Naturalist Nights 2017 | George Wittemyer
A comprehensive research program on mule deer and other species in northwestern Colorado have given us unprecedented insight into the impacts of this dominant driver of land use change in North America. Most species show behavior shifts in activity or landscape use in relation to human presence. The response of mule deer has been most thoroughly studied. While we see serious behavior shifts, these changes do not necessarily translate into population impacts. The boom and bust cycles of development pressure and mild winters caused by climate change may alleviate the most serious impacts of this activity on some wildlife populations. Controversies currently in the press around this topic will be discussed.
George Wittemyer is an associate professor at Colorado State University’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conservation ecology. George’s research interests include investigation of the impacts of human pressures on natural systems. Human activities are causing major ecological changes from the alteration of species life history strategies to, in the worst case, population collapse. The long term impacts of these changes on species survival and ecosystem functioning are largely unknown. His research strives to provide greater understanding of the factors influencing ecosystems and the manner in which species respond to these influences, with the ultimate aim of providing empirical based information and strategies to address the many conservation challenges we face today. George works to actively translate these research outputs into policy and conservation actions.
Naturalist Nights are brought to you through a partnership between Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Wilderness Workshop, and Roaring Fork Audubon.