Impacts of Anthropogenic Activities on Wild Species: An Evaluation of Environmental Stressors Associated with Urban and Agricultural Land Use on Bobcats, Mule Deer and Bats in Southern California
Human land use is responsible for global declines in biodiversity, primarily through the loss, fragmentation and degradation of natural habitat. Urban development and agriculture are the two most important forms of land use change causing species imperilment in the US, both of which are strongly associated with additional environmental stressors such as pesticides and movement barriers. Socially, economically and ecologically important species are often affected negatively, and thus, priority should be placed on evaluating how land use affects natural populations. This research focuses on three distinct systems to identify the effects of habitat fragmentation and chemical pollutants on wildlife, including 1) the physiological effects of persistent anticoagulant rodenticide exposure on bobcats in the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills near Los Angeles, CA; 2) the effect of highways on geneflow in mule deer occupying various open spaces separated by intervening highways and characterized by varying degrees of urban development; and 3) the influence of pesticide use on resource selection and dietary diversity in big brown bats in an intensively managed agricultural landcape.