Smith, Tom

Plant & Wildlife Sciences

Email: 3wrpbvplwkCe|x1hgx  (Email Form)


5050  LSB
Provo, UT 84602
(801) 422-2151

Associate Professor

Curriculum Vitae

Tom Smith was born in Sandusky, Ohio in December 1955. He was raised in Indiana for most of his youth and attended Purdue University for his first year of college. During that time he became a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a mission to Tokyo, Japan (1976-1978). Upon returning Tom completed a 4 year BS degree at Brigham Young University. Seeking a MS degree at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks, Tom studied reindeer winter foraging behavior in western Alaska (1984-1987). Returning to BYU to study under Dr. Jerran Flinders Tom completed a 5 year PhD program focused on the ecology and management of mountain sheep in northeastern Utah (1986-1992). Tom was then hired by the National Park Service in southwestern Alaska where he served from 1992-2006 as a research biologist for the NPS and USGS. In 2006 Tom and his family relocated to Provo, Utah to serve on the Wildlife and Wildlands Faculty of Brigham Young University. Tom and his wife Cynthia have been married for 36 years and have 4 children.
 Teaching Interests
Tom's teaching interests include environmental biology, wildlife management techniques, wildlife behavior, safety in the workplace and carnivore conservation.
 Research Interests
Tom's research interests include wildife-human conflicts, particularly involving all three species of North American bears and mountain sheep. More recent work includes the Indian Sloth Bear and Bobcat.

  • President, The Utah Chapter of the Wildlife Society, 2010-2012
  • Scientific Advisory Board Member, Polar Bears International, 2006-2012

  • National Rifle Association, 2012-2014
  • Desert Bighorn Council, 2000-2014
  • International Association of Bear Management and Research, 1994-2014
  • The Wildlife Society, 1990-2014
  • The Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council, 1986-2014
 Honors and Awards
  • Anchorage School District & Gifted Mentorship Program : Appreciation for Mentoring
  • US Geological Survey : Outstanding Accomplishment Award
  • National Park Service : Certificate of Appreciation
  • Sigma XI Society : Outstanding PhD dissertation
  • The Utah Chapter of The Wildlife Society : Outstanding student paper award
 Courses Taught

Fall 2018
  • PWS 357: Tech Wldlf Invstgn & Mgmnt Section 001
  • PWS 554: Wildlife Behavioral Ecology Section 001
  • PWS 699R: Master's Thesis Section 014
Summer 2018
  • PWS 699R: Master's Thesis Section 017
Spring 2018
  • IAS 201R: Cultural Survey Section 008
  • PWS 699R: Master's Thesis Section 009
Winter 2018
  • IAS 201R: Cultural Survey Section 056
  • PWS 113: Safety Certification Section 001
  • PWS 150: Environmental Biology Section 001
  • PWS 598R: Adv Topics in PWS Section 004, 006
  • PWS 699R: Master's Thesis Section 013

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Smith TS, Gookin J, Hopkins BG, Thompson SH. 2018. Portable electric fencing for bear deterrence and conservation. Human Wildlife Interactions. 12(3):309-321. <website>

Robinson RW, Smith TS, Whiting JC, Shannon JM. 2018. Status and trends of desert bighorn sheep in the North San Rafael Swell. Desert Bighorn Council Transactions. 54:1-12.

Smith TS, Herrero SM. 2018. Human-Bear Conflict in Alaska: 1880 - 2015. The Wildlife Society Bulletin. <website>

Gooch AJ, Petersen SL, Collins GH, Smith TS, McMillan BR, Eggett DL. 2017. The impacts of feral horses on the use of water by pronghorn in the Great Basin. Journal of Arid Environments. 138:38-43.  doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2016.11.012

Olson JW, Rode KD, Eggett DL, Smith TS, Wilson RR, Durner GM, Fischbach A, Atwood TC, Douglas DC. 2017. Collar temperature sensor data reveal long-term patterns in southern Beaufort Sea polar bear den distribution on pack ice and land. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 563:211-224. <website>

Miller JA, Smith TS, Auger J, Black H, Allphin L. 2017. The late -denning activities of American Black Bear in Utah. Ursus. 27(2):1-12. <website>

Miller JA, Smith TS, Auger J, Black HL, Allphin L. 2016. An analysis of human-black bear conflict in Utah. Human-Wildlife Interactions. 10(2):292-299. <website>

Gookin J, Smith TS, Williams A. 2014. A device for refilling practice bear spray canisters. Human-Wildlife Initeractions. 8(2):280-284. <website>

Smith TS, Robinson R, Larsen RT, Kirschhoffer B. 2014. The use of forward looking infrared for polar bear den detection. Bioscience. 64(8):735-742. <website> doi:10.1093/biosci/biu095

Shannon JM, Whiting JC, Adams BL, Olson DD, Flinders JT, Smith TS, Bowyer RT. 2014. Population response of reintroduced bighorn sheep after observed commingling with domestic sheep. European Journal of Wildlife Research. 60:737-748. <website> doi:

