Landscape Ecology Lab
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Graduate Students Honorary Lab Members Alumni

Adam Hadley, NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow

Educational Background
Ph.D., 2012, Oregon State University
M.Sc., 2006, Universite Laval
B.Sc., 2003, University of New Brunswick

Research Interests
I am a landscape ecologist, pollination ecologist, behavioral ecologist, and ornithologist.

I am especially interested in the effects of landscape disturbances on ecological processes. My research efforts focus on the intersection of landscape ecology, pollination ecology and behavioral ecology. My current research is being conducted in two study systems, one located in tropical premontane forest of Southern Costa Rica and the other in a temperate system at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon. My general interests include: 1) Animal movements and how they are influenced by landscape disturbances; 2) Landscape effects on plant and animal interactions (e.g. pollination, seed dispersal, stability of ecological networks); 3) Landscape genetics; 4) Drivers of species distributions; and 5) The role of social information in resource and habitat selection.

An up-to-date list is available under

Christopher Wolf, Postdoc

Educational Background
PhD, 2018, Oregon State University
MS, 2013, Oregon State University
BS, 2011, Oregon State University

Research Interests
My research interests include biodiversity conservation, landscape ecology, spatial analysis, macroecology, and large carnivores. I am currently analyzing patterns of deforestation within and around protected areas. The goal of this project is to gain a better understanding of how and why the world’s protected areas vary in the extent to which they limit deforestation. I am also working to model the sensitivity of species to habitat fragmentation using spatial predictor variables. My research typically involves making use of large, often global, datasets. During my PhD, I conducted several analyses related to large carnivore conservation, including assessments of carnivores’ prey species, carnivore species geographic range contractions, and large carnivore rewilding possibilities. I also conducted research in the area of statistical ecology, developing Bayesian models that can be used to estimate species interaction strengths from observational data while incorporating multiple sources of uncertainty.

Wolf, Christopher, and William J. Ripple. "Rewilding the world's large carnivores." Royal Society open science 5.3 (2018): 172235.
Wolf, Christopher, Mark Novak, and Alix I. Gitelman. "Bayesian characterization of uncertainty in species interaction strengths." Oecologia 184.2 (2017): 327-339.
Wolf, Christopher, and William J. Ripple. "Range contractions of the world's large carnivores." Royal Society open science 4.7 (2017): 170052.
Wolf, Christopher, and William J. Ripple. "Prey depletion as a threat to the world's large carnivores." Royal Society open science 3.8 (2016): 160252.

Marie-Sophie Garcia-Heras, Research Associate Postdoc

Educational Background
PhD, 2017, FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, South Africa
MSc, 2011, Université Aix-Marseille III, France
B.Sc., 2009, Université Aix-Marseille III, France

Research interests
I am a wildlife researcher particularly interested in understanding the ecology of wild populations of endangered bird species to enable sustainable conservation of their populations. For this, I use an interdisciplinary research approach, linking how various environmental factors (e.g., climate conditions, diet and habitat requirements) may affect the breeding parameters and health condition of the species, at both population and individual levels. Part of my research also focuses on movement ecology and migration pattern analyses, as well as on using an eco-toxicological and eco-physiological approach to assess how environmental contamination affects individuals and populations. During my MSc, I studied the endangered population of Egyptian Vultures in the Canarian Islands, I then conducted my PhD research with the endangered Black Harrier population in South Africa. I am now currently working within the Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project (, where I focus on breeding ecology, nesting habitat requirements and individual spatial movements of this species.

