UI Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations UI Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations University of Idaho College of Natural Resources University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Image Map
Aug 082012

Janet RachlowAssociate Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Wildlife Resources

(208) 885-9328



Dr. Janet Rachlow received a BA in Biology from the University of Iowa, an MS in Wildlife Management from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada Reno. Janet’s research is focused on mammalian ecology and conservation. More specifically, Janet and her students focus on relationships between animals and their habitats, especially in changing environments. more info

 August 8, 2012
Aug 072012
Pygmy rabbit in winter. Photo courtesy of J. Witham.

Pygmy rabbit in winter. Photo courtesy of J. Witham.

Title: Connections across a fragmented landscape: dispersal and gene flow among pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) populations
Student: Wendy Estes-Zumpf
Department: Fish & Wildlife Resources

Project Summary

Pygmy rabbits are habitat specialist living in the sagebrush steppe of the Great Basin. A disjunct population in Washington is federally listed as a distinct population segment, and a petition for range-wide federal listing has raised concern about the status of this species. Many questions remain regarding the dynamics of their populations. For example, it is not known if populations cycle or fluctuate like other lagomorphs, however, rapid declines and local extirpations have been documented. We have noted heavy ectoparasite infestations in some populations, but the effect of parasite prevalence, the potential for pathogen transmission, and potential impacts on dynamics of pygmy rabbit populations have not been explored. Research conducted by an undergraduate at UI provided the first information on this topic. The student used PCR assays to survey pygmy rabbit ectoparasites for pathogens and documented the first evidence of both plague (Yersinia pestis) and tularemia (Francisella tularensis ) in this species. Results of that research are currently in preparation for publication. We propose to expand on that initial survey. The goal of this work is to quantify parasite prevalence and diversity across populations and to survey for pathogens.

For more information, email the PI: Dr. Janet Rachlow

 August 7, 2012