An Ossining High School student is currently conducting groundbreaking research on the spatial behaviors of red fox and coyote populations in the urban and suburban areas of the Hudson Valley region. Isabella Vinces, a junior in Ossining’s Science Research program, has been studying the issue for the past two years.
Through extensive fieldwork and data analysis, Isabella is discovering new insights into red fox and coyote behaviors. Her early findings indicate that coyotes will soon be displacing red foxes, forcing them to inhabit urban areas closer to human residences. Furthermore, coyotes will become the dominant apex predator, which will create spatial partitioning between the two species.
“The purpose of my project is to determine if urbanization is affecting how red fox and coyotes interact with one another, and how humans can coexist with them,” explained Isabella. “In recent years, there has been a significant increase in sightings of both species and my research aims to draw attention to the issue so we can better understand these animals.”
In addition to her fieldwork, Isabella is also leveraging the local community in her research by inviting residents to share any observations they had of red fox and coyote populations in the area. She set up two trail cameras in her own backyard and one in a participant’s to gather data, and is working with the Ossining Police Department to analyze more than 160 incident reports that contained sightings over the past 22 years.
This crowd-sourced information is providing valuable data that helps to paint a more comprehensive picture of the spatial behaviors of these species in the Hudson Valley region.
“This research is incredibly important for our understanding of urban wildlife ecology,” said Valerie Holmes, OHS Science Teacher and Co-Director of the Science Research Program. “It provides valuable information for conservation efforts aimed at preserving and protecting these species in the Hudson Valley region.”
By involving the community in her research, Isabella is not only adding to the overall body of knowledge to advance her project, but she is also raising awareness about the importance of preserving these species and their habitats. This project is a true collaboration between Isabella, residents, and wildlife organizations, and serves as a model for how community involvement can lead to meaningful and impactful research.
“Isabella has exceeded all expectations. Her drive and commitment to this research have been truly impressive, and the involvement of the community in her study only adds to the significance of her findings,” said , OHS Science Teacher and Co-Director of the Science Research Program.
As part of her research project, Isabella is also working with her mentor, a PhD student at Fordham University, to whom she owes much gratitude
“I’m so thankful to Mr. Piccirillo and Ms. Holmes for guiding me through this project and helping me recruit participants, and to my mentor at Fordham for helping me analyze the data and further develop my research,” said Isabella.
Isabella plans to present her research at the upcoming Regeneron Westchester Science & Engineering Fair (WESEF) in March 2023. Hudson valley residents can still contribute to Isabella’s research by filling out a questionnaire and consent form.
If you have seen a red fox or coyote and would like to participate in this study, please visit: