Dr. Bree Putman - From predation to anthropophobia: the consequences of fear in animal populations


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The Fall 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Dr. Bree Putman’s talk, "From predation to anthropophobia: the consequences of fear in animal populations."

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Dr. Putman is an NSF postdoctoral fellow at UCLA and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She is a vertebrate ecologist who studies fear—the perceived risk of predation from actual predators or other threats. This is a lucrative approach because the threat of predation is frequent and ubiquitous in the lives of many animals, generating a strong and identifiable source of selection on prey traits. Her work with the rattlesnake-California ground squirrel system has revealed how predators can have lasting non-lethal effects on prey, but prey can manage this risk through honest communication to the predator and reduce negative physiological effects through social buffering. Her current work on lizards in Los Angeles asks the question of whether fear filters certain species or individuals from urban environments. Lizard species vary in tolerance to human disturbance, and interactions between habitat quality and flight responses determine whether they habituate to humans, an important requirement for succeeding in urban habitats. By using predator-prey theory to understand how animals respond to human-induced change, Dr. Putman’s work crucially informs urban planning, management, and conservation.