Smith TS, Oyster J, Partridge ST, Martin I. 2012. Assessing black bear response to human activity at Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. Ursus. <website>

Smith TS, Herrero S, Strong CL, Larsen RT, Johnson K. 2012. Efficacy of firearms for bear deterrence in Alaska. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 76:1021-1027. <website>

Smith TS, Robinson R, Amstrup SC, Rosa C. 2011. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cub mortality at a den site in northern Alaska. Polar Biology. <website>

Herrero S, Higgins A, Cardoza JE, Hajduk LI, Smith TS. 2011. Fatal Attacks by American Black Bear on People: 1900-2009. The Journal of Willdlife Management. <website>

Magazine Article

Smith TS. 2013. New bear safety and conflict tactics. <website>


Larson WW, Smith TS. Polar bear response to human activity on the North Slope, Alaska. International Bear Association Conference. Ljubljana, Slovenia. 2018 .

Wilder J, Smith TS, Obbard M. Why you should carry bear spray in polar bear country. International Bear Association Conference. Ljubljana, Slovenia. 2018 .

Smith TS. Bear safety messaging. Luncheon Presentation. Anchorage, Alaska. 2018 .

Smith TS. Bear safety messaging – a time for review and revision. Utah Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting. Bryce Canyon, Utah. 2017 .

Larson WG, Smith TS. Black bear-human interactions at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Utah Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting. Bryce Canyon, Utah. 2017 .

Muncey K, Smith TS, Taylor J. Bobcat ecology on the Utah Training and Testing Range, Western Utah. Utah Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting. Bryce Canyon, Utah. 2017 .

Smith TS. Bear safety messaging – a time for review and revision. The Alaska Forum on the Environment. Anchorage, Alaska. 2017 .

Smith TS. Bear-human conflict in Alaska: Safety messages that matter. Presentation to the Staff of the Brookfield Zoo, Chicago. Chicago, Illinios. 2016 .

Smith TS. Polar bear den phenology. Presentation to the Staff of the Winnipeg Zoo. Winnipeg, Manitoba. 2016 .

Smith TS. Polar bear-human conflict. IUCN Polar Bear Working Group. Anchorage, Alaska. 2016 .

Kirschhoffer J, Smith TS, Larson WG, Robinson RW, Olson JW. From frozen binoculars to heated cameras: the evolution of and early results from polar bear den monitoring in Alaska. The Wildlife Society International Conference. Winnipeg, Manitoba. 2015 .

Hopkins BG, Smith TS, Henrie S, Gookin J. Portable Electric Fencing for Bear Deterrence and Conservation. Utah Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting. St. George, Utah. 2014 .

Smith TS, Obbard M, Siegel K. Polar bears - various themes (gave 7 webcasts). Tundra Connection Webcast. Churchill, Manitoba. 2013 .

Smith TS. Polar Bear Denning Ecology (3 presentations). St. Louis Zoo Annual Fund Raising Event. St. Louis, MO USA. 2013 .

Smith TS. Polar bear research, status and future. Hogle Zoo Staff and Keepers Luncheon. Salt Lake City, UT USA. 2013 .

Gooch AJ, Petersen SL, McMillan BR, Smith TS. Feral horse impacts on pronghorn use of watering holes on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. Society for Range Management. Oklahoma City, OK. 2013 .

Smith TS. Polar bears - various themes (gave 4 webcasts). Tundra Connection Webcast. Churchill, Manitoba. 2012 .

Smith TS. Polar bear maternal dens and climate change: what next?. Friends of the Forest Preserve Annual Fundraiser. Chicago, IL USA. 2012 .

Smith TS, Robinson R. Polar bear den detection using FLIR. The Utah Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Zion National Park, UT USA. 2012 .

Gooch AJ, Petersen SL, Collins G, Smith TS, McMillan BR. Feral Horse (Equus caballus) Impacts on Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) Use of Watering Holes on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada. Society for Range Management 65th Annual Meeting, 8 January-3 February 2012. Spokane, Washington. 2012 .

Smith TS. Polar bears in peril: the effects of climate change. Apple Learning Initiative Web Lecture Series. Churchill, Manitoba. 2010 .

Smith TS. A study of post-denning behavior in polar bears. Association of Aquariums and Zookeepers. Houston, Texas. 2010 .

Smith TS. A study of post-denning behavior in polar bears. Cleveland Zoo. Cleveland, OH. 2010 .

Smith TS. Post-denning behavior of polar bears in Alaska. Indianapolis Zoo. Indianapolis, Indiana. 2010 .

Research Report

Smith TS. 2013. Polar bear research on Alaska’s North Slope. Long-term ecological monitoring in BP's North Slope oil fields: 2012 Annual Report. Anchorage, Alaska: BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. Environmental Studies Group.

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