posted by: dflagel
I’m David Flagel, a third year Ph.D student from the Belovsky Lab. We are located in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. I am interested in how various mammal populations influence forest regeneration and in turn the plant community as a whole. During my undergraduate I did field research on seed predation in the tropical forests of Panama. My current work focuses on how recolonizing gray wolves may be generating various trophic cascades in Great Lakes forests. Trophic cascades occur when a predator influences populations lower on the food chain (i.e. deer, mesopredators, rodents) to a great enough degree that the plant community is also affected, including positive changes in biodiversity and physical structure.
Myself and a large male wolf that we captured, tranquilized, and equipped with a tracking collar in the UNDERC-East forest.
I would love to work with K-12 STEM educators on projects demonstrating the importance of predation, herbivory, and granivory in community structure, even right here in Indiana’s woodlands! If you have any suggestions for how I could help, please message me. Some ideas include seed removal counts and small demo exclosures. I could also blog about my use of the scientific method, as well as discuss the ethics and cautions that must be taken working with mammals (especially protected species).