Garcia-Heras M.-S., Arroyo B. Simmons R.E, Camarero P.R., Mateo R., Mougeot F. 2018. Blood concentrations of PCBs and DDTs in an avian predator endemic to southern Africa: associations with habitat, density of electric transformers and diet. Environmental Pollution, 232:440-449. Doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2017.09.059.
Garcia-Heras M.-S., Arroyo B. Simmons R.E, Camarero P.R., Mateo R., Garcia J.T. & Mougeot F. 2017c. Pollutants and diet influence carotenoid levels and integument coloration in nestlings of an endangered raptor. Science of the Total Environment, 603-604: 299-307. Doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.048.
Garcia-Heras M.-S., Mougeot F., Simmons R.E. & Arroyo B 2017b. Regional and temporal variations in diet and provisioning rates suggest weather limits prey availability for an endangered avian predator. Ibis, 159: 567-579. Doi:10.1111/ibi.12478.
Garcia-Heras M.-S., Mougeot F., Arroyo B., Avery G., Avery M.D. & Simmons R.E. 2017a. Is the Black Harrier Circus maurus a specialist predator? Assessing the diet of a threatened raptor species endemic to southern Africa. Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology, 2017: 1-8. Doi: 10.2989/00306525.2016.1257515.
Garcia-Heras M.-S., Arroyo B., Mougeot F., Amar A. & Simmons R.E. 2016. Does timing of breeding matter less where the grass is greener? Seasonal declines in breeding performance differ between regions in an endangered endemic raptor. Nature Conservation, 15: 23-45. Doi:10.3897/natureconservation.15.9800.
Garcia-Heras M.-S., Cortés-Avizanda A. & Donázar J.A. 2013. Who are we feeding? Asymmetric individual use of surplus food resources in an insular population of the endangered Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus. PlosONE 8(11): e80523.
Garcia-Heras M.-S., Arroyo B., Mougeot F., Therrien JF, Bildstein K, & Simmons R.E. Migratory patterns and settlement areas revealed by remote sensing in an endangered intra-African migrant, the Black Harrier Circus maurus. Under revision, PlosOne.

Thomas Stokely

Educational Background
B.S., Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri

Research Interests
I am interested in the functional aspects of biodiversity, specifically pertaining to species traits, trophic interactions and responses of species assemblages to disturbance. I am most interested in the effects of land management practices and natural disturbances on wildlife-plant interactions and the role of these interactions in structuring biodiversity. My master’s and doctoral research focused on the interacting effects of wild-ungulates (black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk) and management intensity on early successional plant communities in young plantations of the Oregon Coast Range. To quantify these interactions, we constructed large wildlife exclosures within experimental forest plantations that were treated with varying intensities of silvicultural herbicides or left untreated. For 6 years, we followed plant species and crop-tree responses to herbicides and herbivory, while documented ungulate foraging via camera traps. My research revealed that the effects of herbivory on plant communities and conifer plantations depended on management intensity, with the strongest effects of herbivory being most evident where more intensive herbicide treatments reduced plant diversity and altered forage composition. I am currently a Post-Doctoral Scholar, working to conclude my efforts on the Intensive Forest Management experiment My overall aim is to contribute to science-based land management and wildlife habitat conservation by applying collaborative ecological research in a large-scale, long-term context.

Stokely, T. D., J. Verschuyl, J. Hagar, M. G. Betts. 2018. Herbivory and herbicide interact to drive plant community and plantation establishment. Ecological Applications. DOI:
Root, H.T., J. Verschuyl, T. D. Stokely, P. Hammond, M. A. Scherr, M.G. Betts. 2016. Plant diversity begets moth diversity in an intensive forest management experiment. Ecological Applications. 27: 134–142
Betts, M.G. J. Verschuyl, J. Giovanini, T. Stokely, A.J. Kroll. 2013. Initial experimental effects of intensive forest management on avian abundance. Forest Ecology and Management. 310: 1036-1044.

Hankyu Kim, Ph.D. student

Educational Background
M.Sc. Seoul National University
B.Sc. Seoul National University

Research interests
I am interested in how birds and other vertebrate species respond to the changes in their habitat and relate the consequences of these responses to their conservation. More specifically, I am investigating how large-scale phenomena, such as climate change and anthropogenic habitat change, influence distribution and individual fitness of birds. I will study how thermal refugia (both warm and cold) in old-growth forests influence the distribution and body condition of birds. I am particularly interested in the role food availability plays as a mechanism that can drive survival and distribution of a bird species, and I will investigate the spatial and temporal patterns of microclimate on food availability for birds in forested landscapes. I have experience in research and monitoring of avian diversity and population parameters from a wide variety of ecosystems in the world, such as Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins at King George Island, South Shetlands; avian diversity in Miombo forests and wetlands of western Tanzania, avian diversity in montane forests of Myanmar, and Long Term nest box monitoring in Korea. This range of experience gives me a solid foundation in avian ecology. I am co-advised by Dr. Brenda McComb and Dr. Matt Betts.

Kim, H. K., Vega, M. S., Wahl, M., Puan, C. L., Goodrich, L., & Bildstein, K. L. 2015. Relationship Between the North Atlantic Oscillation and Spring Migration Phenology of Broad-Winged Hawks (Buteo platypterus) At Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, 1998–2013. Journal of Raptor Research, 49(4): 471-478.
Kim, H. K., Choi, C. Y., Jeong, M. S., Kang, H. Y., & Lee, W. S. 2016. Regurgitation of the koilin layer in chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus) and its association with gastric parasites. Polar Research, 35.

