LeviLevi Souza

PhD Candidate


Ph.D in Ecology, expected 2013, UC Davis
B.S., UC Davis


Magpie Habitat Preferences
The Yellow-billed Magpie is a California endemic bird species (only found in California) that has suffered dramatic mortality from West Nile virus (WNV). MagpieThough familiar to many who live within its range, we know surprisingly little about various aspects of the Yellow-billed Magpie's life history. Gaps in our knowledge include dispersal patterns, subpopulation status, and habitat preferences, among others. To help answer the question of which habitats magpies prefer and to understand how data gathered by citizen scientists compares to that gathered by trained scientists, I am building computer models that describe the climate and vegetation types that Yellow-billed Magpies use the most. I am utilizing magpie observation records from citizen scientists (Magpie Monitors; ebird) as well as trained biologists.


Mercury Loads in River OttersRiver Otter
Mercury is a dangerous pollutant that is a relic of mercury mining operations in the coast ranges and gold refining in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Runoff from these sources collect in the central valley where the mercury may bioaccumulate within the aquatic food web. I am interested in understanding the risks that dietary methylmercury intake pose to Central Valley populations of river otters. To answer this question, fur and food sources will be analyzed for mercury content to discover the sources that pose the greatest risks to this top wetland predator.

LeviIf you have any questions about my research please feel free to email me at (lesouza@ucdavis.edu ).

When I am not doing research, I work for the California Department of Fish and Game, hike, garden, and keep chickens.


River otter picture courtesy of Rob Floerke