurations to determine the most effective ways to deliver this monitoring information to information users.


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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt