Ivan Castro-Arellano, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor - Texas State University-San Marcos
Department of Biological Science
My research interests cover several interrelated areas that merge wildlife management, community ecology, mammalogy, conservation biology, ecology of emergent infectious diseases, as well as the ecology and management of invasive species. Within this last area I am especially interested in the two mammal invasive species present in Texas: feral hogs (Sus scrofa) and nutrias (Myocastor coypus). Feral hogs cause millions of dollars in damages state-wide and monitoring of population sizes of this invasive species is an essential tool for their management. For this purpose I am interested in calibrating a method to estimate population abundance of feral hogs using camera traps. I have used these cameras to detect and estimate population sizes of endangered species and these same techniques can be adapted to be used for the management of this invasive species.
Besides feral hogs I am also interested in monitoring and developing an early warning system for new invasive species. Although they have not been documented in Texas two other potential invasive species have been predicted to arrive and establish in Texas in the near future. One of them is a disease (White Nose Syndrome) and the other one is a mammal (Vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus). Both of these invasive species have potentially serious economic impacts and early detection of their presence in the state could prevent a widespread establishment of these species.