Travis L. DeVault

Travis L. DeVault
University of Georgia | UGA · Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

PhD

About

206
Publications
54,582
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Introduction
I am a wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist interested in understanding and resolving human-wildlife conflicts. My collaborators and I develop methods to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, with emphasis on understanding animal behavior in response to vehicle approach. Also, I study the ecology of vertebrate scavengers and the ecosystem services they provide.

Publications

Publications (206)
Article
Full-text available
Scavenging plays a vital role in maintaining ecosystem health and contributing to ecological functions; however, research in this sub-discipline of ecology is underutilized in developing and implementing wildlife conservation and management strategies. We provide an examination of the literature and recommend priorities for research where improved...
Article
Full-text available
Animals seem to rely on antipredator behavior to avoid vehicle collisions. There is an extensive body of antipredator behavior theory that have been used to predict the distance/time animals should escape from predators. These models have also been used to guide empirical research on escape behavior from vehicles. However, little is known as to whe...
Article
Scavenging is a pervasive foraging strategy among vertebrates, yet researchers have only recently begun to reveal the complex implications of scavenging dynamics. Scavenging studies have predominantly used lower trophic level (i.e., herbivore) species as carrion bait, and the few studies that have used higher trophic level (i.e., carnivore) carrion...
Article
Full-text available
Food availability resulting from anthropogenic land-use changes may have contributed to the recent increase of Cathartes aura (Turkey Vulture) and Coragyps atratus (Black Vulture) populations. We assessed anthropogenic contributions to diets of these species by analyzing 176 pellets collected from communal roosts in coastal South Carolina. To provi...
Article
Full-text available
Species assemblages often have a non‐random nested organization, which in vertebrate scavenger (carrion‐consuming) assemblages is thought to be driven by facilitation in competitive environments. However, not all scavenger species play the same role in maintaining assemblage structure, as some species are obligate scavengers (i.e., vultures) and ot...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animals seem to rely on antipredator behavior to avoid vehicle collisions. There is an extensive body of antipredator behavior theory that have been used to predict the distance/time animals should escape from predators. These models have also been used to guide empirical research on escape behavior from vehicles. However, little is known as to whe...
Article
Full-text available
The Human Influence Index (HII) quantifies anthropogenic landscape pressures by combining eight measures of human influence: human population density, built environments, crop lands, pasture lands, lights, roads, railways and navigable waterways. The comparative influence of the HII components on cause-specific mammal mortality remains unexplored....
Article
Full-text available
A challenge that conservation practitioners face is manipulating behavior of nuisance species. The turkey vulture ( Cathartes aura ) can cause substantial damage to aircraft if struck. The goal of this study was to assess vulture responses to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for use as a possible dispersal tool. Our treatments included three platfor...
Article
Full-text available
Recent increases in turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and black vulture (Coragyps atratus) populations in North America have been attributed in part to their success adapting to human-modified landscapes. However, the capacity for such landscapes to generate favorable roosting conditions for these species has not been thoroughly investigated. We asse...
Article
Birds striking aircraft cause substantial economic loss worldwide and, more worryingly, human and wildlife fatalities. Designing effective measures to avoid fatal bird strikes requires in‐depth knowledge of the characteristics of this incident type and the flight behaviors of the bird species involved. The characteristics of bird strikes involving...
Article
Full-text available
While most animal behavior researchers have mastered the process of knowledge creation, generating knowledge that can readily be applied requires a different set of skills. The process and timeframe of fundamental scientific knowledge production is often not relevant to those who might apply it, such as conservation or wildlife managers. Additional...
Article
1. Roads have numerous negative impacts for mammals, but may also serve as attractants due to altered vegetation or provisioning of resources. 2. We reviewed the use of roads and their associated features by mammals, in order to understand the ecological factors contributing to road use. 3. We documented 129 studies that recorded road use by 116 ma...
Article
Full-text available
The organization of ecological assemblages has important implications for ecosystem functioning, but little is known about how scavenger communities organize at the global scale. Here, we test four hypotheses on the factors affecting the network structure of terrestrial vertebrate scavenger assemblages and its implications on ecosystem functioning....
