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Our lab focuses on better understanding how wild animals interact with each other and with their environments.  Historically, our work focused on two fairly broad topics: (1) how predators directly affected prey populations through the process of predation and (2) how forest management, especially prescribed fire, influenced wildlife populations and communities.  Although work continues in each of these areas, our recent efforts have – in many ways – merged these topics.

Today, our research seeks to illuminate how interactions among animals influence animal behaviors and how animal behavior might manifest in population-level and even ecosystem-level changes. Some of our recent and ongoing work emphasizes the importance of predation risk as a component of habitat selection and prey activity patterns and how predation risk can have cascading effects on vegetation by altering the habitat selection of herbivores.  Through our ongoing efforts, we hope to provide convincing evidence that a specie’s habitat needs are best understood when we understand how that species responds to risks posed by their predators and competitors and how species balance the risks and rewards of disturbance.


Wild Pig project

Wild pigs cause approximately 150 million dollars of damage annually in Georgia and they are well established in the state and throughout the Southeast. Unfortunately, wild pig populations are expanding.  Wild pigs have an amazing reproductive capacity: sows start breeding at a young age, breed often, and have large litters. These characteristics lend themselves to rapid population growth, and areas with just a few pigs are sure to have many pigs in a short period of time in the absence of population control measures.

The Jones Center is one of many partners collaborating on an NRCS funded grant to the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District to evaluate wild pig control efforts as implemented by USDA wildlife services. The Jones Center is working with faculty at UGA to study the effectiveness of wild pig control methods and to quantify benefits of wild pig control on native wildlife and their habitats, water quality, and agriculture production. Also part of this project is landowner workshops designed to share the latest wild pig control methods and to share research results.

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Focal Areas of Research

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