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Genetic Methods to Manage Livestock-Wildlife Interactions

Wildlife genetics research was initiated at NWRC in late 2000. Research needs were identified through a survey of Center scientists, stakeholders, and Wildlife Services operations personnel. Initial studies focused on coyotes and blackbirds, which were seen as high priority species. Today, research encompasses a broad range of taxa including wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, bats, raccoons, mongooses, rats, Burmese pythons, mountain beavers, deer, beavers, and feral swine. Research in the lab also now includes pathogen studies of avian influenza viruses, rabies, avian blood parasites, and associated vectors (biting midges, feral swine, bats, and raccoons). The lab investigates questions at many spatial scales, from metapopulation dynamics to obtaining individual identification of livestock predators, and temporal scales, from estimating historical gene flow to elucidating kinship among contemporary individuals.

The NWRC Wildlife Genetics Lab works with a diverse collection of collaborators including scientists in other programs at NWRC, Wildlife Service Operations specialists, International Services, museums, university, state and federal agencies, and foreign government researchers. 

DNA in the NWRC lab is collected using direct (i.e., tissue or blood), non-invasive (samples that are available from an animal without having to handle it),  or environmental (water, air, or soil) sampling.  Our goal is to apply DNA technology to wildlife damage management and wildlife disease issues. We strive to apply the most advanced DNA technology possible to these issues and provide methods and information to address human-wildlife conflicts.

Please contact the scientists below if you have any questions, potential collaborations, etc. Also, please use the links to view National Wildlife Research Center sample collection protocols, including sample collection data sheets. The address for submitting samples and contact information is included under each protocol.

Dr.Toni J. Piaggio 
Team Leader
(970) 266-6142

Matt Hopken , M. S.
(970) 266-6046


Lab phone (970)266-6098

Please contact us before sending samples and for ordering relevant supplies.

Project Factsheet:
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