Kara Leimberger, Ph.D. student

Educational Background
M.A., 2015, University of Texas at Austin
B.S., 2011, Duke University

Research interests
My research focuses on how animals interact with their environments -- particularly changing landscapes -- and the mechanisms through which landscape change influences ecological processes. I am interested in understanding animal movement (what factors influence where, why, and if animals move?), how individual decisions scale up to structure ecological processes (e.g., how do species interaction networks emerge from individual foraging decisions?), and the extent to which behavioral plasticity can buffer against disturbance. My current research is investigating how habitat fragmentation and loss of a keystone plant species affect hummingbird-plant pollination networks in southern Costa Rica.

Leimberger, K. G., and R. J. Lewis. 2015. Patterns of male dispersal in Verreaux’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) at Kirindy Mitea National Park. American Journal of Primatology. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22455

Scott Harris, Ph.D. student

Educational Background
M.Sc. Natural Resources Management, 2004, University of Alaska Fairbanks
B.Sc. Aerospace Engineering, 1990, University of Texas

Research interests
My research interests and career have centered around bridging the gap between ecological theory and applications in natural resources management. For my PhD research program with the Forest Biodiversity Research Network, I aim to maintain this applied focus, but am keenly interested in how theoretical frameworks of landscape and community ecology, forest management, species adaptations, and evolution can help us address critical forest management and biodiversity conservation issues. I have conducted research and monitoring studies in the coastal temperate rainforests of Chile and Alaska (a sample of which are profiled at, and my current research study system will be the managed forest landscapes in the coastal range of Oregon (yes, I like the rain!). A primary focus will be working with the Intensive Forest Management (IFM) research team to examine the landscape-scale context of the responses of biodiversity, timber yield, and ecosystem services to gradients in management intensity. To address these questions, my research toolbox will include spatial analyses, modelling, and empirical studies. I hope to rely upon my background with the non-profit sector and my collaborations with federal, state, and private forest managers to effectively communicate my work to help inform management decisions.

Recent publications and presentations
Harris, S.H. and Barnard, J.C. 2017. Understory plant development in artificial canopy gaps in an 81-year-old forest stand on Chichagof Island, southeast Alaska. PNW-RP-609. USDA Forest Service.
Harris, S.H. 2017. Quantifying tradeoffs between ecosystem services and intensive forest management. USDA-NIFA AFRI Agroecosystems Project Directors Meeting
Harris, S.H. 2017. Citizen science and overwintering juncos in Sitka, Alaska. Willamette Valley Bird Symposium
Harris, S.H. 2017. Bird habitat longevity in plantation forests, from stand initiation through canopy closure (3rd place poster). Western Forestry Graduate Research Symposium.
Harris, S.H. 2014. Session Chair - Abiotic and Biotic Responses to Restoration. American Fisheries Society Alaska Chapter Conference
Harris, S.H. 2014. Partnering with communities to increase the impact of long-term monitoring efforts. American Fisheries Society Alaska Chapter Conference
Harris, S.H. 2013. Integrating community priorities with ecological needs to prioritize restoration. Southeast Alaska Watershed Symposium
Harris, S.H. 2013. Founder, organizer, presenter. Southeast Alaska Adaptive Management Workshop
Harris, S.H. 2012. Lessons learned from partnering with the Forest Service. Community-based Watershed Management Forum

Josee Rousseau, Ph.D. student

Educational Background
GIS & Remote Sensing Certificate – Humboldt State University, 2007
M.S., Urban bird ecology, McGill University, 2004
B.S., Major in Applied Zoology and minor in Forestry - McGill University, 1998

Research interests
My interests includes landscape ecology, animal movements and how environmental variables relate to animal abundance, survival, and life history events. I enjoy working with large data sets such as those from citizen science projects (e.g., eBird) and bird banding repositories (e.g. LaMNA, BBL). More specific research interests include:

  • How migration routes and timing differ between age and sex groups and may be related to and impacted by land cover and climatic variables.
  • Comparing migration routes between seasons and years at the population and individual levels and associating habitat and climatic variables to those routes.

The relatively recent advent of data compilation and sharing is opening doors to large-scale studies that were not possible a decade ago. This, in turn, is giving us the opportunity to study phenomena at a continental scale, research how such phenomena interact with each other, and ultimately guide us to better address today’s conservation needs.

