OTHER PYTHON WORK
I currently work on many other aspects of invasive python science with UF and USGS. I have worked extensively on python spatial ecology using traditional VHF radio telemetry, including using the "Judas" technique as a potential control tool, and python translocation. I have worked on developing eDNA for detection of large constrictors in the Everglades, on projects assessing python impacts to native mammal and snake communities, and on construction and development of a python research facility in Davie, FL.
The majority of my non-python work is with sea turtles. I have been working on USGS sea turtle projects annually since 2011. Our field sites include Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida), Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix, USVI), and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (Alabama).
Other smaller projects that I contribute to work with diamonback terrapins, American alligators, and American crocodiles.
Second, I wanted to understand fine-scale movements of pythons in relation to environmental conditions.
The crux of the whole python problem is simply that pythons are extremely hard to find. They are most detectable when they are out moving, therefore understanding their movement patterns is crucial for developing control techniques. I'm interested in how habitat, weather, and biological rhythms interact to influence python movement patterns, and ultimately, in predicting them.
Third, I wanted to understand how python resource use changed across the vast landscape of southern Florida.
Pythons have had extreme impacts in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, most notably by devastating mesomammal populations. Previous work has looked at python gut contents, but I wanted to get a complementary picture of how pythons consume resources, so I turned to stable isotope analysis, in collaboration with Dr. Amanda Demopoulos.
My Master's thesis research at UF focused on python spatial ecology. I had three main objectives:
First, I wanted to evaluate the use of GPS technology to study large snakes.
GPS technology has proven extremely useful in studying other taxa, but GPS often relies on having a clear view of the sky. Miniature tags, implanted under a python's skin, might not perform well when pythons select for dense vegetation cover. (Publication currently in review).