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Grit City Think & Drink: Talking Trash: Diets of Urban Wildlife


Talking Trash: Using Geochemistry to Quantify Human Food Sources in the Diets of Urban Wildlife in Tacoma and Seattle with Dr. Kena-Fox Dobbs, University of Puget Sound. The most abundant and ubiquitous wildlife species in human-dominated landscapes are mesocarnivores, and here in the Pacific Northwest our urban centers are home to large populations of co-occurring raccoons and opossums. In our study we used the biogeochemistry of hair samples collected from Seattle and Tacoma to estimate trophic structure and the contribution of anthropogenic food sources (primarily human food waste and pet food) to raccoon and opossum diets. We found interesting differences between species, and dietary convergence among sub-populations within each species. Dr. Kena Fox-Dobbs is an Associate Professor of Geology and Environmental Policy at the University of Puget Sound. She and her undergraduate students use biogeochemical approaches to investigate patterns of energy and nutrient flow in modern and ancient ecosystems. Join us for our monthly Grit City Think& Drink! Learn cool stuff for free.