Barn owls and red-tailed hawks are a popular component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs for the control of rodent pests across the Western United States and contribute to sustainable agriculture through integration of natural biological control, enhancing the environmental quality of agricultural regions, and sustaining the economic viability of farm operations. However, because farmers utilize rodenticides to control rodent pests, owls and hawks can suffer from both lethal and sub-lethal secondary poisoning. Despite the important role that these birds of prey can play in providing long-term, sustainable, and natural pest control services, we have little understanding of how often owls or hawks are exposed to rodenticides and what effect this exposure has on their behavior and reproductive success.
We are also working on projects to quantify and understand the effects of marine microplastic pollution, and to study the impacts of insecticide exposure on beneficial insects like spiders.
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