Our work doesn’t stop with discovering life on Earth—we’re also helping to sustain it.
Woven throughout the breathtaking forests of the Western United States is a dilemma that encapsulates the complexities of twenty-first century conservation. Jack Dumbacher’s research about the relationship between the region’s native endangered Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis) and its populous relative— the barred owl (Strix varia)—has uncovered controversies surrounding land and species management in the face of modern deforestation.
“We were alarmed by rapidly declining spotted owl populations, and suspected that they were being edged out by—and possibly hybridizing with—more aggressive barred owls showing up outside of their traditional range,” says Dumbacher. “With the clock ticking for endangered spotted owls, we needed to study these interactions to properly guide species survival plans.”