Rousseau, J.S., J.-P. L. Savard, and R. Titman. 2015. Shrub-nesting birds in urban habitats: their abundance and association with vegetation. Urban Ecosystems. doi: 10.1007/s11252-014-0434-4
Spotswood, E. N., K. R. Goodman, J. Carlisle, R.L. Cormier, D. L. Humple, J. Rousseau, S. L. Guers, and G. G. Barton. 2011. How safe is mist netting? Evaluating the risk of injury and mortality to birds. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 3(1):29-38. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2011.00123.x

Dusty Gannon, Ph.D. student

Educational Background
B.Sc., 2015, Colorado State University

Research interests
I am generally interested in evolutionary ecology and biology. My focus is on plant-pollinator interactions, coevolution, and how biotic and abiotic factors may interact to influence plant population genetics and evolution. Currently, I am collaborating with the Betts lab on two projects: 1) The effects of forest encroachment and hummingbird behavior on landscape genetics of western columbine (Aquilegia formosa) in the Central Cascades of Oregon, and 2) pollinator recognition (the capacity to distinguish and choose among different pollinator guilds) in Neotropical Heliconia (Heliconiaceae). We plan to utilize a diverse array of approaches, from manipulative aviary experiments to RNAseq to theoretical models, to better understand evolutionary dynamics in these two systems.

Gannon, D.G., Kormann, U.G., Hadley, A.S., Betts, M.G., Jones, F.A. 2017. The “jack-in-the-box” stamens of Heliconia wagneriana (Heliconiaceae). Ecology. 99(2): doi:
Gill, B.A., Kondratieff, B.C., Casner, K.L., Encalada, A.C., Flecker, A.S., Gannon, D.G., Ghalambor, C.K., Guayasamin, J.M., Poff, N.L., Simmons, M.P., Thomas, S.A., Zamudio, K.R., Funk, W.C. 2016. Cryptic species diversity reveals biogeographic support for the ‘Mountain Passes are Higher in the Tropics’ hypothesis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 283. No. 1832.
Tortorelli, C.M., Gannon, D.G., Stynoski, J.L., Trama, F.A. 2016. Rhinella yunga Predation. Herpetological Review. 47(3): 442.

Victoria 'Tory' Bennett, post-doc alumni

Educational background
Ph.D., 2004, Leeds University
M.S., 1998, Leeds University
B.S. (Honors), 1997, Leeds University

Research interests
My research interests revolve around exploring the implications of anthropogenic disturbance on wildlife. Initially, my research concentrated on the effects of eco-tourism and outdoor recreation across a range of taxa. Using a flexible individual-based model I explored the responses of wildlife individuals and the consequences of disturbance-related behaviour to recreationists across an array of scenarios, such as pathway and trail positions, recreationist activity patterns and habitat lay-out. The outcome of these simulations are used to advise management strategies and site design for the preservation of target species in situ. Case studies included the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly, the state protected black-crowned night-heron, the state protected yellow-headed black bird and the threatened Barbastelle bat in the UK. I then expanded my research focus to investigate the implications of other forms of anthropogenic disturbance. Case studies included exploring the consequences of road networks in proximity to maternity roosts on the foraging activities of the federally endangered Indiana Bat.

Max Brugger, MS alumni

H. B. Sc., 2008, Oregon State University

Research Interests
Interacting Particle Systems Models
Species Distribution Modelling
Landscape Fragmentation
Local stochastic interactions
Sympatric Speciation

I am interested in the patterns and processes of how species distribute themselves. More specifically, I am focusing on Markov chain models as models of landscape fragmentation, sympatric speciation, and the stochasticity of local interactions (or unobservable interactions). As part of the Ecosystem Informatics program, I am interested in learning more about computer visualization techniques, Bayesian statistics, and sampling methods like Gibbs sampling and Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods. Aside from the mumbo-jumbo equations, I am first and foremost interested in ecological questions with mathematical answers: How do birds respond to habitat fragmentation? Which models apply when, and why?

Julia Buck, lab alumni

Amphibians are the most threatened of all vertebrate taxa, which is particularly alarming, as they are considered to be bioindicators, or sentinels of environmental health. Despite recent recognition that global population declines are likely caused by multiple interacting stressors, most studies take place in a laboratory setting, examine the effects of one or a few stressors of interest, and focus on egg and larval life stages only. My research, which takes place through the Blaustein laboratory in the Zoology Department, examines the effects of multiple stressors on amphibian populations in an agricultural landscape. I conducted a survey of breeding habitats in the Willamette Valley and associate species presence or absence with habitat characteristics and stressors of interest through occupancy modeling. I also monitored population dynamics at several breeding sites to determine which stressors are related to survival.

