Image by Rick J. Brown


DECEMBER 2020: "Fire Ecology and Behavior in the Endangered
Florida Scrub Jay"

Speaker: David Sherer, USFWS

Date: December 8, 2020



Presentation Summary: Florida Scrub-Jays (FLSJ; federally threatened) are non-migratory, cooperatively breeding birds that live in fire-maintained Florida scrub habitat. They are a relict species of fire dominated oak scrub habitat that occurs on peninsular Florida. They are extremely habitat-specific, sedentary, and territorial. Lifetime reproductive success is highest among individuals breeding in habitat that has burned within the last 10 years. However, such habitat is scarce and competition for it as breeding space is likely intense. David investigated how an individual’s behavioral phenotype (personality; bold vs. shy) and the quality of habitat in which they were raised (i.e., their natal territory) influenced exploratory behavior on a landscape consisting of habitat in various fire-history stages. 


Speaker Bio: David Sherer holds a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Science, Conservation Biology from Tennessee Tech University and an MS in Biology from the University of Central Florida. He joined the Ventura Office of USFWS in April and telecommutes from his home in Tennessee -- at least until the pandemic allows repopulating the office! 


This program is an outgrowth of David's masters thesis: Variation in Prospecting Behavior and Drivers of Post-Fire Habitat Preference  Among Juvenile Florida Scrub-Jays.