"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 Glimpse Into the Past

For the last few days, I have had the pleasure of sampling specimens at the Natural History Museum of Utah. It is a marvelous museum, and the staff and curators have granted me permission to sample nearly 100 historic kit fox specimens from across western Utah. I have been sampling both skins and skulls for DNA, which I will use to investigate how kit fox genetic diversity and effective population size have changed over the past 50 (plus) years in western Utah. The samples were collected from 1949 to 1970, with the majority of the samples being from the early 1950’s. It is fortuitous to have such a substantial reference collection to work with and I am grateful for the support and collaborative nature of the museum.

If you are ever in Salt Lake City, don’t miss out on the natural history museum!