Gonzalez Named to Nau Endowed Professor in Habitat Research and Management
B RI is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Carlos (Lalo) Gonzalez (pictured above) as Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Management and the Nau Endowed Professor in Habitat Research and Management. 

Gonzalez earned a Bachelor of Science in Range and Wildlife from Texas A&M-Kingsville, a Master of Science in Natural Resource Management from Sul Ross State University and his PhD in 2018 through a cooperative doctoral program with Sul Ross and Texas A&M.  

The new position oversees the development of the Habitat Research and Management program, including coordinating research grants, working closely with the West Texas Native Seed Program, and developing rangeland restoration techniques for West Texas. 

“Habitat management is my passion, and I am grateful for this incredible opportunity to be part of the BRI team,” said Gonzalez. “It means a lot to me, especially because the generosity of the Nau family has impacted my work since I was a grad student here at Sul Ross. They funded my research on scaled quail on their West Texas property, and I and many others are fortunate to have been beneficiaries of the Nau family's passion for wildlife and land stewardship. Their support for habitat management guided by sound science will continue to have an impact across the entire Trans-Pecos Region of Texas.” 

Texas Landowners:
A&M Wants to Know What You Think
I f you are a landowner of a farm, ranch or other working land, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute invites you to participate in their Texas Landowner Questionnaire. 
The questionnaire is confidential, takes about 15 minutes to complete, and is divided into four topics: Land Management, Landowner Concerns, Land Loss/Fragmentation, and Landowners. 
Your participation will help improve land and natural resource management programming in Texas. Please visit the link below:  

Understanding Pronghorn-Habitat Relationships 
P ronghorn ( Antilocapra americana ) abundance and distribution in Texas have significantly declined from their historical ranges. Habitat declines throughout North America due to fragmentation and degradation have been attributed as a main driver of these pronghorn population declines. Because of this, since 2011, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Borderlands Research Institute have conducted restoration efforts to increase pronghorn populations throughout the Trans-Pecos region of Texas. However, guidelines addressing estimates of carrying capacity and cattle grazing effects on pronghorn-preferred forage are lacking and not well understood.

Pronghorn evolved in grasslands with a diet composed of highly nutritional forbs. This preference for specific forbs invokes the term pronghorn-preferred forage. To continue restoration efforts, we need to develop a carrying capacity estimate for pronghorn, as well as a better understanding of how grazing from domestic livestock affects pronghorn-preferred forage production. Having a better grasp on these topics will shed light on pronghorn habitat management techniques needed to bolster the already successful restoration efforts. 

Student Spotlight: Jacob Locke
Graduate student Jacob Locke poses with a nearby pronghorn at one of his study sites on the Marathon Grasslands.
E arly on, Jacob Locke learned something very important from his dad.  
“Seeing his work life versus his life in the outdoors showed me that I did not want to sit inside of an office every day,” said Locke, reflecting on many childhood outdoor adventures they enjoyed together. “I knew at a young age that I wouldn’t be studying business in college. I wanted to find a career choice that would keep me outdoors.” 
The natural curiosity inspired by being out in nature evolved into wanting to learn more about wildlife. When he learned about the option of becoming a wildlife biologist, he knew he had found the perfect career choice. 
After high school, Locke enrolled at Texas A&M and earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. He met Dr. Louis Harveson during his junior year and learned about the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. During his senior year, Dr. Harveson approached him about an opportunity for graduate studies centered on pronghorn research. Locke jumped at the chance and enrolled immediately following his college graduation in May 2018. His research project is building on work from previous graduate students, adding to the scientific knowledge that informs management decisions for the restoration of pronghorn in the area.

“I feel incredibly privileged to get to do what we do,” said Locke. “Helping to bring back one of Texas’ most iconic big game species to its native range is a pretty cool feeling.” 
Fun Fact: What do Pronghorn Eat?
Hog potato (above) and bladderpod (below) are two favorites in the pronghorn diet.
Photos by Cullom Simpson and Shawn Gray. Pronghorn Foods pie chart adapted from Woody Plants of the Big Bend and Trans-Pecos.
T he pronghorn diet consists almost entirely of forbs, which are broad-leafed weeds and wildflowers. Compared to grasses and browse, forbs are high in nutrients and water, allowing pronghorn to survive in arid environments. Some pronghorn-preferred forbs are toxic to other wildlife and livestock but pose no threat to pronghorn (such as broom snakeweed, threadleaf groundsel, woolly paperflower, and goathead).
About 60% of the pronghorn diet is forbs, but pronghorn also eat grasses and browse.
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Borderlands Research Institute | 432.837.8225 | bri@sulross.edu
P.O. Box C-21, SRSU, Alpine, Texas 79832