Snow Leopards- the mountain ghosts
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. Imogene's first field expedition will occur in 2018. Field photos from the Rare and Elusive Species lab (Shannon Kachel). See Panthera's snow leopard fact sheet here.
Bobcats- the red lynx
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.
Currently, Imogene is 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.
Science Communication- normalizing science
Imogene posts daily wildlife facts on instagram and Twitter, and is currently using these efforts to assist a science communication study investigating public perception of scientists on social media.
In September, she will be giving 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.