Kyle is researching the conservation implications for species whose resource and habitat requirements overlap with those of humans. He is using British Columbia’s populations of black and grizzly bears to explore various concerns related to this overlap, including the effects of food availability on bear diet, population dynamics, and bear-human conflict.
He and colleagues from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation are running a long-term ecological monitoring project in Heiltsuk territory and beyond, part of which involves setting up hair snags to non-invasively capture hairs from black and grizzly bears. These hairs yield genetic and isotopic data, which will help to untangle the relationships between yearly salmon spawning abundance and salmon consumption in bears, and between salmon consumption in bears and changes in population size and growth rates.
This research will provide important insight into ecological processes, such as the impact of changing food availability on omnivores. The monitoring has additional on-the-ground conservation value by providing land and sea managers with current information on population health and trajectories, allowing managers to keep their fingers on the pulse of local populations.