|Schmitz Lab at Yale||
B.A., 2015, University of Texas, Geography and the Environment, International Relations
Click here to download CV.
I am interested in jointly modelling economic and ecological systems in order to perform apples to apples comparisons of processes that are usually modelled independently. My particular project addresses boreal caribou conservation in the Alberta oil sands, where the opportunity cost of conservation is high. Changes in the functional relationship between wolves and caribou driven by habitat disturbances and apparent competition caused by the energy and timber industries are causing sharp declines in boreal caribou numbers. Conservation efforts in the form of predator control, habitat restoration, and penning projects are all parts of a solution, but are inherently tied to decision-making processes in industry and government. By apply capital theory to joint economic-ecological systems, I am calculating a shadow price for caribou under different projections (both human and ecologically-driven) and management scenarios. This new methodology will allow us to understand caribou conservation within the context of a complex set of human and ecological drivers.
My research career started in Botswana after my freshman year in college, where I gathered data on vegetative response to climate change and the potential incorporation of the central Kalahari region into carbon offset programs. I was extremely interested in the complex relationship between people, wildlife, and the land in Botswana and so continued on to study ecotourism, wildlife management, and rural development there. During my junior year of college, I decided to go a different direction and spent a year working at the Buenos Aires Zoo in Argentina with the Andean Condor Conservation Project. Aside from getting hands on experience in wildlife rehabilitation and reintroduction, I participated in an ongoing behavioral study with captive and breeding condors at the rehabilitation center. I was then offered a job at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as an animal behavior researcher and moved to Orlando. There, I worked with tigers, gorillas, siamangs, gibbons, and a variety of bird species, collecting behavioral data that contributed to captive breeding and welfare monitoring programs. I have also been involved in a socioeconomic study in southern Africa determining drivers of rhinoceros poaching in Namibia and Botswana.
Email: samantha.maher [at] yale.edu
Office: Greeley Laboratory, room 119
School of Forestry & Enviro Studies
370 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511 USA