Long-term monitoring of Iberian wolves
We investigate demographic, genetic and health parameters as well as predator-prey relationships, and quantify their temporal changes using a multi-methodological approach (e.g. sign and howling surveys, non-invasive genetics, GPS telemetry). Additionally, we are also developing and improving monitoring tools (e.g. innovative procedures for non-invasive sampling or new computational methods to use acoustic signals to monitor wolves).
Wolf-human interactions in human-dominated landscapes
Iberian wolves have continuously persisted over the past few centuries in a human-dominated landscape, being a paradigmatic example to understand the adaptations for and the consequences of wolf-human coexistence. We use a multidisciplinary approach grounded on biological, ecological, economic, sociological and anthropological sciences to access, for example, socio-economic dimension related to livestock depredation, or context-dependent behavioral responses of wolves to human activities and infrastructures.
Applied research on wolf ecology in human-dominated landscapes
We are working on effective inputs regarding the sustainable development of anthropogenic activities, mainly related to infrastructure development and livestock farming. We aim to promote the transference of knowledge among public institutions, private companies, and other decision-makers and stakeholders related to wolf management and conservation, and define best-practice guidelines and zoning of human activities as a mean to mitigate impacts and human-wolf conflicts.
Improving wolf management
By focusing on current wolf management and action plans at a national or regional level we aim to identify key actions, or important gaps of knowledge that need to be clarified or addressed in order to inform managers and policy-makers and to improve wolf management and conservation at the same time that we promote public awareness to prevent political manipulation and misuse of scientific data. We follow an evidence-based conservation approach as main principle to reach our goals.
Wolf-dog hybridization is a paradigmatic example of conservation implications of this process when occurring between wild and domestic forms. We are studying the topic in the Iberian wolf population combining genetic, ecological, demographic, behavioural and geographic data to understand hybridization dynamics in a spatio-temporal context and its consequences at individual and population level. With this approach we expect to contribute to the debate on the conservation and management implications of hybridization.
Cultural and ethnographic traits
The coexistence between pastoral communities and wolves has given origin to a rich ethnographic heritage, expressed in particular ways, as well as myths and legend. We are investigating this cultural legacy, still present in the memory and practices of Iberian rural communities, to enhance our understanding of local people perceptions towards the wolf and to promote the value of this species as an important element and symbol that shaped rural culture and tradition.
Conservation medicine of Iberian wolf populations
We are studying infectious agents shared between wolf populations and sympatric wild and domestic carnivores. In particular, we are interested in the epidemiology of Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvovirus, Sarcoptic Mange, helminthes and protozoa in wolves. We are also studying conservation physiology, particularly focused on the sub-clinical effects of stress on immunology and physiology of wolves, and the physiological effects of capture and manipulation for scientific purposes.
Iberian Wolf Research Team © 2016. Photographs: IWRT, Francisco Lema, Artur Oliveira/CIBIO, Jesús Sáez-Horma. Web design: firstname.lastname@example.org and IWRT