James D. Murdoch
Associate Professor | Wildlife Biology
University of Vermont
Welcome and thanks for visiting!
James (Jed) D. Murdoch | University of Vermont
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). My position involves conducting research, teaching and mentoring students, and service to the community and profession. I am also a Fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment.
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.
Aims & Interests
My research interests focus on the behavior and ecology of wildlife with an emphasis on their management and conservation. Much of my experience has focused on large mammals, including carnivores and ungulates, and explored questions related to abundance and distribution, landscape connectivity, habitat selection, prey use, and demography. I am also interested in understanding how human activities affect wildlife. For example, how do activities such as landscape development, climate change, and hunting/poaching affect wildlife 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.
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.
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.
Mapping wildlife connectivity (4/9/2021)
Excited to announce that Dr. Stephanie McKay and I just received a grant from the Northeastern States Research Cooperative for a project entitled: Integrating genetic and ecological data using a new circuit theory approach to measure and map wildlife connectivity across the Northeast. The project is in partnership with the USDA Forest Service Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests and state fish and wildlife agencies in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Kit fox occupancy during an epizootic (1/11/21)
Well done to Nicole Deatherage for leading an analysis of San Joaquin kit fox occupancy patterns during an epizootic (sarcoptic mange). Results of the study were just published: Deatherage, N., B. Cypher, J. Murdoch, T. Westall, E. Kelly, and D. Germano. 2021. Urban landscape attributes affect occupancy patterns of the San Joaquin kit fox during an epizootic. Pacific Conservation Biology, https://doi.org/10.1071/PC20059.
Kit fox occupancy during a decline (12/4/20)
Congratulations to Nicole Deatherage from CSU Bakersfield/ESRP for completing a study that examined factors affecting kit fox occupancy patterns during a population decline from sarcoptic mange. Results of the study were just accepted for publication: Deatherage, N., B. Cypher, J. Murdoch, T. Westall, E. Kelly, and D. Germano. In press. Urban landscape attributes affect occupancy patterns of the San Joaquin kit fox during a population decline due to sarcoptic mange. Pacific Conservation Biology.
NE Transportation & Wildlife Conference (9/30/20)
Congratulations to Caitlin Drasher for an outstanding presentation at the Northeast Transportation and Wildlife Conference entitled: Ranking transportation structures for wildlife connectivity in Vermont. Caitlin presented on new approach to visualizing and modeling wildlife connectivity using electrical circuit analysis as part of our project with the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
Wildlife resistance to change (9/15/20)
Well done again to Skye Pearman-Gillman for publishing a comprehensive analysis of wildlife resistance to future land use and climate change. The paper modeled and mapped wildlife resistance (multiple species) across the New England landscape and in relation to the protected area network: Pearman-Gillman, S., M. Duveneck, J. Murdoch, and T. Donovan. 2020. Wildlife resistance and protection in a changing New England landscape. PLoS ONE 15(9): e0239525.
Wildlife and future landscape change (6/5/20)
Congratulations to Skye Pearman-Gillman for publishing an assessment of the impacts of future landscape change on the distribution of 10 wildlife species in the New England region of the northeastern US. Here are the details: Pearman-Gillman, S., M. Duveneck, J. Murdoch, and T. Donovan. 2020. Drivers and consequences of alternative landscape futures on wildlife distributions in New England, United States. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 8:164 doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.00164.
Gund Institute for Environment (5/20/20)
I am delighted to have joined the Gund Institute for Environment as a Fellow. The Gund Institute is based at the University of Vermont and brings scholars and leaders together to accelerate research, uncover solutions and tackle the world's most pressing environmental issues. I look forward to contributing to this vibrant community.
Rabies vaccinations and wildlife (5/7/20)
I am thrilled to announce a new project that will involve evaluating rabies vaccination strategies for wildlife in partnership with USDA APHIS Wildlife Services National Rabies Management Program, National Wildlife Research Center, and the Vermont Wildlife Services operational program. The project will help inform wildlife disease management decisions, especially along the urban-suburban interface, and is set to begin this summer.
Marten gene flow -- COVER article (2/10/20)
Cody Aylward spearheaded a new analysis of marten gene flow at multiple spatial scales in the northeastern US. Delighted to announce that the paper has been published in the journal Heredity. The article made the cover of the journal! Here are details: Aylward, C., J. Murdoch, C. W. Kilpatrick. 2020. Multiscale landscape genetics of American marten at their southern range periphery. Heredity.
A snapshot of current projects
Vermont and Northeastern USA
strategies for wildlife
Wildlife and road
Effects of landscape
for wildlife and people
A selection of recent articles | Google Scholar profile
Kit fox occupancy during an epizootic
Deatherage, N., B. Cypher, J. Murdoch, T. Westall, E. Kelly, and D. Germano. 2021. Urban landscape attributes affect occupancy patterns of the San Joaquin kit fox during an epizootic. Pacific Conservation Biology, https://doi.org/10.1071/PC20059.
Wildlife resistance to change
Wildlife and landscape change
Pearman-Gillman, S., M. Duveneck, J. Murdoch, and T. Donovan. 2020. Drivers and consequences of alternative landscape futures on wildlife distributions in New England, United States. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 8:164 doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.00164.
Wildlife distribution patterns
Pearman-Gillman, S., J. Katz, R. Mickey, J. Murdoch, and T. Donovan. 2020. Predicting wildlife distribution patterns in New England USA based on expert elicitation techniques. Global Ecology and Conservation 21:e00853.
Wildlife & landscape development
Espenshade, J., J. Murdoch, T. Donovan, R. Manning, C. Bettigole, and J. Austin. 2018. Public acceptability of development in the Northern Forest of Vermont, USA – the influence of wildlife information, recreation involvement, and demographic characteristics. PLoS ONE 13(12): e0203515.
Marten population genetics
Aylward, C., J. Murdoch, and C. W. Kilpatrick. 2019.
Genetic legacies of translocation and relictual populations of American marten at the southeastern margin of their distribution. Conservation Genetics 20:275-286.
Bobcat habitat selection
Abouelezz, H., T. Donovan, J. Murdoch, R. Mickey, M. Freeman, and K. Royar. 2018. Landscape composition mediates movement and habitat selection in bobcats (Lynx rufus): Implications for conservation planning. Landscape Ecology 33:1301-1318.
Marten distribution & connectivity
Aylward, C., J. Murdoch, T. Donovan, C. W. Kilpatrick, and C. Bernier. 2018. Estimating distribution and connectivity of recolonizing American marten in the northeastern United States using expert elicitation techniques. Animal Conservation 21:483-495.
Moose genetic tool
Kalbfleisch, T. S., B. M. Murdoch, T. P. L. Smith, J. D. Murdoch, M. P. Heaton, and S. D. McKay. 2018. A SNP resource for studying North American moose. F1000Research 7:40. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.13501.1
Argali and ecosystem services
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.
Wildebeest, zebra, oribi density
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.
Argali corridor mapping
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.
Argali, wolves, and pastoralists
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.
Developing a model reserve
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.
Corsac foxes and habitat loss
Red fox phylogeny
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.
Current students and their projects
Maggie's project focuses on aspects of the rabies vaccination strategies in Vermont in partnership with the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services National Rabies Management Program, National Wildlife Research Center, and the Vermont Wildlife Services operational program.
Dual M.S./M.E.S.L. program
Matt is part of the Vermont Law School / University of Vermont dual degree program. Matt's research focuses on the effectiveness of legislation on wildlife conservation in Vermont in partnership with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
USDA Forest Service - Green Mountains
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 email@example.com.