• James D. Murdoch

    Associate Professor | Wildlife Biology

    University of Vermont

  • Welcome and thanks for visiting!

    James (Jed) D. Murdoch | University of Vermont

    About

    Position & Background

    I am a wildlife biologist and Associate Professor of the Wildlife & Fisheries Biology program in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont (USA). I am currently serving as Director of the program. My position involves conducting research on the natural world, teaching and mentoring students, and service to the community and profession.

     

    I am originally from Vermont and joined the University of Vermont in 2009. I earned a BA (Biology) from Colorado College, MS (Biological Sciences) from University of Denver, and DPhil (Zoology - Wildlife Conservation Research Unit) from University of Oxford.

     

    Research

    Aims & Interests

    My research interests focus on the behavior and ecology of mammalian carnivores with an emphasis on their conservation. Much of my experience has focused on the Canidae, including foxes, wild dogs, and wolves, and explored aspects of their sociality, demography, food habits, ranging behavior, and activity patterns. I am also interested in understanding how human activities affect carnivores. For example, how do activities such as landscape development, climate change, and hunting/poaching affect carnivore populations? I use a combination of field studies, experimentation, and modeling to address these questions in a variety of areas including here in Vermont, but also Africa and Asia.

     

    Teaching

    Wildlife biology & conservation

    I teach undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Vermont. Courses include those focusing on conservation biology, wildlife behavior, ecology, and management. I also teach methods courses in estimating species abundance and distribution. Course numbers include: WFB 150, WFB 224, WFB 275, WFB 283, WFB 387, and NR 103.

    Service

    Supporting conservation

    I serve on the Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy - Vermont. TNC has been active in Vermont for over 50 years and is an effective, science-based organization with an outstanding record of conservation success. I am also a member of the Vermont Scientific Advisory Group for Mammals, which provides scientific advice to the State of Vermont.

  • News

    Recent updates

    American marten in the northeastern USA (8/21/17)

    Congratulations to Cody Aylward for successfully completing his Masters of Science through our graduate program! The title of his thesis was: Estimating landscape quality and genetic structure of recovering American marten populations in the northeastern United States. Cody has two manuscripts forthcoming and we will post products from the project on the Northeastern States Research Cooperative website.

    Moose ecology in Vermont (8/21/17)

    Jake DeBow of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VFWD) recently joined our M.S. graduate program in wildlife science. His project will focus on moose survival and recruitment in partnership with VFWD, which is monitoring a radio-collared population of moose in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Welcome Jake!

    Oribi, zebra, wildebeest density in Zambia (6/24/17)

    Colleague Jassiel M'Soka recently had a paper published on the influence on environment and people on the density and distribution of oribi, zebra, and wildebeest in Zambia. The paper is 'Early View'. See: M'soka, J., S. Creel, M. Becker, and J. Murdoch. 2017. Ecological and anthropogenic effects on the density of migratory and resident ungulates in a human-inhabited protected area. African Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12398

    UVM Kroepsch-Maurice Award (5/17/17)

    I am absolutely delighted (and humbled) to have won the University of Vermont's Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award. The award is truly an honor. For details, please see the university's Center for Teaching and Learning.

    ASM travel award (4/10/17)

    Congratulations to Cody Aylward, who is a graduate student in our wildlife group, for receiving a Travel Award from the American Society of Mammalogists to attend their annual conference held this year in Idaho. Cody will be presenting his work on American marten genetics and distribution in the northeastern United States.

    Managing argali as an ecosystem service (3/6/17)

    We just had a paper accepted that describes how landscape characteristics influence the distribution of argali sheep, the world's largest mountain sheep and an important cultural ecosystem service provider in Mongolia. The article was just published: Murdoch, J., R. Reading, S. Amgalanbaatar, G. Wingard, and B. Lkhagvasuren. 2017. Ecological interactions shape the distribution of a cultural ecosystem service: argali sheep (Ovis ammon) in the Gobi-Steppe of Mongolia. Biological Conservation 209:315-322.

