Research

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Research Interests

Me setting a camera trap (Photo: © Liz Condo)
(Photo: © Liz Condo)

I am interested in the conservation of wildlife in the Guiana Shield and Caribbean. Broadly, I have the following research interests: bird and large mammal ecology and conservation; and the human dimensions of human-wildlife interactions, including and human-wildlife coexistence and conflict.

I am most interested in applied research that aims not only to further scientific understanding, but to influence management and policy to benefit both wildlife and the people who live alongside them. This may range from understanding the effects of land use on wildlife populations, and/or the coexistence of Indigenous communities with wildlife.

My research is inspired by the work of my academic advisors, Dr. Jessica Kahler and Dr. Matthew Hallett, as well as mentors and colleagues, Prof. Jay Mistry and Dr. Andrea Berardi. Their research, and mine, heavily focuses on principles of respect and social justice, especially when working with historically marginalized groups, in this case, Indigenous and local peoples in the Rupununi, Guyana. We aim to not only fairly compensate and train Indigenous peoples to work alongside with us, and include them, community leaders, regional management groups, and community members more broadly, in the research process. This way, we hope to not make the same mistakes that conservationists and other researchers have made in the past. Rather than coming in with solutions, we aim to provide information to community members and leaders for their own decision-making, focusing on their own self-efficacy to manage their resources as they have for thousands of years. This is evident in the continued persistence and health of Guyana’s interior landscapes.

As I journey further into the human-dimensions of conservation, I hope to apply mixed-methodological approaches. I also aim to conduct socio-ecological research that combines social and ecological datasets to inform conservation decisions.

Current Research

Master’s research (MA Criminology, Law, and Society)
Cows walking into a village at dusk

Committee chair/advisor: Dr. Jessica Kahler
Co-advisor: Dr. Matthew Hallett

My current research aims to understand the human-dimensions of human-jaguar coexistence and conflict in the Rupununi region of Guyana. I am applying the interdisciplinary conservation criminology framework to understand risk perceptions, environmental stewardship and guardianship intention towards jaguars and livestock. I am applying criminological and sociological theories and concepts in a new, novel setting: remote, rural, ranches and mostly-Indigenous communities.

This project is part of the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme-Guyana’s wider Human-wildlife conflict project led by Dr. Matthew Hallett.

Other projects
Land-use effects on mammal and ground-bird populations
A chainsaw sits at the base of a tree

I am part of a collaborative project that aims to understand the impacts of extractive land use activities (logging, mining, and hunting) on populations of large and medium-bodied mammals and ground birds in Guyana. We are still in the early phases of this project. Please do get in touch if you would like to take part. We are open to additional data from Guyana, and/or technical assistance in the analyses we plan to conduct.

Past research

Human-black caiman conflict in the North Rupununi wetlands (2017-2019)
Caiman house rangers watch a released black caiman

This project (in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Hallett and Caiman House) was the first study of human-black caiman conflict in the Rupununi region of Guyana. We collected survey data on fishing behaviour, attitudes towards and interactions with black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), the largest aquatic predator in South America.

This project served as the final project for my Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), University of Oxford. I was supervised by Prof. Claudio Sillero-Zubiri and Dr. Kim Jacobsen.

We are currently in the process of publishing our results in a peer-reviewed journal. Once they are accepted, they will be disseminated broadly.

UPDATE: [20220205] The first of our publications has been accepted and is currently In Press in Human Dimensions of Wildlife. The second of our publications has been accepted and is currently In Review in Conservation Science & Practice.

Jaguar populations in a mixed-land use landscape (2014-2015)
Logging in the Siparuni

This project formed part of my Panthera Winston Cobb Memorial Fellowship (2014-2015) research. We studied the large-medium bodied mammals of the Siparuni logging concession operated by Demerara Timbers Ltd. (DTL). This concession featured logging, hunting, and mining.

An internal report for this project is available upon request. We are also planning to publish the findings (along with the data and code) in a peer reviewed journal.

Biodiversity assessment of the Upper Berbice region, Guyana (2014)
Leroy Ignacio and I configuring a GPS unit
(Photo: © Liz Condo)

This collaboration between Panthera-Guyana and WWF-Guianas was one of the first activities I undertook as Panthera-Guyana’s Winston Cobb Memorial Fellow (2014-2015). We used camera traps and track surveys to document the large-medium mammals of a previously understudied (by Western scientists) forest in the Upper Berbice area.

The results from this project were published and are available below.

Research Outputs

Peer-reviewed

In Review

  • Pierre M.A., Jacobsen K.S., Hallett M.T., Harris A.E.M., Melville A., Barnabas H., Sillero-Zubiri C. (Accepted: Major Revisions). Drivers of human-black caiman (Melanosuchus niger) conflict in Indigenous communities in the North Rupununi wetlands, SW Guyana. In Review: Conservation Science and Practice.

In Press

  • Harris A.E.M., Maharaj G., Hallett M.T., Pierre M.A., Chesney C., Melville A. (2023). The influence of diet overlap and nest-site aggression on human-black caiman conflict in Guyana. Human Dimensions of Wildlife. 28(4)

Published

Datasets and code

Please see my GitHub for published datasets and code. The dataset and code for the Upper Berbice Check List paper is stored there, but will be transferred to a long-term repository in future. As I publish more of my work, more data and code will become available.

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