Ecological Analysis Research


Research Description

Dr. Tal Avgar's lab studies wildlife space-use ecology: where and when do animals move, and what might be the consequences. Up to 2 students are requested for work until the end of this school year (2021-2022).

Animal movement has fascinated humankind since the dawn of history, but only recently have we begun to truly elucidate the different drivers that underlie movement phenomena such as migration, natal dispersal, home ranging, and nomadism.

Within the limitations of their cognitive and physical capacities, animals move to enhance their fitness; animals move to thermoregulate, to find water, food, and mates, or to avoid predators, competitors, or parasites. The relative importance of these different drivers is however species, system, and context specific, and is often poorly understood. This ignorance is debilitating because animal movement is a critical component of many ecological processes and applied challenges, including trophic interactions, metapopulation dynamics, disease transmission, range expansions, and human-wildlife conflicts.

Ultimately, movement behaviours of individuals translate into the fundamental elements of population dynamics: spatiotemporal patterns of emigration and immigration, survival, and reproduction. The premise behind Dr. Avgar's research is that quantitative understanding of the processes underlying animal movement behaviours is essential, not only as means to identifying ecological needs and interactions at the individual level, but as a mechanistic key to emerging population and community patterns.

Qualifications and Requirements

Up to 2 undergraduate students will be accepted. Knowledge of R and good writing skills are a significant advantage in a candidate.

Application Components

Please reach out to Dr. Tal Avgar (tal.avgar@usu.edu) for application information. 

Financial Compensation

No funding is currently available. Dr. Avgar will mentor the student through the process of applying for an Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities Grant.