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Dan Herrera

I am an early-career urban ecologist interested in how animals use and move across the urban landscape, and behavioral plasticity of animals in urban environments. In addition to research, I also work as a science communicator and illustrator by making infographics, museum displays, project logos, and project handouts. Interested in my research or art? Please reach out! I'm always looking for new collaborations!

Current Research

DC Cat Count

I am part of the DC Cat Count Project, a collaboration between the Humane Rescue Alliance and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. The project aims to count the number of cats within Washington DC by integrating the use of motion-activated wildlife cameras, veterinary and adoption records, transect walks, and door-to-door surveys. The findings will be used to develop methods for other municipalities to reliably estimate their own cat populations in an effort to inform data-driven outdoor cat policy. In addition to counting cats, the project is building what will likely be the largest fine-scale urban wildlife data set ever created. 

Urban Heat Islands

The urban heat island effect keeps cities warmer than rural areas longer into the year. This prolonged warm season may enable some city-dwelling animals to be active later in the year than their rural counterparts, potentially allowing for species overlap and trophic interactions that would otherwise not occur outside the city.

Photo: Red-tailed Hawk eating an Eastern Worm Snake

DC residents only
Photos courtesy of the DC Cat Count
Photo courtesy of the DC Cat Count
Raccoon