"Most of the Western Hemisphere's charismatic large mammals no longer exist. As a result, without knowing it, Americans live in a land of ghosts" - Paul S. Martin

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold

Rob Lonsinger

I am currently working on my PhD at the University of Idaho (Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources). As a member of the Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary, and Conservation Genetics, I am advised by Dr. Lisette Waits. My dissertation research focuses on employing noninvasive genetic sampling techniques to assess the demographic parameters of kit fox and coyote populations in western Utah. Furthermore, I am evaluating population genetic structure and the influence that anthropogenic landscape alterations have on the spatial dynamics and connectivity of these populations. My professional interests include landscape genetics, spatial ecology, the effect of anthropogenic landscape alteration on populations, urban ecology, predator-prey dynamics, and statistics.


A student led coalition of University of Idaho (UI) Fish & Wildlife Graduate Students, in collaboration with the UI Sustainability Center, have initiated a seminar series on climate change. This effort has aleady brought one leading scientist, Dr. Shallin Busch, to UI to discuss climate change and its impacts on ocean acidification. Dr. Busch's seminar was a huge success and we hope to build upon that success for the second seminar, featuring Dr. Steven Amstrup.

Dr. Amstrup is a UI alumnus and is currently a Senior Scientist for Polar Bears International (PBI), where he serves as an advocate for polar bears and climate mitigation. He dedicated 30 years of study to polar bears as a biologist for the USGS. Considered the preeminent polar bear researcher in the world, reports from Dr. Amstrup's research team in 2007 and 2008 led to the listing of polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. He was recently awarded the "Indianapolis Award", which is one the highest international honors for animal conservation, as well as the "Our Earth Bambi Award", a national conservation award in Germany, for his contributions to polar bear conservation.

Climate change has received a considerable amount of attention over recent years by scientists, policy makers, and news outlets. For many years, the debate and associated headlines neglected to focus on the consequences of climate change, but rather on whether or not climate change was occurring. It is now recognized by the majority of scientists and supported by strong, credible scientific evidence that accelerated climate change is being driven by anthropogenic influences and that these changes pose a significant risk o natural ecosystems, including the persistence and health of fish and wildlife populations (Van Putten 2002, Root et al. 2003). Despite the growing scientific consensus and risks associated with climate change, American’s rank climate change among the least important public concerns (Brulle et al. 2012).

The primary objectives of the project are to (1) educate students and faculty, as well as the general public, on the impacts that climate change has on fish and wildlife populations, (2) connect changes in fish and wildlife populations to ecosystem health and ecosystem services, and (3) facilitate campus wide interdisciplinary communication. Additional goals of the project are to (1) motivate participants to think more intently about how their day to day decisions influence climate change, (2) encourage sustainable living practices, (3) motivate participants to educate the broader public, and (4) inspire individuals to assert their influence on local, state and federal governments.