I am the State Director for the Government of the Virgin Islands, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife. Our fisheries and wildlife staff across the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix) to conserve our natural resources and provide scientific experise within the GVI.
My research integrates landscape and population modeling to inform conservation decision making. I was inspired by Aldo Leopold, who famously wrote in A Sand County Almanac, 'To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.' Thus my research program is driven by persistence and I optimistically believe that science can help answer the question, "Why do some species persist, while other closely related species go extinct?"
My ties remain strong with academic, federal, and non-profit research. My service to the research community includes acting as the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles' Conservation Committee co-chair, Partners for Amphibians and Reptiles Caribbean sub-chapter co-chair, and a Smithsonian Institution research collaborator. I review academic papers across biological disciplines.
Several of my research projects include:
Mechanisms of persistence:
The puzzling ability of some species to persist when closely related species decline is a major theme of my research program. We investigate population-level Anthropocene-era (pre- vs. post- 1947) morphological, physiological, and genomic changes in closely-related species. We collaborate most recently with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USDA, FWS, University of Maryland, Texas A&M University, Westfield State University, Interamericana University of Arecibo, and the University of Puerto Rico.
Predicting where populations are vulnerable:
Repatriating species when threats exist to recover biodiversity and ecological function is an idea that our research program is exploring with partners in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources. We are applying conservation theory to maintain species, for example reciprocal translocations of St. Croix ground lizards funded in 2017 through a federal ESA Section 6 agreement in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Our larger goal is repatriating Caribbean reptiles to their historic ranges.
Modeling for conservation decision making:
Species status assessments are a new tool for the federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make decisions related to the listing, recovery of endangered species. The Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit (postdoc advisor: Conor McGowan) is working with and for the Service to bring tools necessary for the current and future conditions of difficult species into species status assessment. For example, very widespread or very cryptic species require quantitative assessments involving cutting edge population persistence models. We are building current status and future projection models for species nationally.
Contact me for publications or collaborations using email or the form at right.
email: nicoleangeli1 @ gmail.com