As a Principle Investigator and Research Statistician, I create science to support critical management decisions for hard to study species in a changing environment.
Such situations produce data that tend to be sparse, biased and/or imprecise, and have large knowledge gaps. Thus, I specialize in modifying state-of-the-art analytical and computational approaches for complex problems and intractable data, as well as creating new statistical theory and techniques when existing methods are inadequate. I routinely use Bayesian and frequentist paradigms.
My career-long species affiliations have varied across the plant and animal kingdoms, but my USGS research centers on marine mammals. I maintain a strong, decade-long collaboration with walrus researchers at USGS, USFWS and ADFG, and I have recently expanded my work to include collaborative sea otter and polar bear research.
My highest priority goals include five different projects to estimate Pacific walrus abundance (while also refining estimates of their demographic rates and population trend). The Department of Interior needs population size and status information to manage this trust species which is an important resource for native subsistence hunters, is protected and managed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and was an endangered species candidate until the 2017 decision not to list—a decision which is being litigated by the Center for Biological Diversity. I also have ongoing demographic work using age-at-death distributions to estimate vital rates, in addition to mechanistic modeling for other species of concern.
Education and Certifications
Ph.D. 2009 Montana State University-Bozeman, MT Fish and Wildlife Biology
M.S. 2008 Montana State University-Bozeman, MT Statistics
M.S. 2001 Montana State University-Bozeman, MT Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
B.S. 1991 University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI Natural Science with majors in Wildlife Ecology and Zoology
Science and Products
Science and Products
Pre-USGS PublicationsTaylor, R. L., J. D. Tack, D. E. Naugle, and L. S. Mills. 2013. Combined effects of energy development and disease on Greater Sage-Grouse. PLoS One 8(8):e71256. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071256Taylor, R. L., B. L. Walker, D. E. Naugle, and L. S. Mills. 2012. Managing multiple vital rates to maximize Greater Sage-grouse population growth. Journal of Wildlife Management 76(2):336-347. doi:10.1002/jwmg.267Taylor, R. L. and G. K. Himes Boor. 2012. Beyond the robust design: Accounting for changing, uncertain states and sparse, biased detection in a multistate mark-recapture model. Ecological Modeling 243:73-80. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2012.06.013Taylor, R. L., B. D. Maxwell, and R. J. Boik. 2006. Indirect effects of herbicides on bird food resources and beneficial arthropods. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment 116:157-164. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2006.01.012Maniscalco, J. M., R. L. Taylor, D. G. Calkins, and S. N. Atkinson. 2005. Reproductive Performance and Pup Mortality in Steller Sea Lions. Pages 290-301 in T. R. Loughlin, S. Atkinson and D. G. Calkins (eds). Synopsis of Research on Steller sea lions: 2001-2005. Alaska SeaLife Center, 344 p. Seward, AK, USA.Taylor, R. L., S. A. Temple, and D. M. Bird. 1991. Nutritional and energetic implications for raptors consuming starving prey. The Auk 108(3):716-719.Taylor, R. L. 1990. Avian indicators in the Chequamegon National Forest. The Passenger Pigeon 52(3):225-231.