Research Project | 2021

Assessing Barriers to California Quail (Callipepla californica) Gene Flow in the Santa Monica Mountains

Awardee: Joey Curti

Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Bio: Joey Curti is a second year doctoral student in the Wayne Lab at UCLA. After graduating undergraduate from the same university with a B.S. in Environmental science and Conservation Biology, Joey worked for three years as the Grants and Science Administrator for Mountains Restoration Trust, a non-profit in the Santa Monica Mountains. At MRT, Joey focused on research relating to eradication of aquatic invasive species. For his PhD, Joey is interested in applying whole-genome sequencing to address conservation management questions in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles and throughout California.

Project Summary: The Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles provide a natural laboratory to understand the impacts of human development and disturbance on the ecology of wild populations. While much empirical research has been done to understand the impact of roadways on the movement and gene flow of large mammals such as carnivores, no research exists to evaluate the impact of roadways on smaller, less-vagile organisms. This research will use high throughput sequencing to understand how California quail (Callipepla californica) populations are effected by the presence of roadways to inform planned conservation actions such as the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing Project.