Emily Comfort, Ph.D. student alumni

Educational Background
B.S. Geology/Biology 1997, Tufts University
M.S. Forestry 2007, Mississippi State University
Thesis: "Subcanopy response to variable-density thinning in second-growth conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest"

I am interested in forest structural development at multiple scales. My master's thesis research involved examining the response of midcanopy and understory trees to experimental thinnings aimed at accelerating the development of late-successional structure in second-growth conifer stands. Specifically I looked at within-stand differences in growth response to different levels of thinning to see if the treatment was inducing heterogeneity in growth rates of trees in these strata. Going forward, I would like to expand the scope of my research and look at between-stand interactions and the cumulative effect of these relationships on the overall resilience of the landscape to future disturbance. For instance, at the landscape scale does a variety of management strategies (including alternative treatments like variable-density thinning) provide a buffer from or act as a catalyst for further disturbance? When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my dogs and pretty much anything that gets me outside.

Tana Ellis

Educational Background
B.S., 2002, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

Research Interests
I am broadly interested in avian ecology and research that is meaningful and effective in a management perspective.

Sarah J.K. Frey, Post-doc alumni

Educational Background
M.Sc., 2008, University of Vermont
B.Sc., 2000, University of Vermont

Research Interests
My research interests encompass understanding how species are distributed across landscapes, avian community dynamics and the influence of habitat loss and alteration on ecological processes (e.g. dispersal and habitat selection). My research involved identifying the major drivers of the patterns we observe in bird distributions and how changes in climate and land use might alter them. I also investigated how inter- and intraspecific interactions shape bird distributional patterns. To examine these questions from novel perspectives I was involved in an interdisciplinary collaboration with math and computer science graduate students as a part of the Ecosystem Informatics program. Some of my previous work involves assessing the importance of scale in habitat selection and occurrence patterns of Bicknell's Thrush in Vermont using occupancy modeling.

Kate Halstead, MS student alumni

Educational Background
B.S., 2008, The Evergreen State College

Research Interests
My research sought to develop baseline information regarding songbird use of the beautiful and diverse oak habitats of the Rogue Basin in Southwest Oregon, using a large scale point count study in oak savannah, woodland, chaparral, and mixed oak-conifer habitats. Through partnership with the Klamath Bird Observatory, American Bird Conservancy, and others, my work contributed to the ability of public and private entities to manage oak habitats for conservation of overall biodiversity. Recognizing that the majority of intact oak habitat in the Rogue Basin is in private ownership, I explored how the needs of private landowners can be incorporated into effective ecosystem management. I am interested in examining influences of local- and landscape-level habitat context on avian community composition and individual species distribution, and hope my research to heled to predict effects of oak habitat restoration on birds.

Rebecca A. Hutchinson, post-doc alumni

Ph.D., 2009, Carnegie Mellon University
B.S.E., 2002, Bucknell University

My background is in machine learning, and my postdoctoral work focused on the development of computational methods for ecological data analysis. I work primarily with hierarchical latent variable models that represent both ecological and observation processes; for example, occupancy models and their variants fall within this paradigm. My research with the Betts Lab was on robust parameter estimation methods for these models and techniques for incorporating semi-parametric techniques into probabilistic models. My other research interests include species distribution modeling of citizen science data, methods for analyzing species interaction networks, and strategies for evaluating species distribution models.

Javier Gutierrez Illan, post-doc alumni, National Science Foundation Research Associate

Educational background
Ph.D., 2009 Doctor Europaeus framework (summa cum laude), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain)
M.S., 2006 Conservation Biology. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain)
B.S., 2003 Biology (Honors) (5-years degree). Dissertation passed with distinction. Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)

Research interests
I am a researcher and conservation biologist interested in the effects of environmental changes on biodiversity. My major research deals with the the whys and wherefores of biodiversity from a biogeographical perspective. Climatic warming is one of the most worrying environmental problems nowadays. There are diverse studies which indicate that the distributions of a substantial number of species are moving towards colder zones, and that the phenology of many of them is happening earlier. Due to these problems, my research as a PhD student, and part of my postdoctoral work, was focused on sampling effort assessment, biodiversity estimators and predictive modeling. The general objective of my research was being able to identify and predict the ecological processes that determine species distributions and diversity. My research in the landscape ecology group of the Oregon State University tried to address the question of how recent environmental changes have affected broad-scale bird population trends in the US northwest.

