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Contact Information:

photo of David Mattson
Name:
Mattson, David
Title:
Research Wildlife Biologist
Discipline(s):
Biology
Research Station:
CPRS
Work Address:
USGS Southwest Biological Science Center, Colorado Plateau Research Station, P.O. Box 5614, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5614
Telephone Number:
(928)523-9080
Email Address:
david_mattson@usgs.gov or David.Mattson@nau.edu

Biographical Sketch:

David Mattson is a Research Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey stationed at its' Colorado Plateau Research Station in Flagstaff, Arizona. David received degrees in Forest Resource Management and Forest Ecology and a doctorate in Wildlife Resource Management from the University of Idaho. Dr. Mattson has studied large carnivores for the last 24 years, focusing on puma ecology and human-puma interactions in Arizona, and the conservation and behavioral ecology of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. He spent 14 years intensively studying grizzly bear foraging behavior and diet as well as ecological relations of foods the bears ate. These studies revealed details about a broad spectrum of bear behaviors, including their bedding, use of rub trees, consumption of dirt and earthworms, exploitation of red squirrels, pocket gophers, and meadow mice, and predation on elk, moose, and trout. More recently, Dr. Mattson has focused on conservation issues and broad-scale evaluations of habitat conditions. These studies have broached not only the details of human-large carnivore interactions, but also the social, political, and organizational dynamics that shape the policies and practices of carnivore conservation programs. His work has been featured in the journal Science and has been widely presented, including papers in Ecology, Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, The Journal of Wildlife Management, and the Journal of Mammalogy, and invited talks at the Smithsonian, American Museum of Natural History, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and International Conferences on Bear Research and Management.

