Scott Yanco
Ph.D. • 2016 • Wunder Lab
Department of Integrative Biology

Interests: My research focusses broadly on animal movement ecology, especially insofar as it manifests across spatial and temoral scales. My empirical work involves a migratory population of Flammulated Owls in the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado – I use archival GPS tags to track their movements both on their summer breeding grounds and on their migration to Mexico and Central America. I'm interested in understanding how small-scale movement decisions propogate to habitat use patterns across entire seasons.  I'm also using the movement data we collect to better understand the non-breeding ecology of the species, a topic about which we know almost nothing.  I also leverage supercomputers to run simulation models that test assumptions underlying methods for analyzing animal movement data. I'm hoping to use these simulations to develop better tools for answering questions about animal resource use decisions.  Finally, I am interested in how scientists can better use models (mathematical, simulation, conceptual, etc.) to avoid common pitfalls in the research process. Specifically, I'm interested in how modeling of hypotheses before data collection can help researchers avoid spurious results and erroneous conclusions by ensuring the logical consistency of the hypotheses they test and the appropriateness of statistical approaches to their data.