Click here to learn about wildlife research at the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. My personal research philosophy is described below.
As our landscapes change, we must identify conflicts with the needs of wild things and generate innovative solutions that allow us to live alongside them in perpetuity. Natural history and ecology are the foundations of my research program; all studies are grounded in the understanding that subjects are living and breathing wild creatures that persist in the landscape by escaping predation, catching prey, finding mates, successfully reproducing, and in some cases, avoiding people.
I strive to conduct applied and integrative research relevant to current conservation issues while generating natural history information that will aid in the formulation of effective multi-species conservation programs.
“The pressure on early-career scientists to publish leaves little room for observation and reflection, much to the detriment of our science and of the pure joy of being a scientist. Nonetheless, natural history remains integral to the exploration and rationalization of nature. I hope that we will continue to cherish this truth.” Robert E. Ricklefs
Studies within applied fields such as wildlife management, restoration ecology, and conservation biology are implicitly goal-laden pursuits. For these studies to be objective and scientific, they must be grounded in a solid philosophical framework. Because of large-scale and ongoing environmental change, we must continuously reevaluate how we perceive the effects of this change and how we, as conservation biologists, should respond.
“This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter downriver. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state.” Aldo Leopold