Thomas Stevens is presenting research from his dissertation that explores the impacts of urbanization on wildlife in the Great Trinity Forest, the largest urban forest in the United States located in Dallas, Texas. He surveyed forest bird communities and looked at how they were impacted by human induced stressors from the surrounding urban area such as noise pollution, light pollution, feral hogs, Chinese privet, and nearby urbanization intensity.
He was able to survey species that are not usually found in urban areas, like Prothonotary Warblers and Painted Buntings, and by understanding what human stressors limit their distribution in the Great Trinty Forest, test hypothesis for why species of conservation interest are often absent from other urban forests. He also surveyed the distribution of Swamp Rabbits by locating latrines, areas where Swamp Rabbits repeatedly defecate on logs. He was also able to use genetic material from pellets to identify individual Swamp Rabbits, and examine the impact of highways on dispersal and movement in this species.
About our Speaker –
Dr. Thomas Stevens is currently a post-doctoral associate with the University of Minnesota study the impacts of controlled burns on bird communities. He completed his PhD in 2022 at TCU and was co-advised by Dr. Amanda Hale and Dr. Dean Williams. His research investigated the impacts of urbanization on wildlife in the Great Trinity Forest, the largest urban forest in the United States located in Dallas, Texas. He attended TCU as an undergraduate from 2003 to 2008 as a student athlete, majoring in Environmental Science and lettering three times as part of the football team. Tom completed a Master’s of Science at TCU from 2009 to 2011 advised by Dr. Amanda Hale that examined the indirect impacts of wind energy on grassland birds. Upon graduation, he worked in the private sector for seven years and started a family before returning to TCU to pursue a PhD in Biology in 2018. He is lifelong bird watcher and outdoor enthusiast.