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)
Bear, Bobcats, and Animals in your backyard
University of Missouri: Ph.D., Biological Sciences 2007
University of Missouri: M.S., Biological Science 2002
University of Wisconsin: B.S., Wildlife Ecology 2000
Media Appearances (4)
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.
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...”
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...
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...
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.