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James W. Cain, III

James W. cain III
Image of ...James W. Cain III

Title: Assistant Leader - Wildlife and Affiliate Associate Professor

Research area: Wildlife-habitat Relationships, Large Mammal Ecology, Wildlife Management and Conservation

Office location: Knox 123

Email Address: jwcain@nmsu.edu

Office Phone: 575-646-3382

Office Fax: 575-646-1281


  • Ph.D., Wildlife and Fisheries Science, University of Arizona, 2006
  • M.S., Biological Conservation, California State University-Sacramento, 2001
  • B.S., Biological Science, Colorado State University, 1997

Professional Experience:

  • 2010-Present: Assistant Unit Leader-Wildlife, New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University
  • 2010-Present: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University
  • 2010-Present: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, New Mexico State University
  • 2010-2013: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department Biological and Environmental Science, Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • 2008-Present: Honorary Research Fellow, Center for African Ecology, School of Animal, Plant & Environmental Science, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • 2008-2010: Assistant Professor, Department Biological and Environmental Science, Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • 2006-2008: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for African Ecology, School of Animal, Plant & Environmental Science, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Research Interests: My research interests are primarily in wildlife-habitat relationships, population ecology, and the influence of management practices on native wildlife species. I am interested in using a rigorous scientific approach to address applied questions related to ecology, conservation and management of large mammals and birds.

  • Effects of environmental heterogeneity on habitat selection, resource use, movements and the landscape-level distribution of large mammals. Specifically I am interested in how spatial and temporal variation in habitat characteristics, resources and constraints on resource use (e.g., predation risk) influence the movement, habitat selection and distribution of large mammals at multiple spatial scales.
  • Influence of habitat characteristics and resources on demographic rates and the subsequent influence on population ecology.
  • Impact of natural resource management activities on wildlife populations.

Current Research Projects:

  • Assessment of nutrition and predation as limiting factors for mule deer in New Mexico.
  • Evaluating adaptive capacity of desert bighorn sheep to climate change: identifying genetic links to climate adaptations in native and reintroduced populations.
  • An assessment of the landscape genetic structure of the western continental golden eagle population.
  • An estimate of abundance and an assessment of the efficacy of sterilization techniques for the control of wild burro populations.
  • The ecological web contributing to a sarcoptic mange epizootic in coyotes of the Mojave Desert, Fort Irwin, California.
  • Resource selection and movements of mule deer and elk on the Jemez Pueblo.
  • Population trends and predicted trajectories of American pronghorn in the American Southwest.
  • Drought impacts on desert bighorn sheep and pronghorn in the southwestern U.S.
  • Habitat selection, survival and cause-specific mortality of translocated mule deer in southern New Mexico.
  • Population dynamics and reintroduction characteristics of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico's Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.
  • Estimation of black bear densities in New Mexico using noninvasive genetic analyses.
  • Responses of large mammals to forest restoration treatments in the southwest Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.
  • Distribution and habitat selection/space use of migratory and resident golden eagles in areas with high potential for wind energy development in New Mexico.
  • Influence of ecosystem heterogeneity and predation risk by lions on multi-scale habitat selection and resource use of wildebeest and zebra in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Selected Publications:

