Marlin Dart, a graduate student in the South Dakota State University Department of Natural Resource Management, has received a $1,250 Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship from the Wild Felid Association. The international scholarship is awarded to up to three graduate-level students conducting research with wild felids, otherwise known as wild cats, each year.
Pursuing a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries with a wildlife specialization under Robert C. Lonsinger, an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resource Management, Dart’s thesis research focuses on better understanding the spatial ecology of bobcats in the Northern Great Plains. He chose the subject based on the threat human expansion poses to wild felid habitat loss.
“With no end to human expansion in sight, conservation of wild felids will require a thorough understanding of how landscape and community patterns influence the occurrence and persistence of wild felids,” Dart said.
By using camera trapping and occupancy modeling, Dart evaluates the influence of landscape patterns, land-cover features and intraguild interactions on the spatial and temporal ecology of bobcats.
“All in all, Marlin has been an outstanding graduate student and has excelled in both his coursework and research; he works diligently to meet and exceed expectations in his research and coursework, offer guidance and assistance to his peers and support his family,” Lonsinger said.
Originally from Boulder City, Nevada, Dart obtained his bachelor’s degree in zoology from North Dakota State University with an emphasis in wildlife, fisheries, ecology and behavior. Dart says that without his mentors, including Amber N. Wright from University of Hawaii at Manoa, John L. Hoogland from University of Maryland and Lonsinger, or his family members supporting him along the way, his achievements would not have been possible.
“Wildlife biology is very competitive, and I think about the great wild felid research that is taking place around the world and to be recognized by the great scientists at the Wild Felid Research and Management Association is an honor and manifestation of my hard work and professional development,” Dart said.
Dart also serves as the student representative for North Dakota and South Dakota on the Wild Felid Research and Management Association and is a member of the Wildlife Society, further proving his dedication to wildlife research and commitment to the industry.
“The Department of Natural Resource Management is very proud of Marlin Dart and his research accomplishments toward his M.S. degree under the skilled mentorship of Assistant Professor Rob Lonsinger,” said SDSU Natural Resource Management Department Head Michele R. Dudash.