Conservation Research Laboratory: General Conservation Projects

Hsiang Ling Chen

Road and traffic effects on movements and space use of red squirrels
  • Time Period: 2009 - May 2015

  • Location: Mt. Graham, AZ, U.S.A.

Road ecology is a burgeoning field of inquiry as roadways expand in number, length and width. We know that roads fragment habitats, increase mortality, change microclimates, and can act as barriers…thus they present a challenge in the conservation of biodiversity. Roads may function as impermeable barriers to some species while being semi-permeable to others. We are examining the relative permeability of roads to two species in the Pinaleno Mountains of southeastern Arizona: federally endangered Mt. Graham red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis) and non-native Aberts squirrels (Sciurus aberti).

Major Questions: Do red squirrels avoid roads? If so, what factors are most influential to avoidance? Do they avoid forest edges created by roads, forest gaps, or traffic disturbances?


Chen, H. L. and J. L. Koprowski. 2016. Barrier effects of roads on an endangered forest obligate: influences of traffic, road edges, and gaps. Biological Conservation 199:33-40. PDF of Article
Chen, H. L. and J. L. Koprowski. 2015. Differential effects of roads and traffic on space use and movements of native forest-dependent and introduced edge-tolerant species. PLoS ONE 11:e0148121 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148121. PDF of Article
Chen, H. L. and J. L. Koprowski. 2015. Animal occurrence and space use change in the landscape of anthropogenic noise. Biological Conservation 192:315-322. PDF of Article

Where is Hsiang Ling Now?

Postdoctoral Researcher
Sustainability of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Department of Geography & Department of Biology
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-4493