    Teaching climate change & sustainability (2/14/17)

    Kim Coleman of the Vermont Higher Education Council spearheaded an assessment of service-learning pedagogy to improve student learning around climate change and sustainability. Her work synthesized data from four courses colleagues and I taught and has some nice results. The work was supported by the Northern New England Campus Compact (NNECC) and U.S. EPA. Coleman, K., J. Murdoch, S. Rayback, A. Seidl, and K. Wallin. 2017. Students' understanding of sustainability and climate change across linked service-learning courses. Journal of Geoscience Education 65:158-167.

    Wolves, pastoralists, and livestock (1/18/17)

    Colleague Stefan Ekernas just published a great paper in Conservation Biology that brought together lots of work on wolves, argali, and people at our field site (Ikh Nart Nature Reserve) in Mongolia. Check it out: Ekernas, L. S., W. M. Sarmento, H. S. Davie, R. P. Reading, J. Murdoch, G. J. Wingard, S. Amgalanbaatar, and J. Berger. 2017. Desert pastoralists' negative and positive effects on rare wildlife in the Gobi. Conservation Biology 31:269-277.

  • Research projects

    A snapshot of current projects

    Effects of landscape

    change on

    carnivores

    Mongolia

    Maximizing protected area

    conservation for wildlife

    Mongolia

    American marten

    genetics and distribution

    Vermont, USA

     

    Decision-making

    for wildlife under

    scenarios of

    climate change

    Vermont, USA

    Moose ecology

    Vermont, USA

  • Publications

    A selection of recent articles | Google Scholar profile

    Martes americana (c) VFWD

    Marten population genetics

    Northeastern usa

    Aylward, C., J. Murdoch, and C. W. Kilpatrick. In review.
    Genetic legacies of isolated relic populations and a translocation of American marten in the northeastern United States. Conservation Genetics.

    Martes americana (c) D. Hall, VFWD

    Marten distribution & connectivity

    Northeastern usa

    Aylward, C., J. Murdoch, T. Donovan, C. W. Kilpatrick, and C. Bernier. In review. Estimating distribution and connectivity of recolonizing American marten in the northeastern United States using expert elicitation techniques. Animal Conservation.

    Lynx rufus (c) J. Murdoch

    Bobcat habitat selection

    Vermont, USA

    Abouelezz, H., T. Donovan, J. Murdoch, R. Mickey, M. Freeman, and K. Royar. In review. Landscape composition mediates movement and habitat selection in bobcats (Lynx rufus): Implications for conservation planning. Landscape Ecology.

    Ovis ammon, (c) R. Reading

    Argali and ecosystem services

    Mongolia

    Murdoch, J., R. Reading, S. Amgalanbaatar, G. Wingard, and B. Lkhagvasuren. 2017. Ecological interactions shape the distribution of a cultural ecosystem service: argali sheep (Ovis ammon) in the Gobi-Steppe of Mongolia. Biological Conservation 209:315-322.

    Crocuta crocuta, (c) J. Murdoch

    Wildebeest, zebra, oribi density

    zambia

    M’soka, J., S. Creel, M. Becker, and J. Murdoch. 2017. Ecological and anthropogenic effects on the density of migratory and resident ungulates in a human-inhabited protected area. African Journal of Ecology 55:618-631.

    Lynx rufus, (c) A. Krahl

    Wildlife & landscape development

    Vermont, usa

    Espenshade, J., J. Murdoch, T. Donovan, R. Manning, C. Bettigole, and J. Austin. In review. Public acceptability of development in the Northern Forest of Vermont, USA – the influence of wildlife information, recreation involvement, and demographic characteristics. PLOS ONE.

    Vulpes vulpes, (c) J. Murdoch

    Argali corridor mapping

    MONGOLIA

    Murdoch, J., R. Reading, S. Amgalanbaatar, G. Wingard, and B. Lkhagvasuren. 2017. Argali sheep (Ovis ammon) movement corridors between critical resources in Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Mongolia. Mongolian Journal of Biological Sciences 15:3-11.

    Herder ger camp, (c) J. Murdoch

    Argali, wolves, and pastoralists

    Mongolia

    Ekernas, L. S., W. M. Sarmento, H. S. Davie, R. P. Reading, J. Murdoch, G. J. Wingard, S. Amgalanbaatar, and J. Berger. 2017. Desert pastoralists' negative and positive effects on rare wildlife in the Gobi. Conservation Biology 31:269-277.

