Defining Great Horned Owl Foraging Ecology as a Function of Ecosystem Structure and Restoration

Principal Investigators: Dr. Mitchell Weegman & Dr. Matthew Gompper

Institution and/or Affiliation: University of Missouri

Project Description: 

Whereas researchers commonly base the success of restoration efforts on megafauna and flora, little research has been conducted on how avian predators influence community dynamics in mixed prairie and woodland systems. This study will provide insights into the ecology of a poorly understood apex predator, the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), quantify how restored and forested ecosystems such as those found at Prairie Fork Conservation Area (PFCA) are used by these owls, and provide experiences to undergraduates in field techniques and experimental design. Thus, this project addresses multiple 2017 emphasis areas, including the occurrence and distribution of prairie-associated fauna, restoration of prairie-associated vertebrates and invertebrates, and assessment of the efficacy of conservation education programs and strategies.