Why Our Research Matters


The Welder Wildlife Foundation research program focuses on guiding and funding M.S. and Ph.D. research in association with universities throughout the United States. The Foundation funds exemplary graduate students with model projects that address the most critical ecological and management questions.  Currently such research is funded from the Foundation's investment income.  Much of this research has been conducted on Foundation property, surrounding ranches, and throughout south Texas, although we have funded research throughout the U.S. One of the directives in Rob Welder's will was to conduct wildlife research in a ranching environment. Research has been conducted on grazing schemes, impacts of grazing on wildlife, brush and invasive grass management, and the interaction of these activities with wildlife. One of the objectives of our research program is to conduct research on subjects of importance to landowners and managers responsible for management decisions.

Apart from graduate student research projects, staff research over the years has encompassed work on Rio Grande turkeys (Meleagris gallapavo), black-bellied whistling ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis), the impact of grazing schemes on wildlife, and predator-prey interactions. Vegetation surveys have been conducted on the Refuge since 1960. Ground and aerial white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) surveys were initiated in 1963. Surveys of rodents (Rodentia), eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus), javelina or collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu), and Rio Grande turkeys are conducted to maintain information on population trends. Graduate student studies conducted through the years have provided information on most of the wildlife species on the refuge.