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. Watch this space for more updates on this collaborative effort.
Imogene posts daily wildlife facts on instagram and Twitter, and is currently part of a research team investigating public perceptions of scientists on Instagram, where they are scientifically evaluating public trusts of scientists with the help of selfies. Join the experiment here.
Imogene recently gave an invited talk at The Wildlife Society's annual research conference on using Instagram to better promote science, wildlife conservation, and encouraging the next generation of scientists and STEM researchers. If you'd like Imogene to speak at one of your events, or develop a social media plan for your organization, please visit the contact page.