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Brad Compton

Senior Research Associate


Bradley W. Compton earned his MS from the Department of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Maine in 1999, where he studied the ecology of wood turtles. He received his BS from the Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management at the University of Massachusetts in 1997. He is currently a senior research associate in the Landscape Ecology Lab in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Brad assists Dr. McGarigal and his students on a wide variety of projects in the Landscape Ecology Lab. However, Brad is involved principally in two major projects: the Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System (CAPS) and Designing Sustainable Landscapes (DSL) projects. These projects are both concerned with landscape-scale conservation. Brad is interested in research that supports a proactive approach to conservation by developing coarse-filter multi-species and community-based approaches and integrating these approaches with more traditional fine-filter approaches focused on endangered species.

As a member of the CAPS and DSL teams, Brad heads up research and development of the CAPS methodology and all CAPS applications. The team is developing a coarse-filter approach to mapping and assessing ecological integrity across the entire landscape. They use a suite of landscape metrics to assess the ecological integrity of each point in the landscape. These metrics are parameterized based on the expert knowledge of biologists from across the region. The result is a model of ecological integrity for each ecological setting. The CAPS method is used to prioritize areas for conservation, evaluate the relative ecological impacts of alternative scenarios and monitor changes in ecological integrity over time. Brad is also a principal member of the DSL team, where he is invovled in all aspects of the project, but is principally responsible for the coarse-filter ecological integrity assessment and development of the species' habitat capability model, HABIT@.

Brad also works with Dr. Paul Sievert of the Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and graduate students on a study of Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in the Northeast. The main range of Blanding's turtles is in the northern midwest, but disjunct eastern populations are scattered from the lower Hudson River to Nova Scotia, with several populations in eastern Massachusetts. Most of these populations are in areas with high development pressure and many of these populations are currently suffering unsustainable rates of road mortality. The Blanding's turtle is currently listed as threatened in Massachusetts. The group has radio-tracked turtles at several sites and quantified movement, habitat selection and population demographics. Brad has built a spatially explicit individual-based population viability model and used it to offer specific management guidelines to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Kevin McGarigal
Department of Environmental Conservation
University of Massachusetts
304 Holdsworth Natural Resources Center
Box 34210, Amherst, MA 01003
Fax: (413) 545-4358; Phone: (413) 577-0655

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