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Animal–vehicle collisions cause many millions of animal deaths each year worldwide and present a substantial safety risk to people. In the United States and Canada, deer (Odocoileus spp.) are involved in most animal–vehicle collisions associated with human injuries. We evaluated a vehicle‐based collision mitigation method designed to decre...
Article
Full-text available
Ninety-three percent of all reported bird strikes occur below 1,067 m, which based on the typical approach and departure angles of aircraft is within 8–13 km of an airport. Concomitantly, the Federal Aviation Administration and the International Civil Aviation Organization recommend that any feature that would attract hazardous wildlife to the appr...
Article
Mortality of mammals from vehicle collisions is common, but there remain questions regarding how species traits influence vehicle collision vulnerability. We analyzed a database of North American mammal cause-specific mortality to examine factors influencing vehicle mortality. Our dataset consisted of 421 studies that monitored 34,798 individuals a...
Article
Double‐crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) recovered from a demographic bottleneck so well that they are now considered a nuisance species at breeding and wintering grounds across the United States and Canada. Management of this species could be improved by refining genetic population boundaries and assigning individuals to their natal popul...
Article
Full-text available
Background Animal–vehicle collisions represent substantial sources of mortality for a variety of taxa and can pose hazards to property and human health. But there is comparatively little information available on escape responses by free-ranging animals to vehicle approach versus predators/humans. Methods We examined responses (alert distance and f...
Article
Full-text available
Background: As obligate scavengers utilizing similar habitats, interspecific competition undoubtedly occurs between resident black (Coragyps atratus) and turkey (Cathartes aura) vultures. In the interest of exploring how sympatric species coexist through habitat segregation, we examined resource selection of resident black and turkey vultures in t...
Article
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Protected areas are established for diverse conservation strategies, but their effectiveness for conserving species varies widely. We compiled studies that used telemetry to determine cause-specific mortality of North American mammals and compared mortality sources of animals monitored in areas classified as protected by the International Union for...
Article
PDF of submitted version available for free at: http://publish.illinois.edu/maxallen/files/2019/06/Sebastian-Gonzalez-et-al.-MS.pdf Understanding the distribution of biodiversity across the Earth is one of the most challenging questions in biology. Much research has been directed at explaining the species latitudinal pattern showing that communi...
Poster
Full-text available
An outline of intended modeling approach to develop a species specif strike risk model.
Article
As wildlife populations continue to decline worldwide, human-caused mortality of terrestrial vertebrates is of increasing importance. However, there is a limited understanding of how direct anthropogenic mortality compares in magnitude to natural mortality. Here, we present CauseSpec, a database of global terrestrial vertebrate cause-specific morta...
Chapter
Although carrion ecology has received a great deal of scientific attention in recent years, carrion supply is still poorly described in most ecosystems. Animals die from many causes and their carcasses are exploited by a wide array of scavengers and decomposers. In terrestrial ecosystems, carrion is produced naturally at an annual rate of tens to h...
Chapter
Although the process of converting nutrients sequestered within carcasses has historically been portrayed as occurring at the detrital level, there is a growing consensus that vertebrate scavenging is pervasive among ecosystems across the globe. Throughout this chapter we highlight the central role scavenging plays in ecosystem functions such as nu...
Chapter
A scavenger is an animal that feeds on the carcass or remains of any dead animal which it did not participate in its killing. Scavenging is pervasive across the animal kingdom and almost all predator species use carrion to a certain extent in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. There is a group of animals, the obligate scavengers, which rely (...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how free‐ranging birds react to approaching aircraft can provide the foundation for predicting and mitigating risk of bird strikes. We characterized responses by avian species to aircraft (propeller‐driven, jet, rotorcraft) approach (taxi, takeoffs, landings) at Burke Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, from June 2015 through Sep...
