Current Research Projects

Timothy E. Fulbright
Meadow's Professor in Semiarid Land Ecology

Effects of Population Density on White-tailed Deer and Their Habitat

Principle investigators:  Charles A. DeYoung, David G. Hewitt, and Tim  Fulbright

Project Coordinator: Kim Echols

Graduate Students Focusing on Habitat Relationships:  Master of Science - - Blaise Korzekwa, Lindsey Phillips, Lindsay Roberts, Justin Pierce Young, Ashley Wilson, and Onalise Hill.

Funding:  Private donors, Houston Safari Club

Our research team consisting of Drs. Charles DeYoung, David Hewitt, Don Draeger of the Comanche Ranch, and myself are conducting research to determine effects of increasing deer density on white-tailed deer productivity, population dynamics, and vegetation.  The specific focus of graduate students focused on habitat within the larger study are the effects of deer density on space use by deer and vegetation dynamics.  Results of this research are critically needed to help landowners set target white-tailed deer densities that will not result in habitat degradation.  

For more information on the study [click here].

Cattle-deer Interactions:  Forb Standing Crop and Stable Isotope Ratios

Principle Investigators:  Tim Fulbright, J. Alfonso Ortega-Santos, David Hewitt

Graduate Students:  Stacy Hines (Ph.D candidate), Ramon Saenz (M.S. student)

Funding: The Tom T. East, Sr., Alice K. East, Alice H. East, and Robert C. East Wildlife Foundation and the Houston Safari Club

Cattle grazing may strongly influence the nutritional ecology of white-tailed deer.  We will test the hypothesis that standing crop of forbs palatable to white-tailed deer has a hump-backed relationship to cattle grazing intensity wherein standing crop increases with grazing intensity to a point, and then declines as grazing intensity increases.  


Northern Bobwhie Habitat Restoration on the Hixon Ranch

Principle Investigators:  Tim Fulbright, Fidel Hernandez, Eric Grahmann, Forrest Smith, David Wester

Graduate Students:  Monika Burchette, Matthew Wojda, Anthony Heenan, Ben Olsen

Funding: George C. 'Tim' Hixon and Family, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, South Texas Chapter of the Quail Coalition, and the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program

Northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) and scaled quail (Calipepla squamata) are declining throughout their range.  One cause of this decline in South Texas is invasion of exotic grasses such as buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare).  Recovery of quail species may depend in part on our ability to restore their habitat where invasion and planting of exotic grasses has caused habitat loss.  Our objective is to determine if restoring native vegetation on a 300 acre area will result in increased habitat use by quail and greater diversity of non-game species compared to a 300 acre experimental control area.

Habitat selection by Scaled Quail

Principle investigators:  Tim Fulbright, Fidel Hernandez, and Eric Grahmann

Graduate Students: Holley Kline

Funding: South Texas Charity Quail Hunts, South Texas Chapter of the Quail Coalition, San Antonio Quail Coalition, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the Sam Walton Fellowship in Quail Research

Scaled quail are declining in abundance in south Texas.  We hypothesize that habitat fragmentation caused by brush management and the spread of exotic grasses is one of the causes of the decline in scaled quail.  One objective of our study is to determine patterns of habitat use by scaled quail.  We will determine the extent to which scaled quail use or avoid areas dominated by exotic grasses.