Dr. Jennifer Murrow is a lecturer in Environmental Sciences and Policy. A wildlife biologist by training, Dr. Murrow’s primary research interests focus on wildlife habitat use and modeling and demographic analysis as it applies to population viability on the landscape. As such, her research interests have led to a specialty in GIS applications for wildlife species.
Dr. Murrow advises ENSP-Wildlife Ecology and Management students, and teaches a number of courses, including ENST 460- Principles of Wildlife Management, 461- Urban Wildlife Management, and 462- Techniques in Wildlife Management.
COMMON TERNS ON POPLAR ISLAND
Common terns (Sterna hirundo) are piscivorous waterbirds that nest along the Atlantic coast of North America. The species is Maryland state endangered and currently nests only at the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project at Poplar Island, Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay and a small breeding colony outside of Ocean City, along the Atlantic seaboard. Extensive monitoring of the species has taken place at Poplar Island by USFWS and USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Maryland DNR has monitored the Ocean City colony. Previous nesting data for the species showed the species nesting throughout both the Chesapeake and coastal bays. Determining the main threats to this species in Maryland and what has caused a decline in numbers is paramount for future research and management throughout the state. The main threats to the species throughout its range include habitat degradation from development and recreational activities (Erwin 1980), disturbance at nesting and roosting sites (Nisbet 2002), and displacement and predation by herring (Larus argentatus) and great black backed gulls (Larus marinus) (HEGU and GBBG, respectively), great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) (GRHO), and red fox (Kress 1983, 1997, Burger and Gochfeld 1991). The main goal of this project is to determine which of these stressors has had an effect on the population of common tern in Maryland and how these may be addressed in the future.
BATS ACROSS AN URBAN-RURAL GRADIENT
Urbanization’s effect (without WNS impact) on bat activity and diversity in Calgary, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Mexico City, Ontario, Panama, and European and Australian cities have been studied and resulted in mixed conclusions. Some studies have concluded that urbanization decreased bat activity and diversity (Hale et al. 2012, Threlfall et al. 2011, Hourigan et al. 2006, Gaisler et al. 1998, Kurta and Teramino 1992), whereas others have indicated that urbanization increased bat activity (Coleman and Barclay 2012, Jung and Kalko 2010, Avila-Flores and Fenton 2005, Gehrt and Chelsvig 2004, Walsh and Harris 1996), or only had minimal change on diversity (Mendes et al. 2014, Hourigan et al. 2010, Lesinski et al. 2000).
One large bat survey (using acoustic and capture techniques) was conducted at National Parks in Washington, DC, and surrounding states that represented different levels of urbanization and forest fragmentation (Johnson et al. 2008). This study reported that forest fragmentation had a greater impact on species diversity and activity than urbanization alone, but overall, urban parks had lower bat species diversity than rural parks. However, this survey occurred before WNS.
BLACK BEARS IN LOUISIANA AND ARKANSAS
We are creating a black bear habitat model for all of Louisiana and Arkansas. This model will help to parse out agricultural crops that are a food source for bears and will allow for assessments of potential impact on bear habitat because of future land use change, such as the changes in crop type for biofuel production, or increases in urban land cover around fast-growing towns.
Then, we are determining specific forest and tree metrics of “good” bear habitat by deriving spatial layers of forest characteristics (Canopy Density, Forest height, Forest Biomass) from Lidar data and from FIA data. Identified forest characteristics will be used to determine endpoints for forest best management practices to optimize bear habitat in the GCPO LCC. The final products will be a landscape scale model of black bear habitat throughout the LCC that identifies areas of importance for bears and specific forest management endpoints needed to maintain or create quality bear habitat.
WHITE-TAILED DEER IN HOWARD COUNTY
Like many other states, Maryland has seen a dramatic increase in population density of white-tailed deer in many areas, especially suburban and urban landscapes in the past decades. As human populations also increased, many suburban and urban communities are experiencing increased deer-human conflicts. Overabundant deer populations led to deer-vehicle collisions, agricultural damage, forestry damage, and damage to individual households. With Columbia as the first planned community in North America, Howard County experienced the same challenges. The Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and other open spaces provide ideal habitat for white-tailed deer. Annual managed hunts have been conducted by Howard County Deer Management Team at the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and other natural areas since 1998 in order to reduce deer population densities. Currently, no quantitative data exists for deer use of natural areas and parks, like the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, compared to adjacent subdivisions in Howard County. These data would allow county managers to better quantify the impact of hunting on reducing deer-human conflicts in adjacent subdivisions. Previous research indicated that deer may alter their use of suburban areas over the diel period or seasonally; thus, an understanding of the spatial and temporal use of the community by deer is important. Spatial and temporal dynamics of habitat use, home range, and movements will provide a better understanding of how deer use developed and undeveloped areas in a suburban landscape. Furthermore, white-tailed deer are the primary host for adults of the blacklegged tick in the northeast. As the host of adult ticks, white-tailed deer allow ticks to mate, acquire a blood meal by female ticks prior to production of eggs. The population explosion of white-tailed deer has been implicated in the emergence of several zoonotic tickborne diseases, including Lyme disease, in the Northeast. But, the relationships among deer population, tick density and incidence of Lyme disease remain to be understood. Although population management of white-tailed deer, including deer exclusion and population reduction, has been suggested as part of integrated tick management in order to control ticks, details about the role of deer in supporting and spreading ticks in an urban environment like Howard County remains to be determined.
