Project Description: 

Prescribed fire is frequently used as a landscape management tool in south Florida, the
last remaining habitat for the endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi). Fire directly
alter landscape composition and configuration, which affect panther den selection thus kitten
survival. Understanding how fire affects panther den selection can inform fire planning that
achieves management goal while ensuring panther reproduction success is considered in the
conservation efforts.

Our research will explore the question that whether and how fire shapes panther den site
selection. This project is a multi-semester project involving data analysis and writing. This
semester, we will focus on applying Resource Selection Function (RSF) in R to examine how
panther den location is affected by burning history, underlying vegetation types, distance to
human settlements and roads, and topography. This coming semester, we will focus on
summarizing analysis results and writing a publication-standard manuscript, which can be used
also as a senior thesis. This project is in collaboration with Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission and it is an excellent opportunity for student interested in advancing
their quantitative kills to solve real world conservation questions.

Undergraduate's Role: 

1. Refining and interpreting Resource Selection Function in R
2. Communicating with calibrators in Florida with project progresses
3. Drafting publication standard manuscript

Undergraduate's Qualifications: 

Interested in wildlife ecology and experience in quantitative analysis. Experience with some programming (any
language, preferably R). Knowledge of basic regression statistics and spatial analysis are
preferred but not required.

On Campus
3-6 hours