  • O'Shaughnessy, R., J.W. Cain III, N. Owen-Smith. 2014. Comparative diet and habitat selection of puku and lechwe in northern Botswana. Journal of Mammalogy 95:933-942.
  • Pitman, J.W., J.W. Cain III, S.G. Liley, W.R. Gould, N.T. Quintana, and W.B. Ballard. 2014. Post-parturition habitat selection by elk calves and adult female elk in New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management 78:1216-1227.
  • Lewis, J.D., J.W. Cain III, and R. Denkhaus. 2014. Home range and habitat selection of an inland alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) population at the northwestern edge of the distribution range. Southeastern Naturalist 13:261-279.
  • Smith, J.B., D.P. Walsh, E.J. Goldstein, Z.D. Parsons, R.C. Karsch, J.R. Stiver, J.W. Cain III, K.J. Raedeke, and J.A. Jenks. 2014. Techniques for capturing bighorn sheep lambs. Wildlife Society Bulletin 38:165-174.
  • Turnbull, T.T., J.W. Cain III, and G.W. Roemer. 2013. Anthropogenic impacts to the recovery of the Mexican wolf with a focus on trapping-related incidents. Wildlife Society Bulletin 37:311-318.
  • Pepper, M.B., L.D. Howery, P.R. Krausman, G.B. Ruyle, J.W. Cain III, and D.W. Schafer. 2013. Adaptive grazing management for cattle and elk forage use in central Arizona. Southwestern Naturalist 58:20-27.
  • Conkling, T.J., T.L. Pope, K.N. Smith, H.A. Mathewson, M.L. Morrison, R.N. Wilkins, and J.W. Cain, III. 2012. Analysis of the black-capped vireo nest predator assemblage. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:1401-1411.
  • Macandza, V.A., N. Owen-Smith, and J.W. Cain, III. 2012. Habitat and resource partitioning between abundant and relatively rare grazing ungulates. Journal of Zoology 287:175-185.
  • Smith, K.N., M.L. Morrison, J.W. Cain, III, and R.N. Wilkins. 2012. Nesting ecology of the black- capped vireo in southwest Texas. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 124:277-285.
  • Macandza, V.A., N. Owen-Smith, and J.W. Cain, III. 2012. Dynamic spatial partitioning and coexistence among tall grass grazers in an African savanna. Oikos 121:891-898.
  • Cain, J.W., III, N. Owen-Smith, and V.A. Macandza. 2012. The costs of drinking: relative water dependency of sable antelope and zebra. Journal of Zoology 286.58-67.
  • Smith, K.N., J.W. Cain, III, M.L. Morrison, and R.N. Wilkins. 2012. A Novel Songbird Nest Predator: The Greater Arid Land Katydid. American Midland Naturalist 167:210-212.
  • Flesch, A.D., C.W. Epps, J.W. Cain, III, M. Clark, P.R. Krausman, and J.R. Morgart. 2010. Potential effects of the United States-Mexico Border fence on wildlife. Conservation Biology 24:171-181.
  • Marshal, J.P., J.W. Cain, III, V.C. Bleich, and S.S. Rosenstock. 2009. Intrinsic and extrinsic sources of variation in the dynamics of large herbivore populations. Canadian Journal of Zoology 87:103-111.
  • Smith, S.M. and J.W. Cain, III. 2009. Foraging efficiency and vigilance behavior of impala: the influence of herd size and neighbor density. African Journal of Ecology 47:109-118.
  • Cain, J.W., III, P.R. Krausman, J.R. Morgart, B.D. Jansen, and M.B. Pepper. 2008. Responses of desert bighorn sheep to the removal of water sources. Wildlife Monographs 171.
  • Magome, H., J.W. Cain, III, N. Owen-Smith, and S.R. Henley. 2008. Forage selection of sable antelope in Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 38:35-41.
  • Owen-Smith, N. and J.W. Cain, III. 2007. Indicators of adaptive responses in home range utilization and movement patterns by a large mammalian herbivore. Israel Journal of Ecology & Evolution 53:423-438.
  • Cain, J.W., III, K.S. Smallwood, H.L. Loffland, and M.L. Morrison. 2006. Influence of mammal activity on nesting success of passerines. Journal of Wildlife Management 70:522-531.
  • Cain, J.W., III, H.E. Johnson, and P.R. Krausman. 2005. Wildfire and desert bighorn sheep habitat, Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. Southwestern Naturalist 50:506-513.
  • Cain, J.W., III, M.L. Morrison, and H.L. Bombay. 2003. Influence of predator activity on the nest success of willow flycatchers and yellow warblers. Journal of Wildlife Management 67:600-610.