Evan Jackson, MS alumni

Educational Background
B.S., 2009, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Biology, University of New Hampshire

Research Interests
I was a Master’s Student working with Matt Betts (Forest Ecosystems and Society) and Doug Robinson (Fisheries and Wildlife). I am interested in how birds use landscapes (human-modified and natural) and how those landscapes might be managed to promote functional connectivity. I am also curious about foraging strategies of hummingbirds and how competitive interactions and resource abundance might alter them. My research focused on how tropical hummingbirds in southern Costa Rica move through a landscape in which deforestation has led to mostly agricultural use. I also investigated how altering resources might affect hummingbird movement between forest patches. My work was conducted using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which allowed me to obtain fine-scale location and temporal data for individual birds.

Stephanie Jenkins, M.Sc. alumni

My interests are in predator-prey relationships, trophic cascades, and wildlife population dynamics in habitats influenced by humans and natural disturbances (e.g. wildfire). I am specifically interested in the mechanisms behind wildlife movement and habitat selection (such as predator avoidance and ideal forage/prey availability). I have a background in large mammal research (i.e., big horn sheep, Idaho grey wolves), wildlife habitat restoration and management, and researching affects of wildfire on trophic webs in wilderness stream ecosystems. My interest in wildlife research is not only driven by curiosity about an organism or interaction, but to supply management agencies with accurate information for biologically sound management strategies. My research in the Betts Lab consisted of using telemetry and abundance data to identify movement patterns and habitat usage of juvenile songbirds, specifically winter wrens, during the postfledging period. This research was conducted in managed forest ecosystems in the Oregon Coast Range and is one component of a large scale study researching the affects of timber harvest on terrestrial wildlife and aquatic assemblages.

Kristin Jones, MS alumni

Educational Background
BS (Honors) in Natural Resource Science – Wildlife Ecology, French Language Minor, 2012, Washington State University - Honors Thesis: “Examining trends in taste preference, market demand, and annual catch in an indigenous marine turtle fishery in southwest Madagascar”
School for International Training Study Abroad, Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management, Spring 2011

Research Interests
I am broadly interested in the effects of anthropogenic land use on animal population ecology. I am particularly interested in how land use interacts with topoedaphic factors to modify the microclimates and vegetation upon which organisms depend for critical life processes. My overarching career goal is to use social and ecological research to inform land use practices to create sustainable working landscapes that simultaneously support the use of natural resources by humans and wildlife. My OSU research concerned the effects of intensive forest management on air temperature and reproductive success of cavity-nesting songbirds in the western Oregon Coast Range.

Urs Kormann, Post-doc alumni

Educational Background
Graduate School Scaling Problems in Statistics, 2014, Center for Statistics, Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany
PhD, Biodiversity and Evolution 2014, Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany
M.Sc. Ecology and Evolution, 2009, University of Bern, Switzerland
B.Sc. Ecology and Evolution, 2007, University of Bern, Switzerland

Research Interests
I am interested in the dynamics of biotic communities and species interactions in the Anthropocene. Broadly speaking, my general interests encompass (i) why organisms are where they are, (ii) how and why species interact (or not), (iii) what ecosystem functions they provide (or not) and (iv) what determines the movement of animals. I am particularly interested in synergistic effects of local and landscape-scale phenomena. During my postdoc, I am working on (i) thresholds in bird communities in relation to intensive forest management (IFM) in North America, (ii) the impact of IFM on pollinator communities and pollination networks and (iii) and collaborate with a NSF-funded project on pollination networks in the tropics. I like to tackle research questions from different angles, that is, by combining experimental, observational, genetic and statistical modelling approaches. Further, I have an active interest in statistics, particularly in hierarchical modelling and statistical techniques to assess betadiversity. An up-to-date list of publications is available under

Katie Moriarty

Educational Background
M.Sc., 2009, Oregon State University
B.Sc., 2004, Humboldt State University

My research focuses on forest ecology, animal movements, and how populations are distributed in relation to potential resources. I am interested in the role of social information in resource and habitat selection, particularly regarding an animal’s cognitive ability to find and recollect resource distribution. My PhD evaluated how landscape disturbances influence fine-scale marten movement and activity patterns. We used some of the smallest GPS collars for mammals. We also learned about the distribution of Humboldt marten, a subspecies of Pacific marten along the coast range of Oregon.

