Abrahms Lab

WRF Symposium

Dr. Kasim Rafiq recently presented his work on using animal-worn sensors to understand the impacts of environmental change on African wild dogs and lions at the Washington Research Foundation Symposium, who fund his position at the university. As part of this work, over the past two years, Kasim, Leigh West, and Dr. Briana Abrahms developed and deployed fitness trackers for African carnivores and are currently working with computer scientists to build machine learning algorithms to identify behaviours and hunger from the data collected. Photo credit: Dylan Randolph Photography, WRF symposium 2024

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Welcome Marie-Pier and Meredith!

The Abrahms Lab is growing! This fall we will have two new grad students join us in the Center: Meredith HonigPenguin Camp Meredith is interested in how species interactions shape ecological communities and wildlife population dynamics, especially in the implications of global climate change on these processes. She received a BS in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis in 2020. Meredith’s previous research experiences have encompassed a wide variety of topics including shark social behavior, hummingbird disease ecology, and large carnivore conservation and management. Before coming to the University of Washington, she also conducted research on

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Hunting mode and habitat selection mediate the success of human hunters

Authors: Kaitlyn M. Gaynor, Alex McInturff, Briana L. Abrahms, Alison M. Smith & Justin S. BrasharesJournal: Movement EcologyDOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40462-024-00471-z Abstract Excerpt: “Our study indicates that hunters can successfully employ a diversity of harvest strategies, and that hunting success is mediated by the interacting effects of hunting mode and landscape features. Such results highlight the breadth of human hunting modes, even within a single hunting technique, and lend insight into the varied ways that humans exert predation pressure on wildlife.” Photo credit by FieldsportsChannel.tv – https://www.flickr.com/photos/fieldsportschannel/39148108202/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82827895

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Center paper finalist for Cozzarelli Prize

The paper “Climate presses and pulses mediate the decline of a migratory predator”,” published last year ” is the finalist for the Cozzarelli Prize in the category Class VI: Applied Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Congrats to former Abrahms Lab postdoc Dr.T. J. Clark-Wolf, Dr. Dee Boersma, Dr. Ginger A. Rebstock, and Dr. Briana Abrahms! Read the full press release on the PNAS website.

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Abrahms Lab featured in AppleTV’s “EarthSounds”

If you ever wondered how we use acoustic collars to gain insights into the daily lives of African wild dogs, watch the new nature documentary series EarthSounds on AppleTV! Dr. Briana Abrahms and postdoc Dr. Kasim Rafiq were scientific consultants on the show, while Dr. Rafiq’s and grad student Leigh West‘s research was featured in the episode “Listening to Our Planet” from minutes 16:31-23:20. Watch as Dr. Rafiq identifies wild dogs, deploys a collar, and listens to wild dog chatter in an effort to understand how climate change impacts endangered African carnivores.

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Dr. Briana Abrahms chosen as a Packard Fellow for 2023

Dr. Briana Abrahms has been named a 2023 Packard Fellow for Science and Engineering. As one of 20 new fellows across the country, Abrahms, who holds the Boersma Endowed Chair in Natural History and Conservation, will receive $875,000 over five years for her research. Read the full story here. From all of us at the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels: congratulations on this well-deserved honor!

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Field updates: Botswana, summer 2023

Written by Leigh West African wild dogs are very social animals, living in groups called packs. Wild dog packs have a dominant male and female, and it is this dominant pair that breeds each year to produce litters of pups. Packs of wild dogs are very cooperative, hunting and raising their young together. Two of the wild dogs that the Abrahms Lab collared this summer, Fossey and Cloud, belong to newly formed packs with a very interesting backstory. The dominant male of Marula pack, Sepupa, was killed last summer. This led the pack’s dominant female to leave her home range,

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Humpback whale in singing position. Photo credit NOAA / Dr. Louis M. Herman

Using the power of models to protect whales from possible ship-strikes

Written by Dr. Anna Nisi We have been building cutting-edge models of species distributions for four great whale species – blue, fin, sperm, and humpback whales. One key threat to the great whales is collisions with shipping vessels, and identifying places where ship-strike risk is high is essential for informing mitigation actions like vessel slow-downs. Our next step is to overlay whale distributions with maps of global shipping traffic, to prioritize these areas for conservation action and help protect these vulnerable species. The results of our work will inform expanding vessel slow-down programs to encompass larger areas and reduce whale

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