Thomas P Rooney
My students and I work on both basic and applied problems in population ecology, community ecology, and conservation biology. Research in my lab addresses these questions: (1) How do deer shape community composition and structure? By foraging selectively, deer affect the growth and survival of many herb, shrub, and tree species. Knock-on effects extend through vegetation, potentially altering the distribution and abundance of herbivore and carnivore guilds. Because white-tailed deer occupy a broad range of habitats and can reproduce rapidly, their populations have increased sharply in recent decades. (2) How do we sustainably manage and restore forest ecosystems? Land use legacies, management history, emerging pathogens, invasive species, ecological complexity, and inadequate inventory and monitoring contribute to the challenge of sustainable and resilient management of forest landscapes and wildlife. Since 1999, I have collaborated with a forest landowner in Wisconsin to address these very challenges.
I am also interested in capacity-building for conservation. Most of the world’s conservation biologists live in developed nations, while most of the need for conservation expertise is in developing nations. I collaborate with an exceptional group of scientists in Pakistan to assess, manage, and protect wildlife and wild places.