This research evaluates the mechanisms underlying variation in movements and demography by irruptive, facultative-migrant species using the Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) as a model system. Specifically, we will assess how variation in prey abundance and climatic conditions influence the seasonal movements, habitat selection, productivity, and survival of this understudied forest raptor. Our research can lead to improved understanding and management of species that either rely on or must respond to variable resources and environmental conditions, which are becoming more extreme with changing climate.
Currently, home range size and resource requirements remain relatively unknown for this species throughout its circumpolar range. In Wyoming, the Great Gray Owl is identified as a sensitive species. Our findings will aid in the development of effective conservation strategies for Great Gray Owls, which are critical in the face of declining productivity and changing forest habitat in the Rocky Mountain region.
This research is taking place in Teton County, Wyoming beginning in the spring of 2018 and is a collaboration with Teton Raptor Center and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Department of Zoology and Physiology
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3166, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82070
Katherine Gura is a PhD student in Dr. Anna Chalfoun’s lab researching the mechanisms underlying variation in movements and demography by irruptive, facultative-migrant species using the Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) as a model system. Specifically, she will evaluate how variation in prey abundance and climatic conditions influence the seasonal movements, habitat selection, productivity, and survival of this understudied forest raptor. Prior to beginning her graduate work, Katherine conducted field research at Teton Raptor Center in Wilson, WY. She began studying Great Gray Owls in Teton County, WY in 2013, and her graduate research through the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is a collaboration with the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Teton Raptor Center. Katherine’s research interests include applied avian research specifically related to movement ecology, habitat selection, and community ecology. During her free time, Katherine enjoys adventuring with her favorite field assistant, her pup Dipper.
Funding & Partners
Teton Raptor Center
Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Grand Teton Association
Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund
Teton Conservation District
UW-NPS Small Grant Program
Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition