Seth first became interested in conservation and ecology as a college student in 1997 while observing black-tailed prairie dogs living in sidewalk median strips near his home in Boulder, Colorado. Daily interactions with these resilient animals made him wonder what adaptations enabled these small mammals to persist in highly urban habitat and which factors contributed to their distribution and abundance. Eventually he completed an honors thesis on the behavior of this urban-adapted keystone species; he ultimately expanded on that research for both a master’s degree and a doctorate.
However, Seth’s interests go far beyond prairie dogs to encompass all wildlife species impacted by urbanization and human development. He has also engaged in research on movement behavior of white-tailed deer in a rural landscape characterized by high prevalence of disease outbreaks, assessments of the diversity of bird communities residing in agricultural habitat and the conservation of Canada lynx reintroduced to the southern edge of their historical range, where they are threatened by roads and traffic.
Seth strongly believes that if rare and imperiled species are to be conserved in our modern world, we must understand and mitigate all potential impacts of urban areas on wildlife. To that end, he engages in studies of urban wildlife that span a broad range of scientific disciplines, including behavioral ecology, conservation genetics, landscape ecology, environmental education and human dimensions of wildlife. His vision is to help create a world in which urban ecosystems represent an important component of the worldwide conservation of biodiversity.
Contributions to Humans & Nature:
City Creatures blog posts:
Articles in Minding Nature: