With the ever-expanding footprint of urban and suburban areas, the importance of understanding the interactions among people and wildlife, as well as among our native wildlife and introduced or domesticated species, is increasing as well. We are developing an Urban Wildlife research program at SJSU to 1) document the species present in and around San Jose, 2) understand how they are using the landscape, including what impacts different land uses and intensities have on both presence and movement, and 3) better understand the interactions among native and introduced wildlife. To accomplish this, we will combine field observations with remote cameras, audio recording, non-invasive genetic sampling, and passive marking techniques.
We are beginning with a focus on three species of tree squirrels, our native Western Grey Squirrel (Sciurus griseus) and two introduced species: the Eastern Grey Squirrel (S. carolinensis) and Eastern Fox Squirrel (S. niger). We soon hope to expand our program to include small carnivores such as Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), raccoon (Procyon lotor), and striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) and other native rodents.