Joe Northrup, Post-doc alumni

Educational Background
Ph.D., 2015, Colorado State University
M.Sc., 2010, University of Alberta
B.S., 2005, Bates College

Research Interests
My research is focused on the drivers and consequences of animal space use and movement. In particular I am interested in understanding how human-caused landscape change alters these processes and the resulting implications for populations. I also am interested in linking genetic/genomic datasets with animal movement data to better understand ecological and evolutionary processes. My research in the Betts Lab was focused on the spatial ecology of marbled murrelets.

Vera Pfeiffer, MS student alumni

Educational Background
B.A.s (Honors) 2008, Biology and International Relations, Boston University

Research Interests
I was a master's student in the Department of Geosciences. At Oregon State University, I worked with Dr. Matt Betts (Forest Ecology) and Dr. Julia Jones (Geography) to explore the spatial scales of pollination for hummingbird-adapted flowers in mountain meadows. Hummingbird pollination is common in the mountain meadows of the Western United States, however, citizen science has shown a 58% decrease in hummingbirds within the past 40 years (Audubon Society). I am interested in how pollinator dynamics are affected by the spatial distribution of habitat in a dynamic landscape, and how pollinator dynamics affect these plant communities. I studied pollination from a geographic perspective because I believe spatially explicit research is an essential part of ecology. Spatial analysis and geographic visualization are essential tools that will promote the capacity of communities to understand ecological relationships and plan more sustainable interplay with the rest of the ecosystem. I plan to combine the use of molecular tools with observation and manipulation based field ecology studies to investigate the movement of pollen and pollinators. I grew up in southwestern Virginia, and I enjoy playing outside, no matter the activity.

Ben Phalan, RA alumni

My research is focused on how to reconcile human demands for food, wood and other products with the conservation of birds and other biodiversity. I am interested in understanding the consequences of different production trajectories for biodiversity, and in evaluating potential conservation strategies. I address these questions through fieldwork, data syntheses and spatial analysis. Collaborations include work with the US Forest Service, BirdLife International, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Rainforest Alliance, the International Institute for Sustainability and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. I am also interested more widely in ways of identifying and resolving trade-offs between conservation and development; in the ecology, conservation and restoration of tropical forests, especially in Brazil and West Africa; in finding ways to implement land sparing in practice; in the role of sustainability standards in agriculture; and in defining conservation baselines and objectives.

J. Leighton Reid, post-doc alumni

Educational Background
Ph.D., 2013, University of California Santa Cruz
M.A., 2011, University of California Santa Cruz
B.S. (Honors), 2006, Sewanee: University of the South

Research Interests
I am an interdisciplinary researcher interested in the reciprocal relationships between people, animals, and their mutual habitats. My research in southern Costa Rica has focused on tropical forest restoration in degraded cattle pastures, where succession is inhibited by a suite of factors including a lack of seed dispersal. Some of the specific questions that I have been asking in this system include: What kinds of birds and bats are most important for dispersing tree seeds into restoration sites? What are the restoration actions and landscape contexts that maximize visitation by these species and performance of their critical functions? and What are the important human dimensions of regional bat conservation? Broad themes in my research include ecological restoration, community ecology, and conservation biology.

James W. Rivers, post-doc alumni

Educational background
Ph.D., 2008, University of California-Santa Barbara
M.S., 1999, Kansas State University
B.S. (Honors), 1997, University of Massachusetts

Research interests
My research addresses questions at the intersection of behavioral ecology, ecological physiology, and conservation biology using birds as a model group. I have long-standing interests in the ecology and evolution of avian brood parasitism and the development of offspring begging displays, and I have combined my interests in these areas to study factors which influence the begging behavior of the Brown-headed Cowbird over ecological and evolutionary timescales. I studied the extent to which physiological traits can be used to predict songbird post-fledging survival and assess how intensive management impacts the health and viability of forest-breeding birds. In addition, I used Tachycineta swallows to investigate a number of questions based in behavior and physiology, including how changes in temperature during rearing influences offspring quality, with applications to understanding how animals are impacted by anthropogenic climate change.

