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Lucretia E. Olson

Lucretia Olson with dog


800 East Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, MT 59801-5801
Contact Lucretia E. Olson

Current Research

My research focuses on understanding the patterns and processes behind the distribution of animals across a landscape. I am interested in how biotic and abiotic factors influence the habitats and resources that animals use, and in how the ways in which we choose to analyze these data influence our understanding.  My current projects include modeling the distribution and habitat selection of Canada lynx and fisher in the northwestern Rocky Mountains, examining the movement and migration of ferruginous hawks in Wyoming, and understanding Canada lynx response to recreation and beetle outbreaks in Colorado.


  • University of California, Los Angeles, Phd, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2009
  • University of Montana, B.A., Biology, 2001
  • Featured Publications


    Holbrook, Joseph D.; Olson, Lucretia E.; DeCesare, Nicholas J.; Hebblewhite, Mark; Squires, John R.; Steenweg, Robin, 2019. Functional responses in habitat selection: Clarifying hypotheses and interpretations
    Holbrook, Joseph D.; Squires, John R.; Bollenbacher, Barry; Graham, Russ; Olson, Lucretia E.; Hanvey, Gary; Jackson, Scott; Lawrence, Rick L.; Savage, Shannon L., 2019. Management of forests and forest carnivores: Relating landscape mosaics to habitat quality of Canada lynx at their range periphery
    Johnson, Tracey N.; Nasman, Kristen; Wallace, Zachary P.; Olson, Lucretia E.; Squires, John R.; Nielson, Ryan M.; Kennedy, Patricia L., 2019. Survey design for broad-scale, territory-based occupancy monitoring of a raptor: Ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) as a case study
    Holbrook, Joseph D.; Squires, John R.; Bollenbacher, Barry; Graham, Russell T.; Olson, Lucretia E.; Hanvey, Gary; Jackson, Scott; Lawrence, Rick L., 2018. Spatio-temporal responses of Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) to silvicultural treatments in the Northern Rockies, U.S.
    Miller, Aubrey D.; Vaske, Jerry J.; Squires, John R.; Olson, Lucretia E., 2017. Does zoning winter recreationists reduce recreation conflict?
    Olson, Lucretia E.; Squires, John R.; Oakleaf, Robert J.; Wallace, Zachary P.; Kennedy, Patricia L., 2017. Predicting above-ground density and distribution of small mammal prey species at large spatial scales
    Baigas, Phillip E.; Squires, John R.; Olson, Lucretia E.; Ivan, Jacob S.; Roberts, Elizabeth. K., 2017. Using environmental features to model highway crossing behavior of Canada lynx in the Southern Rocky Mountains
    Miller, Sue; Schwartz, Michael K.; Olson, Lucretia E., 2016. Here today, here tomorrow: Managing forests for fisher habitat in the Northern Rockies
    Wallace, Zachary P.; Kennedy, Patricia L.; Squires, John R.; Olson, Lucretia E.; Oakleaf, Robert J., 2016. Human-made structures, vegetation, and weather influence ferruginous hawk breeding performance
    Wallace, Zachary P.; Kennedy, Patricia L.; Squires, John R.; Oakleaf, Robert J.; Olson, Lucretia E.; Dugger, Katie M., 2016. Re-occupancy of breeding territories by ferruginous hawks in Wyoming: Relationships to environmental and anthropogenic factors
    Olson, Lucretia E.; Oakleaf, Robert J.; Squires, John R.; Wallace, Zachary P.; Kennedy, Patricia L., 2015. Nesting pair density and abundance of ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis) and golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) from aerial surveys in Wyoming
    A closeup shot of a lynx face
    The management of Canada lynx habitat is an issue that has generated much debate and litigation across the Northern (Montana, Idaho) and Southern (Colorado, Wyoming) Rocky Mountains. This species depends almost exclusively on snowshoe hare for food during winter, and this prey species is sensitive to changes in forest composition and structure. Research conducted by scientists at the Rocky Mountain Research Station, in collaboration with universities and local forest managers, is central in resolving management impasses by learning how changes in forest structure and composition can be implemented in ways that enhance the ability of Canada lynx to produce kittens.  
    Lynx kitten from a female in spruce-beetle kill
    Spruce-bark beetles impacted about 480,000 acres of spruce-fir forests in southern Colorado and are spreading at the rate of 100,000 acres annually.  A central question is how to salvage for timber production insect-impacted forests in ways consistent with the management and conservation of Canada lynx, a federally-listed species.
    Ferruginous hawk instrumented with a solar GPS transmitter.
    Over the past decade and a half, raptors nesting in prairie ecosystems have been subject to sharp increases in nearby energy development activity. This research documents how nesting ferruginous hawks forage in oil and gas energy fields based on GPS telemetry. The purpose is to help managers and companies reflect conservation needs of this species in the management and arrangement of energy-development infrastructure.   
    By 2013, a spruce beetle outbreak impacted 85% of the mature spruce-fir forests on the Rio Grande National Forest. These spruce-fir forests provided some of the highest quality lynx habitat in the state. The goal of this project is to research the forest structures and compositions that lynx and snowshoe hare depend within landscapes altered by spruce bark beetle outbreak, in relation to increased post-beetle forest management activities from timber salvage.

    National Strategic Program Areas: 
    Outdoor Recreation; Wildlife and Fish
    National Priority Research Areas: 
    Forest Disturbances
    RMRS Science Program Areas: 
    Wildlife and Terrestrial Ecosystems