March 2, 2016

BRI Attends 2016 Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conference

story by Julie Oesper


BRI students, staff, and alumni attending the 2016 Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society Conference (top); Dr. Patricia Moody Harveson accepts 2016 Educator of the Year award from Dr. Roel Lopez, President of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society (bottom left); Sul Ross alum Bobby Allcorn won first prize with this Montezuma quail photo (bottom right).

On February 18-20, BRI staff and students attended the 52nd annual Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society meeting in San Antonio. This annual gathering provides opportunities for us to share the most recent findings from BRI research projects, meet with other researchers, and learn about projects going on across the state and beyond. This year BRI and Sul Ross had a record number of students, faculty and staff who participated in workshops and competitions and presented papers and posters on research findings.

A total of 43 people from Sul Ross attended the conference, including 13 undergraduate students, 22 graduate students, and 8 faculty and staff members. The conference overall had 725 registrants.

The plant ID team, coached by graduate student Roy Saffel, consisted of undergraduate students Rachel Barker, Mark Black, Charlie Musick and Alec Ritzell. The team competed in the plant ID competition, testing their knowledge of plants from across the state. A team from Sul Ross also participated in the annual Quiz Bowl competition, which tests students’ knowledge on a variety of Natural Resource Management related topics. This year’s Quiz Bowl team, which made it to the semifinals, was coached by graduate student Skyler Stevens and consisted of undergraduate students Mark Black, Benjamin Benavidez, Charlie Musick, Cody Putman and Alec Ritzell.

Sul Ross was also well represented in the awards ceremony this year. Dr. Patricia Moody Harveson received the 2016 Educator of the Year Award, graduate student Grant Lawrence received a $1,000 scholarship from the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Jill Morgan was awarded Outstanding Undergraduate Student for Sul Ross, nominated by the Sul Ross Range & Wildlife Club. In addition, Sul Ross alumnus Bobby Allcorn won first place in the wildlife photography category for his photo of a Montezuma quail.

Professional presentations were given by 13 of our graduate students and research scientists: Taylor O. Garrison (“Mortality factors and the importance of age in translocated pronghorn”), Skyler Stevens (“Distribution and habitat selection by large carnivores in Big Bend National Park, Texas” and “Habitat partitioning by sympatric deer species in Big Bend National Park, Texas”), Catherine C. Dennison (“Home range size, movements and survival of mountain lions on private lands in West Texas” and “Food habits of mountain lions in the Davis Mountains, Texas”), David Price Rumbelow (“Spatial and temporal use of Big Bend National Park by humans and puma”), Ernesto Garcia-Ortega (“Selection and avoidance of habitat and artificial resources of desert scaled quail during the nesting season in the Trans-Pecos, Texas”), Grant S. Lawrence (“Development and evaluation of prototype feral pig toxicants”), Justin T. French (“Pronghorn diet, nutrition, and carrying capacity in Trans-Pecos, Texas”), Dr. Ryan O’Shaughnessy (Does birth synchrony influence fawn survival of pronghorn in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas?”), Ryan S. Anthony (“Seed-bank potential of moist-soil wetlands in the Southwest”), Ronald P. Jankowiak (“An ecological comparison of two sympatric desert quail species during the reproductive season in the Trans-Pecos”), Karlee D. Cork (“Evaluating novel capture methods of Montezuma quail in central New Mexico”), James D. Eddy (“Effectiveness of Sendero® on Torrey mesquite for scaled quail habitat restoration”), and Brenda I. Gallegos (“Species visitation at quail block feeders”).

Several students also participated in the poster presentations: Silverio Avila-Sanchez (“Use of water and lambing behavior by aoudad and desert bighorn sheep in the Sierra Vieja, Texas”), Jill L. Morgan (Dietary overlap among pronghorn, cattle, and prairie dogs in Trans-Pecos, Texas”), Carolina Medina-Nava (“Trail preference use and large carnivore encounters by visitors of Big Bend National Park”), Alec D. Ritzell (“Distribution of wildlife captured on stratified random remote cameras at Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Texas”), Skyler Stevens (“Distribution and habitat selection by mesocarnivores in Big Bend National Park, Texas”), David Price Rumbelow (“Temporal and spatial distribution of historic human and carnivore encounters in Big Bend National Park”), and Jacquelyn D. Evans (“Comparison of common methods used in wetland seed bank analyses”).

Other representatives of Sul Ross not mentioned by name above include faculty and staff: Dr. Louis Harveson, Dr. Ryan Luna, Dr. Whitney Gann, Thomas Janke and Julie Oesper; graduate students: Philip Boyd, Kiddo Campbell, José Etchart, Carlos Gonzalez Gonzalez, Jacob Lampman, Rich Mrozinski, Nan Nourn, Elizabeth Oaster and Daniel Tidwell; and undergraduate students: Jorge Bustamante, Hunter Dickens and Destinee Love.

On Friday night, BRI hosted the third annual Sul Ross Alumni mixer, sponsored by Big Bend Brewing Company. Between 80 and 100 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends attended.