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Tracy Rittenhouse, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Tracy Rittenhouse, Ph.D. Tracy Rittenhouse, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment, director of the Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Center | University of Connecticut


Tracy Rittenhouse is an expert in the study of wildlife populations - bobcats, bear, frogs - within exurban development.


Tracy and her graduate students study where animals live, movements animals make when traveling through habitats, and why wildlife populations persist in some locations but not others. We work within globally relevant conservation contexts, forest fragmentation, urban development, and disease epidemics, yet we focus on the uniqueness of local places and serve the research needs of managers who make decision about wildlife populations.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Citizen Science

Forest Management

Wildlife Populations

Wetland Ecology

Ranavirus Epidemics

Habitat Management

Bear, Bobcats, and Animals in your backyard

Education (3)

University of Missouri: Ph.D., Biological Sciences 2007

University of Missouri: M.S., Biological Science 2002

University of Wisconsin: B.S., Wildlife Ecology 2000






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NRE 3345 Wildlife Management Techniques - Tracy Rittenhouse - UConn NRE Video Series


Media Appearances (7)

DEEP sees an increase of bobcats in cities

Fox 61  tv


"We’re definitely finding reproduction in urban places. They will move their kits around from place to place since sometimes the females will put them in features of the landscape that we would consider human – they’ll leave them in sheds occasionally," said Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse of UConn's Department of Natural Resources & the Environment.

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The Bears Are Back in Town, and Some People Say CT Should Take Action

NBC Connecticut  tv


This sighting is not a surprise to University of Connecticut professor Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse, based on her research. “We looked at the movements of GPS collared bears in neighborhoods with different housing densities, and we showed that in neighborhoods with lots of houses, bears were more likely to walk closer to houses and farther from roads, than in places with lower housing densities,” Rittenhouse explained.

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Uptick in Bear Break-ins Across Connecticut

NBC Connecticut  tv


Foxes, bobcats, bears oh my! Those are the sentiments of residents in the West Hartford area as they’ve been dealing with an overwhelming amount of bear sightings. UConn expert Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse weighs in on the uptick in black bear interactions in Connecticut.

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Where Do the Bears Come From? UConn Expert Weighs In

NBC Connecticut  online


University of Connecticut researcher Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse explains what her study revealed about where bears live in Connecticut.

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An Increase In the Bear Population Has Led to Calls for Legal Hunts. But Is That Really Safer?

Connecticut Magazine  online


Bear-hunt proponents believe a hunt would help instill a healthy fear of humans in more bears. Tracy Rittenhouse, a professor of wildlife ecology in UConn’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, says, “The scientific literature provides good evidence for other wildlife species changing their behavior in response to hunting,” but adds, “I think the evidence in the scientific literature specific to black bears just hasn’t been collected...”

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Priscilla Feral: Bears to residents: Won’t you be my Neighbor?

The Register Citizen  online


While it may be a new experience for some Connecticut residents to see black bears in their neighborhoods, UConn professor and ecologist Tracy Rittenhouse, who led a four-year research project studying the state’s black bear population, has said she thinks it’s uplifting there’s an animal who is actually able to survive in a state with 3.6 million people...

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Black Bears In Connecticut Focus Of Natural History Museum Lecture at UConn

Hartford Courant  online


The Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at UConn presents "Black Bears In Connecticut: When, Where, And How Many?," a lecture by Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse from UConn's Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. The lecture will be held on Saturday, December 2, 1 pm in the Biology/Physics Building, Room 130, UConn Storrs Campus...

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Articles (5)

Quantifying climate sensitivity and climate-driven change in North American amphibian communities

Nature Communications

2018 Changing climate will impact species’ ranges only when environmental variability directly impacts the demography of local populations. However, measurement of demographic responses to climate change has largely been limited to single species and locations. Here we show that amphibian communities are responsive to climatic variability, using> 500,000 time-series observations for 81 species across 86 North American study areas.

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Range position and climate sensitivity: The structure of among‐population demographic responses to climatic variation

Global Change Biology

2017 Species’ distributions will respond to climate change based on the relationship between local demographic processes and climate and how this relationship varies based on range position. A rarely tested demographic prediction is that populations at the extremes of a species’ climate envelope (e.g., populations in areas with the highest mean annual temperature) will be most sensitive to local shifts in climate (i.e., warming).

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Black bear recolonization patterns in a human-dominated landscape vary based on housing: New insights from spatially explicit density models

Landscape and Urban Planning

2017 Housing development is often intermixed within natural land cover, creating coupled human-natural systems that benefit some species, while eliminating critical habitat for others. As carnivore populations recover and expand in North America, understanding how populations may recolonize human-dominated landscapes is an important goal for conservation.

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Camera trap arrays improve detection probability of wildlife: Investigating study design considerations using an empirical dataset

Public Library of Science

2017 Camera trapping is a standard tool in ecological research and wildlife conservation. Study designs, particularly for small-bodied or cryptic wildlife species often attempt to boost low detection probabilities by using non-random camera placement or baited cameras, which may bias data, or incorrectly estimate detection and occupancy. We investigated the ability of non-baited, multi-camera arrays to increase detection probabilities of wildlife.

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Quantitative evidence for the effects of multiple drivers on continental-scale amphibian declines

Scientific Reports

2016 Since amphibian declines were first proposed as a global phenomenon over a quarter century ago, the conservation community has made little progress in halting or reversing these trends. The early search for a “smoking gun” was replaced with the expectation that declines are caused by multiple drivers.

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