Species-Habitat Associations

What types of resources do species need (or prefer)? How can we use this information to predict where species occur and how they might respond to environmental change?   

Current Projects....

Factors Influencing Distribution and Recovery of the Carolina Heelsplitter 

We are collaborating with Dr. Stephen Spear (The Wilds), Dr. John Morse (Clemson University) and federal agency biologists to develop an environmental DNA (eDNA) protocol for detecting the federally endangered Carolina heelsplitter in South Carolina streams. We plan to use our protocol to investigate factors influencing heelsplitter habitat suitability and species recovery.  We are simultaneously using aquatic insect communities to identify barriers to connectivity between remnant heelsplitter population segments. 

Photo credit: Tom Murphy

Resource Selection of American Alligators in Human-Dominated Landscapes

We are collaborating with Nemours Wildlife Foundation and both state and local biologists to understand how alligators use human-dominated landscapes in coastal South Carolina.  Our findings will help inform planning of residential landscapes to minimize human-alligator encounters. 

Resource Selection of Larval Hellbenders 

We are currently collaborating with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and Dr. Shem Unger, Carolina Headwaters LLC to investigate resource selection patterns of emergent hellbender larvae. 

A Comparison of Artificial Shelter Designs for Eastern Hellbenders 

Artificial shelters were first developed for as a conservation tool for hellbenders in 2008.  Since then, multiple designs have been proposed.  We are comparing resilience and hellbender preference for two artificial shelter designs in order to inform future monitoring and habitat restoration efforts.   

Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Clemson University

Clemson SC 29634