    Ikh Nart, (c) J. Murdoch

    Developing a model reserve

    Mongolia

    Reading, R., J. Murdoch, S. Amgalanbaatar, H. Davie, M. Jorgensen, D. Kenny, T. Munkhzul, G. Onloragcha, L. Rhodes, J. Schneider, T. Selenge, E. Stotz, S. Buyandelger, E. Tuguldur, and G. Wingard. 2016. From "paper park" to model protected area: transformation of Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, Mongolia. IUCN Parks 22.2:25-38.

    Vulpes corsac, (c) X. Eichaker

    Corsac foxes and habitat loss

    Mongolia

    Lkhagvasuren, M., J. Murdoch, T. Munkhzul, and A. Strong. 2016. Predicting the effects of habitat loss on corsac fox occupancy in Mongolia. Journal of Mammalogy 97:1153-1163.

    Mesechinus dauuricus, (c) R. Reading

    Hedgehog radio-telemetry

    Mongolia

    Reading, R., D. Kenny, J. Murdoch, and S. Batdorj. 2016. Use of dental restorative temporization material for attaching radiotransmitters to hedgehogs. Wildlife Society Bulletin 40:355-358.

    Vulpes vulpes, (c) R. Reading

    Red fox distribution

    Mongolia

    Murdoch, J., H. Davie, M. Galbadrah, and R. P. Reading. 2016. Factors influencing red fox occupancy probability in central Mongolia. Mammalian Biology 81:82-88.

    Vulpes vulpes, (c) J. Murdoch

    Red fox phylogeny

    Global

    Statham, M., J. Murdoch, J. Janecka, K. Aubry, C. Edwards, C. Soulsbury, O. Berry, Z. Wang, D. Harrison, M. Pearch, L. Tomsett, J. Chupasko, and B. Sacks. 2014. Range-wide multilocus phylogeography of the red fox reveals ancient continental divergence, minimal genomic exchange and distinct demographic histories. Molecular Ecology 23:4813-4830.

  • Graduate students

    Current students and their projects

    Jake DeBow

    Jake DeBow

    M.S. program

    Jake's project focuses on moose survival and recruitment in Vermont. His graduate work is supported by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and is part of a region-wide effort to understand moose ecology in the northeastern United States. Co-advisor: Dr. Terri Donovan, USGS VCFWRU.

    Skye Pearman-Gillman

    Skye Pearman-Gillman

    Ph.D. program

    Skye's project focuses on wildlife responses to climate change in the northeastern United States. Her graduate work is supported by a USDA McIntire-Stennis research grant. Co-advisor: Dr. Terri Donovan, USGS VCFWRU.

    Elias Rosenblatt

    Elias Rosenblatt

    Ph.D. program

    Eli's project examines the physiological responses of moose to landscape change in the northeastern US. His graduate work is supported by the Steven Rubenstein Ph.D. Fellowship and a USDA McIntire-Stennis research grant. Co-advisor: Dr. Terri Donovan, USGS VCFWRU.

  • Collaborators

    Research partners

    Martes pennanti, (c) J. Murdoch

    Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

    USA

    A main partner for research in Vermont and northeastern US is the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department of the Agency of Natural Resources.

    Mongolia landscape, (c) D. Jackson

    Mongolian Academy of Sciences

    Mongolia

    A main partner for research in Asia is the Mongolian Academy of Sciences Institute of General and Experimental Biology, Mammalian Ecology Laboratory.

    South Luangwa landscape, (c) J. Murdoch

    Zambian

    Carnivore Programme

    Zambia

    A main partner for research in Africa is the Zambian Carnivore Programme that works country-wide on carnivore conservation issues.

  • Contact

    +1 (802) 656-2912 | jmurdoch@uvm.edu

    ×
    This is a personal website for James (Jed) D. Murdoch and the information, text, images, videos, content, opinions, and representations do not necessarily reflect those of the UVM Wildlife and Fisheries Biology Program, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, The Nature Conservancy, or other organizations or entities mentioned on the site.  All text, images, and videos are copyrighted.  Use of text, images and other elements of this site requires permission from the author/photographer/producer.  Videos may be used for free for educational purposes (any form of commercial use not allowed) and there is no guarantee on their content.  If you have questions, please contact James Murdoch by email at jmurdoch@uvm.edu.