In tonight’s episode of the Perpetual Notion Machine, PNM’s resident wildlife guru, Lincoln Tice, explores the nature and ecology of the Spotted owl. His guest is Gavin Jones, a Ph.D. candidate in UW-Madison’s forest and wildlife ecology. He specifically studies the California Spotted owl in the Sierra Nevada range. Spotted owls reside in old-growth forests and have been on the endangered species list since the early 1990’s. Gavin’s research studies the causes of their decline and potential conservation strategies. There have been several causes of the decline, including extensive logging over the years. But one more recent cause is the extensive and widespread fires that have been occurring in California the last few years. Like grassland prairies in Wisconsin, Gavin mentions that small, isolated fires are good for forest habitat. These fires spur new growth and biodiversity. Gavin also provides a few reasons why these latest fires have been so intense.
Gavin does his research as part of the department’s Wildlife Ecology + Conservation Lab headed by Associate Professor Zach Peery.
Also, check out more information about Spotted owls at this Audubon website.