Coyote research finds new perspective


ROME, Ga.- A recently published study on a coyote population in Roswell, Ga., concludes that coyotes do not negatively impact the area and urban green spaces have the potential to foster rich species diversity.
Berry College Associate Professor of Biology Christopher Mowry and Emory University Department of Environmental Science instructor Larry Wilson co-authored the recent Urban Naturalist article, “Species Richness Within an Urban Coyote Territory in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.” It details a 24-month study on a species-rich ecological community in Roswell. A number of Berry students also participated in the research.
Mowry, founder of the Atlanta Coyote Project, has conducted numerous studies observing the behaviors of coyote populations in northwest Georgia. The area monitored was an expanse of suburban green space, where motion-activated cameras showed a 24-hour livestream of species’ activity in the area. The cameras were used not only to document coyote activity in the area, but to also observe local wildlife.
“We confirmed the presence of an active coyote den, and pups were born in each year of the study,” Mowry wrote. “However, contrary to the common misconception that coyotes are ravenous predators who will eat all other animals, we found a rich array of species, including 12 different mammals, 22 birds, and 2 reptiles.”
In response, Mowry deduced that the coyotes now served as keystone predators in the Southeast, preserving the food chain and keeping other local species in balance.
“In other words, coyotes have a very broad diet and they keep other species in check, so that no single species outcompetes the other,” Mowry wrote. “In addition, much of the coyote diet is plant-based and prey only make up a portion of their diet.”
The interest in coyotes in the Atlanta area continues, with locals having contributed more than 2,000 reports on the Atlanta Coyote Project website.
Clips from the livestream can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQH3jykDlyU.

4 Comments

  1. Steven Childs on July 2, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    I wonder how large the “expanse of suburban green space” was. The wordsmithing of this phrase seems to imply the area observed was relatively small.

    I’m looking forward to seeing that study.

  2. Steven Childs on July 4, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Small sample size may prevent reliable estimates of the results observed including the ability to draw conclusions based on the results.

    Our study site was a 20-ha privately owned urban green space in suburban Atlanta, Fulton, County, GA

    Over the course of the study, we used 8 camera locations.

    8 cameras on 20 acres over a two year period settles the question on coyotes and biodiversity?

    https://www.eaglehill.us/URNAonline/articles/URNA-27/04-Mowry.shtml?fbclid=IwAR2OR9s4rEucAAAVWRcY8k5imWXE2J1ra3Jfn1zxmX3RdISy72J_NcW1UQM

  3. Leslie Sturges on July 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    20 hectares is 49.2 acres, not 20.

    • Steven Childs on August 3, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Thank you Leslie Sturges. It still does not change my point. Still an incredibly small area. Much too small to make reliable claims about biodiversity over a wider area.

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