We would like to thank all the postdocs who submitted applications and their faculty advisors for sending support letter!
We reviewed all the applications carefully and were very impressed by everyone's accomplishment. However the amount of the award is limited. So after lengthy consideration, we have chosen two recipients: Dr. Justin Suraci and Dr. Katlin Bowman. Congratulations Justin and Katlin!
Dr. Justin Suraci:
I’m a postdoc in Chris Wilmers’ lab in Environmental Studies, where we investigate the impacts of human activity and development on wildlife, with a particular focus on human-puma interactions. My background is in designing and executing large scale field experiments to understand how behavioral interactions between predators (typically mammalian carnivores) and their prey cascade to effect ecological communities, demonstrating that top predators can shape entire communities by altering the behavior of their prey. My primary work with the Wilmers lab has been applying these techniques to wildlife communities in the Santa Cruz Mountains to understand how behavioral responses to human presence alter species interactions (e.g., puma interactions with smaller mesocarnivores, mesocarnivore interactions with their rodent prey).
This UCSC STEM Postdoc Association Travel Award will support my attendance at the 2018 Gordon Research Conference on Predator-Prey Interactions, where I have been invited to give a talk on what I’m calling “anthropogenic landscapes of fear”. This emerging body of work investigates how human presence creates and/or reshapes patterns of predation risk across landscapes, both by altering the abundance and composition of predator communities (e.g., by removing large carnivores like wolves and pumas), and through the fear induced by humans themselves, given that humans are a major source of mortality for many wildlife species. My recent and current research touches on both of these themes, and this conference will be a fantastic chance to connect with other predation risk researchers to move this field forward. Thanks very much to USPA for the support!
Dr. Katlin Bowman
Dr. Katlin Bowman is a postdoc at the Department of Ocean Sciences. She combines marine genomics and chemistry to study a gene cluster in microorganisms that convert mercury to the toxic methyl-mercury. She has gone on multiple oceanographic expeditions and obtained promising results, which she will present at the bi-annual Ocean Sciences Meeting.