Project List

  • A. Pumas of the Flagstaff Uplands - Conflict between pumas and humans is receiving increased attention in the interior western United States as both human and puma populations increase. This project focuses on puma-human relations and the behavioral ecology of pumas in the Flagstaff uplands of northern Arizona. Project objectives include (i) description of puma movements and activity patterns, (ii) description of puma prey composition and predation rates, (iii) development of a study area GIS that includes human-related features, (iv) development of individual-based habitat selection models, and (iv) development of models and maps that explain and predict probability of contact between humans and pumas. 2003, Daily Sun, Flagstaff, AZ (Seth Muller); collaboration among USGS, NPS, and Grand Canyon Trust on a puma research project in the Flagstaff area of Arizona.
  • B. Ecological Effects of Upland Free Water - Free-standing water is a major limiting factor for many species in the arid West. This project focuses on the availability of free-standing water and its effects on biological communities in arid ecosystems of Arizona and Utah. Project objectives include (i) mapping free-water availability, (ii) explaining free-water availability in terms of geologic, geomorphic, climatic, and hydrologic features, (iii) describing temporal-spatial patterns of free-water use by animal species, (iv) determining the importance of free-standing water to different animal species, and (iv) determining the direct and indirect effects of artificial water sources on arid ecosystem animal communities.
  • C. Inventory & Monitoring of Biological Resources - The National Park Service has been charged with inventorying and monitoring its' biological resources. This project focuses on providing assistance to the National Park Service in designing and evaluating its' inventory and monitoring program for the Southern and Northern Colorado Plateau Networks. Assistance has taken the form of developing and writing planning, developing and evaluating protocols, and contributing to the selection of vital signs.
  • D. Conservation of Large Carnivores - Management of large carnivores embodies challenges that are common to the management of natural resources worldwide. This project focuses on facets of human psycho- sociology and behavior that affect conservation and management of large carnivores in North America. Project researchers map social processes and participant identities to analyze and explain decision-making related to different phases of formal and informal policy processes, considering factors such as political geography and organizational behavior. 2000-2001, WildFutures/Earth Island Institute (John de Graaf); conservation of grizzly bears for film "On Nature's Terms." 2000-2001, Time magazine and CNN (Bill Campbell); grizzly bear conservation. 1999, Audubon magazine (Todd Wilkinson); management and conservation of grizzly bears; featured in article in July-August 1999 issue. 1998, Washington Post (Tom Kenworthy); grizzly bear science and conservation in the Yellowstone ecosystem. 1998, New York Times (James Robbins); grizzly bear science and conservation in the Yellowstone ecosystem.
  • E. Modeling Habitat Suitability for Grizzly Bears - Models that predict source and restoration areas for extant and extirpated populations are potentially valuable to designing management that assures the long-term persistence of grizzly bears. This project focuses on developing models that explain and predict the extent and location of restoration and population source areas for grizzly bears, using varied data, varied study areas, information-based methods, and standards of sufficiency. These models are applied to existing and potential grizzly bear range throughout western North America. 2004, USA Today, (Tom Kenworthy); results of a paper published in Ursus that investigated habitat conditions for grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak region of Montana-Idaho. 2003, Science Times of the New York Times (Jim Robbins); results of a paper published in Ursus that investigated habitat conditions for grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak region of Montana-Idaho. 2003, Focus West, Public Broadcasting System (Jeff O'Gara); factors affecting the distribution of grizzly bears in the western United States. 2002, Billings Gazette, Billings, MT (Mike Stark); results of a paper published in Conservation Biology that investigated extirpations of grizzly bears in the western United States. 2002, Environmental News Network (Cat Lazaroff); results of a paper published in Conservation Biology investigating extirpations of grizzly bears in the western United States. 2002, National Parks & Conservation Association magazine (Todd Wilkinson); results of a paper published in Conservation Biology investigating extirpations of grizzly bears and projections of conditions for grizzly bear with global climate change. 2001, Audubon magazine (Todd Wilkinson); results of an article in Conservation Biology that investigated extirpations of grizzly bears in the western United States. 2000, Science magazine (Bee Wuethrich); umbrella effects; "When protecting one species hurts another." Science 289: 383, 385. 2000, Science Times of the New York Times (Mark Durer); reintroduction of grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem. 2000, The Denver Post (Kit Minnkler); reintroduction of grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot ecosystem. 1999, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA (Ken Olsen); results of a population viability analysis for grizzly bear in the contiguous United States and prospects for restoration of grizzly bears in central Idaho. 1999, High Country News (Juniper Davis); the historical importance of salmon to grizzly bears in Idaho. 1999, Idaho Statesman, Boise, ID (Rocky Barker); grizzly bear restoration in central Idaho. 1999, Toronto Globe & Mail (Anne MacAlroy); grizzly bear conservation along the U.S./Canadian border. 1999, Los Angeles Times (Frank Clifford); conservation issues along the Continental Divide.
  • F. Diet and Behavior of Grizzly Bears - Grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho were subjects of a unique long-duration and integrated study that included detailed investigations of diet and behavior during 1977-1996. This project focuses on analyzing data from this study, framed in terms of ecological theory, and related to local, regional, and global management of grizzly and brown bears. Different behaviors associated with bedding, tree rubbing, or the exploitation of specific foods are described and explained. Use of key foods is also related to movement and reproductive success of individual bears. 2003, Living Machine, National Geographic TV (Tierney Thys); grizzly bear consumption of carrion and wasps. 2003, German Public Radio (Ingrid Krölle); grizzly bear foods and foraging behavior and the ecological and cultural importance of grizzly bears. 2003, Nature, Public Broadcasting Corporation (Shane Moore); human-grizzly bear relations and the ecology of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem and their future prospects. 2003, Billings Gazette, Billings, MT (Mike Stark); bark beetle-caused mortality among whitebark pine and consequences to grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem. 2003, The Denver Post (Theo Stein), Time magazine (Pat Clawson) and Defenders magazine (Dan Chasen); ecology of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem and their future prospects. 2003, Casper Star Tribune, Casper, WY (Brodie Farguhar); ecology of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem and their future prospects. 2002, Ventura County Star (John Krist), Outdoor Life (Andrew McKean), Billings Gazette (Mike Stark), and Los Angeles Times (Deborah Schoch); ecology and management of Yellowstone grizzly bears. 2001, Bozeman Chronicle, Bozeman, MT (Joan Haines); autecology of whitebark pine and threats and potential restoration strategies. 2000, Backpacker magazine (Erik Ness); implications of variability in grizzly bear food abundance to backpacker safety. 2000, British Broadcasting Corporation, Natural History Unit (Nigel Bean); Pleistocene history of North American bears. 2000, Los Angeles Times (Frank Clifford); status and future prospects of Yellowstone grizzly bears and their habitat. 2000, National Wildlife magazine (Gary Turbak); grizzly bear ecology and the status of grizzly bear foods. 1999, Environmental Review newsletter (Douglas Taylor); ecology and management of Yellowstone grizzly bears; featured interview in the August 1999 (Volume 6[8]) issue. 1999 & 2000, British Broadcasting Corporation, 'The Natural World' (Jonathan Keeling); brown bears of the world and grizzly bears in Yellowstone. 1998, National Geographic (Jennifer Steinberg); relations between grizzly bears and cutthroat trout in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

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