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Dr. James Cain III

James Cain with desert bighorn sheep lamb


  • Ph D University of Arizona 2006
  • MS California State University-Sacramento 2001
  • BS Colorado State University 1997


I am originally from Tempe, Arizona. I received a B.S. from Colorado State University, an M.S. from California State University, Sacramento, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

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 both basic and applied questions related to wildlife ecology, conservation and management. In general, my research interests focus on understanding the effects of environmental heterogeneity on habitat selection, resource use, movements and the landscape-level distribution of mammals and birds. Specifically I am interested in studies on 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 wildlife. Furthermore, I am interested in determining how habitat selection, at the local and landscape scales, is related to demographic rates and population dynamics, including the relationships between habitat quality and metapopulation dynamics. Another area of research involves the influence of natural resource management activities on wildlife and I work with government agencies to assess the implications of current and future land use and management practices on conservation of wildlife populations and communities.

Teaching Interests

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach a range of courses and gain teaching experiences with diverse groups of students at both U.S. and international universities. My experiences include teaching courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level and include courses in Wildlife Management, Field Methods for Wildlife and Conservation, Quantitative Biology, Wildlife -habitat Relationships, and Population and Community Ecology. My teaching interests include courses in large mammal ecology and conservation, wildlife-habitat relationships, field methods, and wildlife conservation and management.

Professional Society Service

  • Other - Fundraising Committee Member (January 2016 - September 2017)
  • The Wildlife Society - Program Committee, Contributed Papers Subcomittee Chair--5th International Wildlife Management Congress, Sapporo, Japan 2015 (April 2014 - July 2015)
  • The Wildlife Society - Planning Committee Chair, 2015 Joint Annual Meeting of the Arizona and New Mexico Chapters of the Wildlife Society (February 2014 - February 2015)
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Research Publications

  • Humagain, K., C. Portillo-Quintero, R.Cox, and J.W. Cain III. 2018. Estimating forest canopy cover dynamics in Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico, using LiDAR and Landsat data. Applied Geography 99:120-132.
  • Gedir, J.V., and J.W. Cain III. 2018. An individual-based model for predicting dynamics of a newly established Mexican wolf population. USGS Open File Report 2018-1126.
  • Quintana, N.T., S.G. Liley, J.W. Cain III, and J.W. Pitman. 2018. Effects of nutrition and calf predation on elk vital rates in New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management 82:1417–1428.
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Current Projects

Completed Projects


  • Large Mammal Ecology, Management, and Conservation (2016)
  • Wildlife-habitat Relationships (2015)
  • Large Mammal Ecology, Management, and Conservation (2014)
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New Mexico University Committees and Workgroups

  • James CainChair, Quantitative Ecologist Hiring Committee (August 2015 - May 2016)
  • James CainGraduate Program Committee Member, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University (August 2010 - August 2011)
  • James CainHonors Committee, Texas A&M University-Commerce (May 2009 - May 2010)
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Technical Publications

  • Roemer, G.W., J.W. Cain III, C.D. Reddell, T. Karish, J. Gedir. 2018. Investigations into the control of invasive feral burro and coyote populations on the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. Report to the U.S. Army Construction and Engineering Research Laboratory.
  • Cain, J.W. III, S. Smythe, W. Conway and G. Roemer. 2017. Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project: Large Mammal Responses to Wildfire and Landscape-Scale Forest Restoration in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, Annual Progress Report to the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service.
  • Gedir, J.V., and J.W. Cain III. 2017. Population trajectories and extinction probabilities for populations of large ungulates. Annual Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 18

Phd Students: 3

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 2

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 27

Scientific Publications: 51

Presentations: 153

New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
  2. New Mexico State University
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey