Millions of animals, plants, and wildlife products are moved across the global every year. This trade of wildlife presents serious conservation and biosecurity threats. Removing plants and animals from their natural habitat can endanger populations with extinction. Also, moving plants and animals can result in spread of diseases and produce new invasive species. My research seeks to understand the dynamics of the wildlife trade of live animals, in particular the conservation threats and invasive species risks.
The Internet is a vast source of data on the wildlife trade. Data collected from the Internet can inform conservation, biosecurity, and law enforcement efforts. Yet, collecting data from the Internet has been an underutilized approach. I created a working guide for using the Internet to quantify wildlife trade. This guide outlines how to find relevant websites and methods to collect data.
Invasive species cause ecological, economic damage, and can even endanger human health. Biological Invasions are compartmentalized into discrete stages. My research focuses on the earliest stages of biological invasions: transport, introduction, and establishment. In particular, I explore the consequences of the wildlife trade as a source of new invasive species. I seek to answer questions such as: what makes certain species more common in the trade? Why are certain species of exotic pets released into the environment over others? In addition, I explore theoretical underpinnings of non-native establishments.
Wildlife populations face numerous threats to their existence including habitat destruction, climate change, poaching, and invasive species. I study the consequences of wildlife trade on wildlife persistance. In particular, I explore the fate of certain desirable species that are harvest for the pet trade. Also, I use quantitative population models to determine the extinction fate of populations under different management scenarios. One example includes modelling the effects of installing predator fences for the endangered piping plover populations.