April 27, 2017

Spotted Owl Research

 NSO_Oregon CalSPOW_perch


Goals of Research

Our research activities focus on spotted owls in California and the southwestern United States. We have past and ongoing demographic studies on the northern subspecies (Strix occidentalis caurina), the California subspecies (S. o. occidentalis), and the Mexican subspecies (S. o. lucida). Our research provides the following products:

1. We help provide the scientific basis for spotted owl management. In particular, our research refines adaptive management by linking demographic processes to habitat and environmental conditions, estimating trends in spotted owl populations, and providing land management agencies with recent information on spotted owls.

2. We communicate our results in the form of peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, chapters in published books and symposia, technical reports to various agencies, and graduate student theses.

3. We disseminate our most recent information through oral communication in the form of presentations at scientific meetings and invited lectures at symposia, academic institutions, land management, and public forums.

At present, we are concentrating on studies which provide information on the population trends and dynamics of spotted owls. Our research efforts are concentrated in five main locations: northwestern California, the central Sierra Nevada, southern California, central Arizona, and west-central New Mexico. By examining the population structure and demographic trends of spotted owls in these areas, we are attempting to integrate information about the factors that may influence these populations, particularly climate, landscape habitat patterns, and site-specific habitat structure. Our past research has provided us with a strong understanding of spotted owl life history characteristics; this knowledge helps us to form specific testable hypotheses for future research. In addition, we currently collaborate with scientists from Colorado State University and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) who provide us with advanced analytical expertise and a state-of-the-art molecular genetics laboratory. Our collaboration with Dr. George Barrowclough at AMNH has provided us with insight into the evolutionary history and relationships of spotted owls.