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Damon B. Lesmeister

Damon B. Lesmeister
Supervisory Research Wildlife Biologist
Ecological Process and Function
3200 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States
Current Research
  • Biology and ecology of the northern spotted owl and its prey base
  • Responses of northern spotted owls to landscape and wildlife community changes
  • Land management influence on wildlife interactions and space use based on those interspecific interactions
  • Developing and testing methods for multi-scale monitoring of wildlife to improve effectiveness monitoring under the Northwest Forest Plan
Past Research
Dr. Lesmeister's past research has focused on species distribution, space use, resource selection, and coexistence of species with high niche overlap. He evaluated the spatial ecology of eastern spotted skunks, a species of conservation concern throughout much of its historical range. The research has provided the only detailed multi-scale assessment of eastern spotted skunk space-use dynamics. Dr. Lesmeister found that predation risk has a powerful role in space use and resource selection of this small carnivore, especially their strong selection of young dense forest. Small forest carnivores are highly susceptible to predators in open habitat; therefore, often prefer habitat with characteristics that mediate those trophic and competitive interactions. In addition to his work with small carnivores, Dr. Lesmeister quantified the spatial and temporal structure of a widely-occurring mesocarnivore guild in the Central Hardwood Forest Region. He used a multi-scale occupancy modeling framework to reveal that anthropogenic disturbance and the structure of hardwood forest habitat influence competitive interactions and coexistence in the carnivore guild. His research suggests that in many landscapes bottom-up factors such as habitat consistently influence carnivore distribution and that top-down factors causing a competitor-driven adjustment in space use is not a universal phenomenon.
Research Interest
  • Wildlife Ecology and Management
  • Population Dynamics
  • Resource Selection
  • Space Use
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Community Ecology
  • Wildlife Monitoring
  • Predator-Prey Dynamics
  • Mammalian Carnivores
  • Northern Spotted Owl
Why This Research Is Important
By integrating innovative approaches to address questions in ecology, Dr. Lesmeister's research helps clarify multiple biological scales of forest wildlife distribution, resource selection, space use dynamics, survival, and mechanisms of coexistence. His work provides valuable information to natural resource managers and policy makers so they are able to make sound decisions for the stewardship of healthy and sustainable ecosystems.
  • Southern Illinois University, Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology, 2013
  • University of Missouri, M.S., Wildlife Ecology, 2007
  • University of Central Missouri, B.S., Biology, 2004
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Citations of Non-Forest Service Publications
  • Lesmeister, D. B., C. K. Nielsen, E. M. Schauber, and E. C. Hellgren. 2015. Spatial and temporal structure of a mesocarnivore guild in Midwestern North America. Wildlife Monographs 191: 1–61. doi: 10.1002/wmon.1015
  • Lesmeister, D. B., S. M. Blomquist, E. V. Lonsdorf, D. Wood, P. J. Williams, B. Pendley, K. E. Mangan, and B. A. Walker. 2014. Forest invasive adaptive management on national wildlife refuge lands in the central hardwood region. In: Groninger, J. W., E. J. Holzmueller, C. K. Nielsen, and D. C. Dey, eds. Proceedings of the 19th Central Hardwood Forest Conference, 2014 March 10-12, Carbondale, IL. General Technical Report NRS-P-142. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: pp. 22–35.
  • Lesmeister, D. B., R. S. Crowhurst, M. E. Gompper, and J. J. Millspaugh. 2013. Landscape ecology of eastern spotted skunks in habitats restored for red-cockaded woodpeckers. Restoration Ecology 21(2):267–275.
  • Feldhamer, G. A., D. B. Lesmeister, J. C. Devine, and D. I. Stetson. 2012. Golden mice (Ochrotomys nuttalli) and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus): co-occurrence and the abundant-center hypothesis. Journal of Mammalogy 93(4):1042–1050.
  • Lesmeister, D. B., and C. K. Nielsen. 2011. Protocol for large-scale monitoring of riparian mammals. Wildlife Biology in Practice 7(2):55–70.
  • Lesmeister, D. B., J. J. Millspaugh, M. E. Gompper, and T. W. Mong. 2010. Eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) survival and cause-specific mortality in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. American Midland Naturalist 164(1):52–60.
  • Lesmeister, D. B., M. E. Gompper, and J. J. Millspaugh. 2009. Habitat selection and home range dynamics of eastern spotted skunks in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. Journal of Wildlife Management 73(1):18–25.
  • Lesmeister, D. B., M. E. Gompper, and J. J. Millspaugh. 2008. Summer resting and den site selection by eastern spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius) in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. Journal of Mammalogy 89(6):1512–1520.
  • Lesmeister, D.B., J. J. Millspaugh, Susan E. Wade, and M. E. Gompper. 2008. A survey of parasites identified in the feces of eastern spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius) in western Arkansas. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 44(4):1041–1044.
  • Hackett, H. M., D. B. Lesmeister, J. Desanty-Combes, W. G. Montague, J. J. Millspaugh, and M. E. Gompper. 2007. Detection rates of eastern spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius) in Missouri and Arkansas using live-capture and non-invasive techniques. American Midland Naturalist 158(1):123–131.
  • Keller, H. W., P. G. Davidson, C. H. Haufler, and D. B. Lesmeister. 2003. Polypodium appalachianum: an unusual tree canopy epiphyte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. American Fern Journal 93(1):36–41.
  • Gompper, M. E., D. B. Lesmeister, J. C. Ray, J. R. Malcolm, and R. W. Kays. 2016. Habitat preference or intraguild interactions: What structures a carnivore community? PLoS ONE 11:e0146055. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146055

Research Highlights

Passive Acoustic Monitoring Effectively Detects Northern Spotted Owls and Barred Owls

Year: 2020
Scientists find a safer, less costly, and noninvasive method for monitoring northern spotted owl. Strategically placed recording units detected calls of northern spotted owls and barred owls over a range of forest conditions. These findings are being used to design and inform the transition from mar...