The National Park Foundation recently announced the three winners of its prestigious Conway Science Fellowships – and two of the three fellowships went to research teams at Oregon State University. The fellowship is an opportunity for postdoctoral scholars to conduct research that can help inform management actions of the National Park Service.

The Conway Science Fellowship in social science was awarded to the team of Evan Bredeweg (right), a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in the College of Agricultural Sciences; and Ashley D’Antonio (left), an assistant professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society in the College of Forestry.

Their project will quantify how the patterns of the roads and trails at Yellowstone National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park might be impacting vegetation and wildlife. Specifically, they will investigate how roads and trails that provide recreational access are causing fragmented habitat – which negatively impacts wildlife.

“Managers at these parks can use this work to help inform park planning to balance recreation use with resource protection and we hope to use a method of analysis that can be repeated in other national parks,” D’Antonio said.

The Conway Science Fellowship in landscape scale was awarded to the team of Christina Aiello (lower left), a postdoctoral scholar, and Clint Epps, an associate professor, both in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

They will use the fellowship to combine traditional and modern survey techniques to understand how desert bighorn sheep populations are connected throughout their fragmented habitat.

“The resulting tools and data will be provided to the National Park Service and other land/wildlife managers in order to facilitate cooperative management of bighorn herds and actions that help combat threats faced by this charismatic species,” Aiello said.