Article
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Native warm-season grasses (NWSG) are gaining merit as biofuel feedstocks for ethanol production with potential for concomitant production of cattle forage and wildlife habitat provision. However, uncertainty continues regarding optimal production approaches for biofuel yield and forage quality within landscapes of competing wildlife conservation o...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Vertebrates are declining worldwide, yet a comprehensive examination of the sources of mortality is lacking. We conducted a global synthesis of terrestrial vertebrate cause‐specific mortality to compare the sources of mortality across taxa and determine predictors of susceptibility to these sources of mortality. Location Worldwide. Time perio...
Article
Full-text available
Life arises from death through species that decompose dead biomass or necromass. This paper provides a synthesis of the species responsible for dead plant and animal decomposition and describes a conceptual perspective—the “necrobiome”— that defines the diverse and complex communities that interact to recycle necromass. The concept brings unificati...
Article
Introduction Availability of carrion to scavengers is a central issue in carrion ecology and management, and is crucial for understanding the evolution of scavenging behaviour. Compared to live animals, their carcasses are relatively unpredictable in space and time in natural conditions, with a few exceptions (see below, especially Sect. “Carrion E...
Article
Introduction The role of vertebrate scavenging in food web dynamics has historically been minimalized and portrayed as the activity of a select group of obligate scavengers (e.g., vultures), with a simplistic linkage between carrion and detritivores in food webs. Research in the last few decades, however, has revealed that the role of carrion in fo...
Article
Full-text available
Wildlife-vehicle collisions introduce a considerable amount of carrion into the environment, but scavenger use of this resource has not been extensively investigated. Scavengers may use roads for reliable foraging opportunities, but might also use roads for other purposes and encounter carrion opportunistically. We examined scavenging of carrion al...
Article
Full-text available
Collisions between birds and military aircraft are common and can have catastrophic effects. Knowledge of relative wildlife hazards to aircraft (the likelihood of aircraft damage when a species is struck) is needed before estimating wildlife strike risk (combined frequency and severity component) at military airfields. Despite annual reviews of wil...
Data
Relative hazard scores (RHS) for 12 species groups from most to least hazardous for stealth aircraft within the United States. (DOCX)
Data
Relative hazard scores (RHS) for 16 species groups from most to least hazardous for stealth aircraft within the United States. (DOCX)
Data
Results from the binomial generalized linear model of factors that influence the probability of a bird strike to cause (a) any damage and the probability of a bird strike causing (b) substantial damage with military aircraft. (DOCX)
Data
Relative hazard scores (RHS) for 65 species groups from most to least hazardous for cargo aircraft within the United States. (DOCX)
Data
Relative hazard scores (RHS) for 65 avian species groups from most to least hazardous for fighter aircraft within the United States. (DOCX)
Data
Summary of quadratic and linear relationships with military airframe and avian log body mass. No significant relationship was found for stealth airframes and avian log body mass. Bold values indicate best fit by the coefficient of determination (r2 values). (DOCX)
Data
Bird species (n = 186) involved in more than 20 strikes with military aircraft grouped into 108 species groups. Species with fewer than 50 strikes were combined into species groups based on phylogeny. (DOCX)
Data
Airframe groups (n = 189) involved in bird strikes with military aircraft grouped into 8 airframe groups. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
Background Avian collisions with man-made objects and vehicles (e.g., buildings, cars, airplanes, power lines) have increased recently. Lights have been proposed to alert birds and minimize the chances of collisions, but it is challenging to choose lights that are tuned to the avian eye and can also lead to avoidance given the differences between h...
Article
Full-text available
Decomposition contributes to global ecosystem function by contributing to nutrient recycling, energy flow, and limiting biomass accumulation. The decomposer organisms influencing this process form diverse, complex, and highly dynamic communities that often specialize on different plant or animal resources. Despite performing the same net role, ther...
Article
Large mammals pose a significant risk to U.S. aircraft safety within airport operation areas and cost airlines millions of dollars in repairs annually. Native warm-season grass polycultures and switchgrass monocultures offer alternative land covers for airports that could benefit current risk-mitigation efforts in addition to offering economic and...
