There are ways in which Matt Gompper’s work is simultaneously disheartening and inspiring. As an associate professor in the Fisheries and Wildlife department, he pursues research that falls into an area of wildlife biology known as conservation biology. That is, he seeks to understand the theoretical and real-world causes that drive animal populations to decline or become extinct. While focusing on animal species on the brink of extinction is surely depressing, his efforts are also aimed at conservation—and that’s the part that is encouraging.
The Eastern Spotted Skunk is on the verge of extinction. Gompper discusses work in the region that aims to understand why various animals are on the decline and what can be done about it.