Paul Beier Lab of Conservation Biology & Wildlife Ecology

Current Projects

corridordesign.orgCorridorDesign.org provides information on designing wildlife corridors, including several ArcGIS toolboxes with good documentation written in plain English.  The tools are free; they were designed by Dan Majka, Jeff Jenness, Brian Brost, and Paul Beier. At the CorridorDesign site you can also find linkage designs for 16 corridors in Arizona.  Visit scwildlands.org to download linkage designs for 11 wildlife linkages in California's South Coast Ecoregion, 22 linkage designs in the Mohave Desert, and ongoing work in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What characteristics are associated with successful conservation corridors? A conservation corridor is a long, wide swath of natural land proposed as conservation intervention to promote genetic and demographic flows between large natural areas that would otherwise be separated by human-dominated matrix. Unfortunately, most corridor research has studied animal movement & presence (not gene flow) via short narrow corridors in natural matrix. For this project, led by postdoctoral scholar Andrew Gregory, we are desperately seeking stable, 50-year old landscapes with long wide corridors. Please read this paper in PLoS Biology to to learn more, or visit our website to suggest a good field site.

Climate-savvy conservation - without climate models! Our lab is helping to develop approaches to coarse-filter conservation for climate change. Rather than trying to model range shifts for every species (a gargantuan effort that uses highly uncertain emissions scenarios to drive highly uncertain general and regional circulation models to drive highly uncertain species-specific climate envelope models that produce outputs at > 4x4-km resolution, and then combining dozens of these single-species models to inform conservation decisions) we propose coarse-filter conservation plans using 'land facets' or 'geophysical land units.' The idea is to conserve the arenas of evolution and biological diversity rather than the specific actors temporarily occupying those arenas. Mac Hunter's seminal 1988 paper introduced this idea, which lay dormant until 2010 when our paper and a paper by Mark Anderson & Charles Ferree of The Nature Conservancy re-launched it. We have developed specific procedures to apply this approach to the design of wildlife linkages.

Population genetics, occupancy modeling, and habitat modeling of grizzly bears in Montana. Tabitha Graves, PhD student. supported by the National Science Foundation (Rigorous estimates of landscape resistance to gene flow), NAU School of Forestry, USGS, and partners of the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project.

Do hiking and biking harm wildlife? PhD dissertation project lead by Michelle Reilly. This research will determine whether certain levels of hiking and bicycling in natural areas have significant impacts on habitat use by carnivores, deer, and other wildlife in the San Francisco Bay Area Ecoregion. Study sites will span the full spectrum of non-motorized recreation and other variables that could obscure or exaggerate the effects of recreation. The study will produce recommendations to locate trails and manage hiking in a way that does not degrade habitat value of protected area

Estimating resistance to gene flow across a gradient of habitat fragmentation, PhD dissertation project led by Annika Keeley. Resistance represents the hypothesized relationships between landscape features (e.g., land cover, urbanization, distance to edge) and gene flow. Resistance is inherently species-specific. This study will determine whether it is also landscape-specific, i.e. whether resistance values of landscape features change with the amount of preferred habitat and the extent to which preferred habitat is fragmented.

Mortality and Barrier Effects of Roads on Sonoran Desert Rodents, PhD dissertation project led by Karl Jarvis. Email Karl and karljarvis (at) nau.edu.

Associations between landscape patterns and Mexican Spotted Owls on tribal and US Forests. PhD dissertation project led by Serra Hoagland. Serra's study sites will probably include Mescalero Apache and Lincoln National Forest. Serra's dissertation will also have a chapter related to science translation that will include traditional ecological knowledge. email Serra and sjh285 (at) nau.edu.

Nick Pacini, Master of Forestry student

 

Click here to download Publications from the Beier Lab of Conservation Biology & Wildlife Ecology

Click here to download Paul Beier's CV and contact information

Click here to read a list of courses taught by Paul Beier at Northern Arizona University