Duston R. Duffie

Duston R. Duffie, Ph.D.
Texas A&M University – Kingsville
Co-Advisor: Cord B. Eversole, Ph.D.
Co-Adivsor: Scott E. Henke, Ph.D.

Medium and Large-Sized Mammal Habitat Occupancy Across a Landscape Mosaic

Nonnative and invasive plants are considered a major conservation threat to native ecosystems due to their impacts on ecosystem function. Consequences of nonnative and invasive vegetation have been exhibited across the globe, often resulting in altered ecosystem function due to decreased habitat quality and diversity. Similarly, biodiversity has been linked to ecosystem function and stability due to the positive relationship between vegetation richness and animal diversity. For this study, we are examining the conservation of native animal species across a landscape gradient of plant invasion and the potential impacts of invasive plant management on animal communities. Few studies have documented community-level impacts of invasive and nonnative plant-dominated systems, which is especially true for ecosystems in the South Texas area. In July 2021, we established 24 remote camera stations spaced approximately 1 km apart at Welder Wildlife Refuge. These cameras will be used to document medium- and large-sized mammal occurrences within various vegetation types. We will continue to assess the plant and animal communities for three years.

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