Photo by Bo Chambers
Photo by David Jones
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Fox Squirrel Registry with location information and photographs! We have completed the phase of collecting distribution data and therefore are no longer in need of additional observations.
A total of 6,641 fox squirrel observations from around the state were submitted to the registry since it was opened in August 2011. The sightings were distributed across 66 of Florida’s 67 counties and included observations in places where fox squirrels were thought to no longer occur!
This data has proven very valuable and informative. For example, staff from the University of Florida and FWC have already used these data to evaluate how citizen science can benefit conservation efforts of rare species like fox squirrels. Now, we are beginning to analyze the data in more detail, including assessing the distribution of fox squirrels and what impact, for example, landscape characteristics have on their occurrence throughout Florida.
We greatly appreciate the willingness and enthusiasm of everyone, citizens and professionals alike, who showed such interest in Florida’s fox squirrels and took the time to tell us about their observations. Your efforts in assisting with this project have greatly increased our knowledge of this special and often elusive species.
Related literature and news: Tye, C. A., R. A. McCleery, R. J. Fletcher, D. U. Greene and R. S. Butryn. 2016. Evaluating citizen vs. professional data for modelling distributions of a rare squirrel. Journal of Applied Ecology. In press.
Fletcher R. J., R. A. McCleery, D. A. Greene, and C. A. Tye. 2016. Integrated models that unite local and regional data reveal larger-scale environmental relationships and improve predictions of species distributions. Landscape Ecology 31:1369–1382.
The success of the fox squirrel registry is largely due to the energy and passion that Courtney Hooker Tye (1983-2014) brought to it, from the initial development of the website to making it widely known.