UF/IFAS RCREC Graduate Student Highlight: Tyler Buckley
By: Bethany Wight, Biologist
UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center
Charles “Tyler” Buckley grew up on the coast of Georgia in Savannah, which holds a strong place in his heart and he hopes to return there someday. Growing up fishing and hunting he quickly became interested in natural resources.
“I originally thought I wanted to be a game warden but soon realized that instead of the law, I was more interested in contributing to the management of lands and natural resources.”
Tyler attended the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, GA, and earned a bachelor’s degree in 2018 in natural resource management with an emphasis in wildlife management. His bachelor program was very applied and taught him how important ranching and agricultural areas are to managing landscapes and supporting wildlife.
“Thinking back on my bachelor’s degree program, almost every lab was hands on. Whether it was conducting mark-recapture studies on salamanders, cruising timber, or conducting prescribed burns.”
Between school years, Tyler held many summer internships with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. For two summers he worked at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Townsend, GA conducting general maintenance, assisting with sea turtle monitoring and helping control the wild pig population. Tyler then worked two summers at the Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge, GA conducting more intense work on sea turtles and wild pig population control. He also worked at the Jones Center at Ichauway, GA studying the effects of fire on understory hardwoods. All of this experience led him to get a job after graduation on a large ranch in Highlands County, FL as a wild pig field technician with the RCREC’s wildlife program.
Tyler quickly became an essential member of the RCREC wildlife program, assisting with wild pig trapping, tagging, and sampling. He also monitors and processes imagery from a large array of 44 game cameras distributed across a 10,000 acre ranch. Tyler’s hard work and interest in land management led him to start his Master’s program with UF’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and the RCREC under Dr. Raoul Boughton in 2018.
“I have always had an interest in invasive species management and being able to develop and contribute to the knowledge base of one of the most damaging and widespread invasive species is exciting.”
Tyler’s master’s research focuses on the compensatory responses of wild pigs under pulsed removal events. To simplify, he is interested in the mechanisms that wild pigs possess to offset control efforts such as trapping and shooting, particularly by examining an increase in litter size and survival. Wild pigs on site have been trapped, tagged, and released, and using the large game camera array he can estimate the pig abundance and population responses to removal events. This research will help create informed management regimes to more efficiently understand how to reduce wild pig population growth. His research is being funded by the USDA NWRC Feral Swine Program.
When Tyler is not conducting wild pig research he continues to enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking and anything outdoors. Tyler is planning to graduate in fall 2020 and enter the work force right away.
“My dream job would be a position where I am involved in land management activities to answer questions for biologists and land managers regarding habitat recommendations that benefit threatened and endangered species and both game and non-game wildlife.”
This was written by Bethany Wight, a biological scientist at the UF/IFAS Range Cattle REC in Ona, FL. If you have questions please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the UF/IFAS Range Cattle REC Rangeland Wildlife and Ecosystems Program, Tyler is working with, visit https://www.rangelandwildlife.com/.