Raleigh Novel Object Experiments

The urban-to-wild gradient of human development that surrounds most cities offers an excellent experimental setting to study the evolution of species to anthropogenic change. The novel challenges to the survival of wildlife in urban ecosystems (e.g. proximity to humans, busy roads, pollution) often lead to the decline and extirpation of many species from urban environments. However, the last few decades have shown that animals can adapt, as some species have recently colonized urban environments where they now thrive. In this study, we are testing if there are differences in animal behaviors (e.g. boldness) across an urban to rural gradient.

Caveats: We are placing two camera traps in people's backyards about ~50 m apart in rural, exurban, and suburban development zones. After three weeks, we are placing a lawn flamingo at one of the camera trap sites. We are measuring animals' responses to the plastic lawn flamingo and testing to see if they vary across a urban-rural gradient.

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