Heather Root, post-doc alumni

Educational Background
PhD, 2011, Botany, Oregon State University
MS, 2008, Statistics, Oregon State University
MS, 2006, Environmental and Forest Biology, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
BS, 2003, Plant Science and Biology, Cornell University

Research Interests
I am interested in how environment and human activities shape species distributions and community dynamics. Addressing these questions has resulted in a diverse background including botany, community ecology, and statistics. Past projects include examining the effects of alternative forest management practices on lichen communities in northeastern and northwestern North America, relating biotic soil crust distributions and communities to climate and soils in arid regions of the Pacific Northwest, and using lichens as bio-indicators of nitrogen deposition and climate. My continuing desire to better understand the natural world has also sparked side-projects on invertebrates, tree regeneration and new statistical methodology. In the Betts lab, I worked toward understanding ecological effects of biofuels and plantation forestry with an emphasis on identifying thresholds in bird responses.

Matthew Smith, Ph.D. alumni

The effects of fragmentation on the survival, fecundity and movement ability of the northern flying squirrel in southern New Brunswick
I studied the movement and survival of the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) in fragmented landscapes in southern New Brunswick, Canada. The northern flying squirrel is often considered an indicator of older forests due to it's preference for dead trees for shelter, larger trees for gliding, and diet of fungi associated with mature forests. My work focused on how flying squirrels are surviving in landscapes with low amounts of mature cover and how this fragmentation affects their movement ability. Yearly survival rates for flying squirrels were estimated using a 4-year mark recapture study conducted in low mature cover landscapes and high mature cover landscapes.

Jonathon J. Valente, Ph.D alumni

Educational Background
MS in Wildlife 2009, Louisiana State University
BA in Zoology and Environmental Science 2004, Miami University

Research Interests
I am broadly interested in patterns of habitat use and the process of habitat selection for avian species in fragmented landscapes. Habitat loss and fragmentation are some of the primary threats to migratory bird communities. While a great deal of research has demonstrated the impacts of the overall fragmentation process on avian communities, little is known about the relative effects of each of these mechanisms (habitat loss vs. fragmentation per se). Further, habitat loss and fragmentation may inhibit the ability of individuals to collect information about habitat quality; however, this mechanism has received little scientific attention to date. My research aimed to quantify metapopulation dynamics for forest-breeding songbirds across a fragmentation gradient in rural Indiana. I attempted to tease out the relative effects of patch size and amount of regionally-available habitat on species distribution patterns. I also investigated the role of social information in habitat selection at both the community and species levels, and how landscape patterns influence the utility of this strategy.

Noelia L. Volpe, MS student alumni

Educational Background
B.S., 2009 Zoology (5-year degree). Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina)

Research Interests
I was a master’s student from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, working with Doug Robinson as my advisor and Matt Betts as my co-advisor. I am native from Argentina, but moved to the U.S. thanks to the financial aid of a Fulbright scholarship. I am interested in the effects of landscape fragmentation on animal movement, particularly how structural elements influence the distribution of individuals in space. I am intrigued not only by the ecological implications of movement patterns, but also by the specific behavioral aspects that determine them. The more we understand how animals move in a modified landscape, the more prepared we will be to develop adequate conservation strategies. I am working with hummingbirds in tropical rainforests in Costa Rica, using radio-telemetry to study how they move across the landscape, including both passive movements inside their home range as well as homing movements during translocation experiments. In addition, I studied the relationship between food availability and hummingbird movement patterns.

Sveta Yegorova, MS student alumni

Educational Background
2007 B.S. Neuroscience, University of Michigan

Research Interests
I am broadly interested in landscape ecology, relating patterns to processes, and how ecological processes may vary with spatial scale. I researched whether vegetation characteristics on local and landscape scales can explain occurrence of certain bird species in young Douglas-fir forests and how that relationship may change with time since disturbance.

Diego Zárrate-Charry, Ph.D alumni

Educational Background
B.S Marine Biology (5-year degree), Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano. Colombia.
Specialization course in landscapes and ecosystem management based in simulation models. Facultad de Ingeniería y Arquitectura de La Salle - Universidad Ramon Lull. España.

Research Interests
My experience has been focused in modeling mammal species distributions as a means to conduct conservation planning in tropical ecosystems in South America. I have been part of several biology conservation projects in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador using flagship species to identify priority conservation areas also I have worked on assessment and valuation of environmental services to increase the capacity and management strategies for National Parks. My main research interest was to develop species and ecosystem conservation strategies in my home country. The major threats in Colombia are landscape transformation and fragmentation, so the issues of habitat conservation and connectivity are critically important.
For more information about my background see my Non-Profit Organization webpage at