Member Meeting – Ecology & Conservation of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls in the Sonoran Desert

October 15, 2013 @ 1:30 am – 3:00 am
UM Gallagher Building, room L14

Conservation and recovery of rare and declining species requires broad understandings of factors that affect distribution, abundance, and vital rates. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls are residents across much of the lowland Neotropics north to southern Arizona and Texas. Although once common locally in southern Arizona, pygmy-owls have been extirpated from much of their historic range in Arizona due to habitat loss, were listed as endangered in 1997, then delisted for reasons unrelated to recovery in 2006. Aaron Flesch has studied pygmy-owls immediately adjacent to Arizona in northwest Mexico since 2000.

On October 14th, Aaron will discuss the natural history and ecology of pygmy-owls and summarize aspects of this research. He will address how habitat and weather affect reproduction, how climate change is driving declines in abundance, and more generally how information on distribution and vital rates can be applied to conservation and recovery of this and other species.

Aaron D. Flesch is a doctoral student in the Division of Biological Sciences at University of Montana and a Senior Research Specialist in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at University of Arizona.  He earned his M.S. in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Arizona and B.A. in Environmental Studies at Prescott College and is in his last semester at UMT.  Aaron is an applied population biologist and works on a broad range of questions.

His dissertation research is focused on how processes such as dispersal and habitat selection drive patterns of animal distribution in fragmented landscapes.  Aaron is passionate about field work and natural history, and he is committed to producing science that has both theoretical and applied value for conservation and management of natural systems.

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