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Jessie Golding

Carnivore Research Associate

Carnivore Research Associate

800 East Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, MT 59801-5801
Contact Jessie Golding

Current Research

My research focuses on how rare carnivores persist on the landscape, how we use that knowledge to monitor their populations, and how to best get that monitoring information to both managers and scientists. I have been working collaboriatively to develop a long-term monitoring program for rare mesocarnivores, including fishers, lynx, wolverines, martens, and montane red foxes.


  • University of Montana, Missoula, M.S., Wildlife Biology, 2015
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., Integrative Biology and Environmental Science, 2007
  • Professional Experience

    Wildlife Biologist, AECOM
    2007 to 2012


    Tucker, Jody M.; Moriarty, Katie M.; Ellis, Martha; Golding, Jessie, 2021. Effective sampling area is a major driver of power to detect long-term trends in multispecies occupancy monitoring
    Sanderlin, Jamie S.; Golding, Jessie; Wilcox, Taylor; Mason, Daniel; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Pearson, Dean E.; Schwartz, Michael K., 2021. Occupancy modeling and resampling overcomes low test sensitivity to produce accurate SARS-CoV-2 prevalence estimates
    Franklin, Thomas W.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Golding, Jessie; Mason, Daniel H.; Dysthe, Joseph; Pilgrim, Kristine L.; Squires, John R.; Aubry, Keith B.; Long, Robert A.; Greaves, Samuel; Raley, Catherine M.; Jackson, Scott; MacKay, Paula; Lisbon, Joshua; Sauder, Joel D.; Pruss, Michael T.; Heffington, Don; Schwartz, Michael K., 2019. Using environmental DNA methods to improve winter surveys for rare carnivores: DNA from snow and improved noninvasive techniques
    Golding, Jessie; Schwartz, Michael K.; McKelvey, Kevin S.; Squires, John R.; Jackson, Scott D.; Staab, Cara; Sadak, Rema B., 2018. Multispecies mesocarnivore monitoring: USDA Forest Service multiregional monitoring approach
    Pacific marten (Martes caurina) visiting a baited remote camera and hair snare station in the Sierra Nevada.
    Wildlife occupancy monitoring depends on a few key assumptions, but they often do not hold true. This research investigates how violations of assumptions about effective sampling area change the ability to detect wildlife population declines.
    An illustration of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
    Rapid testing has been an essential part of the COVID-19 response, but rapid tests have lower sensitivity compared to other types of tests. New research has found that a modeling approach developed for detecting rare wildlife species could help overcome this challenge to generate fast, accurate, and cost-effective SARS-CoV-2 prevalence estimates.
    A suspected lynx has triggered this photo from a game camera in Montana (photo credit: Don Heffington).
    A new project showed that animal footprints in snow contain enough DNA for species identification, even when the snow was many months old. The study extracted DNA from snow samples collected within animal tracks as well as areas where the animal had been photographed months earlier. Newly developed genetic assays were applied and positively detected the DNA of each species, performing nearly flawlessly on samples previously considered too poor to provide usable DNA. This method could revolutionize winter surveys of rare species by greatly reducing or eliminating misidentifications and missed detections.
    Opportunity and Vision
    Mesocarnivores are species with diets consisting mainly of small prey and supplemented with fruits and/or fungi. RMRS scientists are partnering with the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) and other Forest Service regions to create a detailed model of rare mesocarnivores across multiple regions. This project will primarily survey for highly elusive species such as Canada lynx, fishers, and wolverines within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems.

    Research Topics: 
    Mammals; Wildlife and Fish
    National Strategic Program Areas: 
    Wildlife and Fish
    RMRS Science Program Areas: 
    Wildlife and Terrestrial Ecosystems