Fraser Shilling – Co-Director, Road Ecology Center, University of California, Davis
Amanda Coen – Graduate Student, Ecology Graduate Group, University of California, Davis
Steve Torres – Wildlife Investigations Laboratory Supervisor, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
James Henke – Senior Environmental Planner, Office of Biological Studies, Caltrans
While roadways are good at facilitating the movement of vehicles, they can be devastating “roadblocks” to the movement of wildlife. When individual animals of a species have limited movement in part or all of their range, then divided populations can become genetically different from each other, which can jeopardize the survival of populations and even whole species. A recent study from the National Center for Sustainable Transportation collected genetic material (coyote scat) in two Northern California sites to determine if genetic isolation is in fact occurring due to the presence of highway and if so to what extent. Results did show some evidence of genetic isolation among coyote populations, particularly in the Bay Area, though questions remain regarding how coyotes are traveling in the two study areas and what factors influence their movement.
The webinar featured a presentation from Fraser Shilling and Amanda Coen from the University of California, Davis who shared and discussed their research results as well as commented on opportunities for mitigating the unintended impacts of roadways on wildlife movement. A facilitated discussion on the implications of this research on transportation policy and practice with opening comments provided by Steve Torres, Wildlife Investigations Laboratory Supervisor, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and James Henke, Senior Wildlife and Endangered Species Biologist, Office of Biological Studies, Caltrans followed.
Download the "Do Highways Act as Barriers to Gene Flow for Wildlife Populations?" presentation slides here.
This webinar builds upon research from the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, which can be found here.