animal movement, remote sensing, GIS, species reintroductions, species occurrence and distribution modeling, conservation biology
- Research Ecologist, Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute 2017 -
- Environmental monitoring--Remote sensing
- Home range (Animal geography)
- Mobile geographic information systems
- Remote sensing
- Remote-sensing images
- Remote-sensing images
- Remote-sensing maps
Education And Training
Dr. Katherine Mertes is a Research Ecologist in the Conservation Ecology Center at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.
Since 2017, Katherine has worked alongside CEC scientists Jared Stabach, Melissa Songer and Peter Leimgruber to support the reintroduction of scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah), addax (Addax nasomaculatus), and other highly endangered species to the Reserve de Faune du Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim in Chad (RFOROA). This reintroduction project is a joint initiative of the Government of Chad and the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi. In Chad, the project is implemented by SaharaConservation, in partnership with the Ministry for the Environment, Fisheries and Sustainable Development. As technical partners on the project, SNZCBI scientists fit tracking devices to reintroduced animals, track their movements after release, and analyze the resulting data to conduct fundamental research on endangered mammals, refine management practices, and assess the overall progress of the reintroduction.
Dr. Mertes's research combines remote sensing and field data on environmental conditions with animal occurrence and movement data to investigate how mobile individuals, populations and species perceive and respond to their environment. Her PhD dissertation evaluated the spatial scales (grains) at which species perceive and respond to environmental factors. From 2011 to 2015, she conducted focal sampling surveys and deployed solar-powered GPS/UHF/GSM tags on four bird species across Kenya, and demonstrated that each species responded to their environment at characteristic spatial grains. These "response grains" were associated with species attributes, primarily diet and home range size, and define important parameters for research and conservation - such as the optimal size and spacing of study sites, appropriate resolutions for remotely sensed data, and minimum effective area for management actions.
- animal movement, remote sensing, GIS, species reintroductions, species occurrence and distribution modeling, conservation biology
- Mertes, Katherine, Ressijac, Catherine A., Moraes, Rosana N., Hughey, Lacey F., Alegre, Luisa H. Porto, Horning, Megan, Buk, Tara, Harwood, Arielle, Layman, Lawrence, Mathews, Christopher, Vance, Morgan, Reed, Dolores, Stabach, Jared A., and Goldenberg, Shifra Z. 2022. "Assessing neophobia and exploration while accounting for social context: an example application in scimitar-horned oryx." Mammalian Biology, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42991-022-00271-1. 2022
- Noonan, Michael J., Fleming, Christen H., Tucker, Marlee A., Kays, Roland, Harrison, Autumn-Lynn, Crofoot, Margaret C., Abrahms, Briana, Alberts, Susan C., Ali, Abdullahi H., Altmann, Jeanne, Antunes, Pamela Castro, Attias, Nina, Belant, Jerrold L., Beyer, Dean E., Jr., Bidner, Laura R., Blaum, Niels, Boone, Randall B., Caillaud, Damien, de Paula, Rogerio Cunha, De la Torre, J. Antonio, Dekker, Jasja, DePerno, Christopher S., Farhadinia, Mohammad, Fennessy, Julian, Fichtel, Claudia et al. 2020. "Effects of body size on estimation of mammalian area requirements." Conservation Biology, 34, (4) 1017–1028. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13495. 2020
- Mertes, Katherine, Jarzyna, Marta A., and Jetz, Walter. 2020. "Hierarchical multi-grain models improve descriptions of species' environmental associations, distribution, and abundance." Ecological Applications, 30, (6). https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2117. 2020
- Stabach, Jared A., Cunningham, Stephanie A., Connette, Grant, Mota, Joel L., Reed, Dolores, Byron, Michael, Songer, Melissa, Wacher, Tim, Mertes, Katherine, Brown, Janine L., Comizzoli, Pierre, Newby, John, Monfort, Steven L., and Leimgruber, Peter. 2020. "Short-term effects of GPS collars on the activity, behavior, and adrenal response of scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah)." PloS One, 15, (2) Article e0221843. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0221843. 2020
- Huang, Qiongyu, Lothspeich, Audrey, Hernandez, Haydee Yanez, Mertes, Katherine, Liu, Xuehua, and Songer, Melissa. 2020. "What drove giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca expansion in the Qinling Mountains? An analysis comparing the influence of climate, bamboo, and various landscape variables in the past decade." Environmental Research Letters, 15, (8). https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab86f3. 2020
- Mertes, Katherine, Stabach, Jared A., Songer, Melissa, Wacher, Tim, Newby, John, Chuven, Justin, Al Dhaheri, Shaikha, Leimgruber, Peter, and Monfort, Steven. 2019. "Management Background and Release Conditions Structure Post-release Movements in Reintroduced Ungulates." Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7 470. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00470. 2019
- National Zoological Park Academic Department