Snow Leopard Conservation
Imogene's dissertation research focuses on examining the evolutionary history and contemporary population genetic structure of snow leopards range-wide. The relationship between gene flow and landscapes across time is uniquely informative to conservation efforts, as it reflects ecological and evolutionary processes. She is using noninvasive fecal DNA to investigate how snow leopard genetic lineages evolved over time as well as describe how populations are structured across landscapes, which will have important conservation implications for this charismatic endangered species. In 2018, Imogene traveled to Kyrygyzstan and China for this project (more in 2019!). Field photos from the Rare and Elusive Species lab (Shannon Kachel). See Panthera's snow leopard fact sheet here.
Imogene's master's research focused on scale-dependent landscape genetics of bobcats across western Texas. Landscape genetics is the interdisciplinary field that merges landscape ecology with population genetics to explore the impact of landscape composition and configuration on gene flow, genetic discontinuity, and genetic structure. To investigate bobcat genetics in Texas, Imogene live-trapped bobcats and collected post-mortem samples across the state to process in the lab. The resulting publication is in the review process.
Imogene recently assisted in designing a bobcat project focusing on habitat use and population demographics of bobcats in New Jersey. This collaborative project is now underway with a master’s student in Imogene’s lab at the University of Delaware.
Imogene is a professional science communicator posting daily wildlife facts on instagram and Twitter. She has also studied how social media can be useful for shifting perceptions of scientists. See the publications page for the resulting manuscript!
Previous speaking engagements include presentations at The Wildlife Society Annual Conference, The American Conservation Film Festival, and various invited podcasts. Imogene gives talks and workshops for all audiences, with topics including big cat conservation, how-to’s for science communication, and brand development for conservation organizations. If you’d like to book Imogene as a speaker or content creator, visit the contact page.