Article
Full-text available
Growing concerns about climate change, foreign oil dependency, and environmental quality have fostered interest in perennial native grasses (e.g. switchgrass [Panicum virgatum]) for bioenergy production while also maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function. However, biomass cultivation in marginal landscapes such as airport grasslands may have...
Article
Full-text available
The International Civil Aviation Organization promotes prioritization of wildlife management on airports, among other safety issues, by emphasizing the risk of wildlife–aircraft collisions (strikes). In its basic form, strike risk comprises a frequency component (i.e., how often strikes occur) and a severity component reflecting the cost of the inc...
Article
Full-text available
Antipredator responses may appear unsuccessful when animals are exposed to approaching vehicles, often resulting in mortality. Recent studies have addressed whether certain biological traits are associated with variation in collision risk with cars, but not with higher speed-vehicles like aircraft. Our goal was to establish the association between...
Article
Full-text available
Vultures provide an essential ecosystem service through removal of carrion, but globally, many populations are collapsing and several species are threatened with extinction. Widespread declines in vulture populations could increase the availability of carrion to other organisms, but the ways facultative scavengers might respond to this increase hav...
Article
Full-text available
Birds exhibit variation in alert and flight behaviours in response to vehicles within and between species, but it is unclear how properties inherent to individuals influence variation in avoidance responses over time. We examined individual variation in avoidance behaviours of Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater (Boddaert, 1783)) in response to r...
Article
Full-text available
Wind energy development can negatively impact bird populations due to bird–turbine collisions. To accurately estimate bird mortality at wind farms, the number of dead birds found under turbines is commonly corrected for carcass removal by scavengers, which is quantified by measuring persistence of experimental carcasses through time. These studies...
Article
Full-text available
Bird strikes are a major safety and financial concern for modern aviation. Audible stimuli are common bird dispersal techniques, but their effectiveness is limited by the saliency and relevance of the stimulus. Furthermore, high ambient sound levels present at airfields might require that effective audible stimuli rely more on total volume (i.e., e...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of black vulture (Coragyps atratus) and turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) spatial ecology is surprisingly limited despite their vital ecological roles. Fine-scale assessments of space use patterns and resource selection are particularly lacking, although development of tracking technologies has allowed data collection at finer temporal and...
Article
The use of systematic area-selection procedures to design protected areas can help optimize conservation actions. However, this process has rarely been used to identify high-risk mortality areas to protect wildlife from human impacts. Electrocution on power lines is one the most important human-related causes of bird mortality worldwide, especially...
Article
Full-text available
Airport properties often include agricultural land cover that can attract wildlife species hazardous to aircraft, despite recommendations against row crops near air operations areas. However, few studies have directly quantified bird use of corn, wheat, and soybean fields relative to bird-aircraft collision (strike) hazard levels to support land co...
Article
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Rotary-wing aircraft (e.g., helicopters and tilt-wing aircraft) are an important component of all U.S. military services and the U.S. civil aviation industry. Our analyses of wildlife strikes to military rotary-wing aircraft, both within the United States and during overseas deployments, as well as civil helicopters, have shown there are important...
Article
Recent focus on climate change and global energy production has increased interest in developing biofuels including perennial native grasses (e.g. switchgrass [Panicum virgatum]) as viable energy commodities while simultaneously maintaining ecosystem function and biodiversity. However, there is limited research examining the effects of biofuel-focu...
Article
Full-text available
Collisions between aircraft and wildlife (wildlife strikes) are common occurrences across the developed world. Wildlife strikes are not only numerous, but also costly. Estimates suggest that wildlife strikes cost the civil aviation industry in the U.S. up to $625 million annually, and nearly 500 people have been killed in wildlife strikes worldwide...
Article
Full-text available
Mass aerial delivery of dead mouse baits treated with acetaminophen has been evaluated as a means to reduce brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) populations over large areas, increasing the likelihood of wide-scale eradication on Guam. Given the high density of snakes in some areas of their invasive range, eradication efforts could result in a reso...