BOX TURTLES IN D.C.
We are comparing the movement of relocated Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene c. carolina) in the District of Columbia. We are comparing the movement patterns and home range sizes from 15 turtles between 2011-2015. This is an extremely urbanized area with limited areas for relocation. Therefore, the primary goal is to determine how long mitigation measures must be taken to reduce the homing tendency.
ENST 460 (Principles of Wildlife Management):
This is a foundational course in the field of wildlife ecology, conservation, and management. Development of the field as a scientific discipline is covered along with a basic review of important ecological principles and processes on which it is based. Students will gain an ability to apply ecological and behavioral concepts and principles to the management of wildlife populations and habitats to achieve a diversity of objectives, including sustained harvest, control, conservation, and restoration. Students will also develop a general understanding of the assumptions, effectiveness, and limitations of strategies used to manage wild populations and their habitats. Students will develop analytical problem-solving skills and will gain experience in data needs and mathematical models. Students will develop a general appreciation for the challenges and opportunities inherent in wildlife conservation.
ENST 461 (Urban Wildlife Management):
This course focuses on ecology and management of wildlife in urban and urbanizing areas. It includes game species, nongame species, and to a lesser degree, invertebrates; primary emphasis is placed on terrestrial species. Although many of the same species found in rural habitats can inhabit the urban environment, different management approaches are needed in the complex urban environment with dense human populations and small land units with multiple ownerships. We will investigate the ecology of the urban environment and examine the unique nature of managing wildlife in such urban settings, along with human interest and its role in supporting wildlife in their neighborhoods. The course is geared toward students interested in the human-wildlife relationship in the metropolitan environment and provides a foundation for management in these unique ecosystems.
ENST 462 (Field Techniques in Wildlife Management):
The purpose of this class is to provide students with an understanding of the field techniques used by wildlife biologists in collection and analysis of data on vertebrate populations to address research and management objectives. Topics to be covered will include ethical considerations, orienteering, animal ID (sex, age, track), population sampling and capturing techniques, population estimation, diet analysis, and other common field techniques used to sample populations and their habitat.
ENST 464 (Wildlife Habitat Modeling):
This class is designed for Wildlife and Conservation majors, especially those students considering graduate school. This class teaches students real world techniques used to determine and model habitat use on multiple scales using statistical analyses, GIS, and stand-alone programs such as GME and Biomapper.
Deerhake, M., J. L. Murrow, K. Heller, D. Cobb, and B. Howard. 2016. Assessing the Feasibility of a Sustainable, Huntable Elk Population in North Carolina. Journal of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 3:303–312 .
Pack, S., M. Ferreira, R. Krithivasanc, J. L. Murrow, E. Bernarde, and M. Masciac. 2016.Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing, and Degazettement (PADDD) in Brazil and its impacts on deforestation in the Amazon. Biological Conservation 197:32–39.
Murrow, J. L. 2015. Climate change vulnerability assessments for wildlife and wildlife habitats in the District of Columbia. District Department of the Environment. Climate change chapter for State Wildlife Action Plan, Washington D.C.
Clark, J. L., J. Laufenberg, M. Davidson, and J. L. Murrow. 2015. Connectivity among subpopulations of Louisiana black bears as estimated by a step-selection function. Journal of Wildlife Management (in press).
Murrow, J. L., C. A. Thatcher, F. T. van Manen, and J. D. Clark. 2013. A data-based conservation planning tool for Florida panthers. Environmental Modelling and Assessment 18:159–170.
Murrow, J. L. and J. D. Clark. 2012. Effects of Hurricane Katrina and Rita on Louisiana Black Bear Habitat. Ursus 23: 192–205.
Kindall, J. K., L. I. Muller, J. D. Clark, J. L. Lupardus, and J. L. Murrow. 2011. Population viability analysis to identify management priorities for reintroduced elk in the Cumberland Mountains, Tennessee. Journal of Wildlife Management, 75:1745-1752.
Yarkovich, J., J. D. Clark, and J. L. Murrow. 2011. Effects of black bear relocation on elk calf recruitment at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Journal of Wildlife Management. 75(5): 1145–1154.
Thatcher, C. A., J. L. Murrow, F. T. van Manen, and J. D. Clark. 2010. Florida Panther Habitat Estimator for ArcMap™ (version 2.0). U.S. Geological Survey, Leetown Science Center, Southern Appalachian Research Branch, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.
Murrow, J. L., J. D. Clark, E. K. Delozier. 2009. Demographics of an experimentally Released Population of Elk in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Journal of Wildlife Management 73(8): 1261–1268.
Murrow, J. L. and J. D. Clark. 2009. Effects of Hurricane Katrina and Rita on black bear habitat in southern Louisiana. Final Report. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services Field Office, Lafayette, Louisiana.
Ramsay, Edward C.; Greer, Leah; Delozier, Kim; Murrow, Jennifer; Zagaya, Nancy; Patton, Sharon; New, John. 2001. Veterinary participation in an experimental release of elk (Cervus elaphus) into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. In Proceedings American Association of Zoo Veterinarians American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians National Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians Joint Conference. Eds. Baer, Charlotte Kirk; Willette, Michelle M.