University of Vermont

James D. Murdoch (Jed)

Murdoch Research


Corsac fox (Vulpes corsac) in China. Credit: X. Eichaker

My research interests focus on the behavior and ecology of mammalian carnivores with an emphasis on their conservation. Much of my experience has focused on the Canidae, including foxes, wild dogs, and wolves, and explored aspects of their sociality, demography, food habits, ranging behavior, and activity patterns.

I am also interested in understanding how human activities affect carnivores. For example, how do activities such as landscape development, climate change, and hunting or poaching affect carnivore populations? I use a combination of field studies, experimentation, and modeling to address these questions in a variety of areas including here in Vermont, but also in Africa and Asia.

Current Projects

Snow leopard forensics – using isotopes to track the origin of poached animals
Location: Mongolia, dates: 2014-2015, funding: Conservation and Research Foundation.

Black bear diet and anthropogenic food use in Vermont
Location: Vermont, dates: 2012-2014, funding: USDA McIntire-Stennis, graduate student: Eliese Dykstra (MS).

Does wildlife information influence public acceptability of development?
Location: Vermont, dates 2013-2015, funding: Northeastern States Research Cooperative, graduate student: Jessica Espenshade (MS).

Effects of landscape change on carnivore diversity in Mongolia
Location: Mongolia, dates: 2014-105, funding: Fulbright Commission, graduate student: Myaga Lkhagvasuren (MS).

Recently Completed Projects

Wolves and livelihoods in the arid steppes of Mongolia
Location: Mongolia, dates: 2011-2013, funding: Denver Zoological Foundation, graduate student: Hannah Davie (MS). Hannah recently graduated and began a Ph.D. at Nottingham Trent University in the UK that will focus on Przewalski’s horse behavior in Mongolia.

Effects of landscape change on bobcat carrying capacity in Vermont
Location: Vermont, dates: 2011-2013, funding: University of Vermont, Vermont Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, graduate student: Wendy Cole (MS). Wendy graduated and now works in Montana.

Factors affecting carnivore occupancy in forest fragments of an agricultural landscape
Location: Vermont, dates: 2010-2012, funding: USDA McIntire-Stennis, graduate student: Sara Williams (MS). Sara graduated and began a Ph.D. at University of Montana that examines humpback whales and cruise ship encounters.

Last modified February 12 2014 10:36 AM

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