The Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve is an ecologically unique protected area with some of the largest intact ecosystems remaining in southern California. The Preserve and surrounding landscape retain habitats and prey for carnivores in contrast to the fragmented and disconnected habitats in urbanized landscapes predominant throughout the ecoregion. This contrast makes the Preserve an ideal model for exploring novel trends and patterns in carnivore ecology and conservation. Further, as a protected area, the Preserve serves as potential critical habitat for carnivores, and likely an essential habitat linkage and dispersal area, assisting carnivore persistence in Southern and Central California.
In order to comprehensively understand both the ecology (e.g. predation patterns, behavior, etc.) of carnivores on the Dangermond Preserve and the Preserve’s role in regional carnivore habitat connectivity, The Nature Conservancy is developing research studies on carnivore movement and ecology and predator activity in coastal areas of the Point Conception region.
As part of this work, The Nature Conservancy is engaging Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, Assistant Research Ecologist at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management for assistance in synthesizing available information on regional carnivore ecology and on designing and implementing field research on carnivores. Dr. Wynn-Grant is the Principal Investigator and lead scientist.
Task 1: Engage UCSB students in Point Conception region carnivore studies and assist TNC in drafting a Bren School Group Masters proposal on Point Conception Regional Carnivore Connectivity.
Deliverable 1 completed draft study concept for inclusion in TNC proposal for Bren School Group Masters on Point Conception Regional Carnivore Connectivity submitted to UCSB by 22 January 2021.
Task 2: Complete literature review on ecology of carnivores in greater Point Conception region – draft review publication on role of terrestrial carnivores in coastal ecosystems.
Deliverable 2: by 1 June 2021 Dr. Wynn-Grant will deliver via email to Mark Reynolds a draft manuscript for submission to a scientific journal. The exact details of the manuscript will be agreed to by Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Wynn-Grant.
Task #3: Complete written study design, including detailed pathway for all necessary permits for TNC, for tracking carnivore movement via collared animals and camera station deployment to meet Dangermond Preserve carnivore connectivity science needs
with emphasis on beach and ‘wild coast’ habitat utilization and related refinement of habitat suitability and connectivity modeling.
Deliverable 3: by 1 December 2021 Dr. Wynn-Grant will deliver via email to Mark Reynolds a Complete written study design.