Landscape Ecology Lab
Betts Forest Landscape Ecology Lab

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Research Assistants Graduate Students Lab associates and hangers-on
  • Katie Moriarty

James W. Rivers

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. More recently, I am studying 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 am using 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.

Current Project
My current work in the lab is focused on assessing the impact of intensive forest management practices on breeding songbirds in early successional habitats in the Pacific Northwest. This work uses well-established physiological techniques (e.g., stress response assays) to assess the condition of breeding individuals and their offspring under different management scenarios. As a number of species that require early successional habitat in this region have shown long-term population declines, results from this work has broad implications for many species over a wide geographic area.

Rivers, J. W., L. B. Martin, A. L. Liebl, and M. G. Betts. 2011. Parental alarm calls of the White-crowned Sparrow fail to stimulate corticosterone production of their nest-bound offspring. Ethology 117:374-384.
Rivers, J. W., and D. A. Rintoul. 2011. Fatty acid composition of depot fat of shorebirds collected at mid- continental stopover sites during spring migration. Journal of Field Ornithology 82:225-231.2010.
Rivers, J. W., J. V. Briskie, and S. I. Rothstein. 2011. Have brood parasitic cowbird nestlings caused the evolution of more intense begging by host nestlings? Animal Behaviour 80:e1-e5.
Rivers, J. W., W. E. Jensen, K. L. Kosciuch, and S. I. Rothstein. 2010. Community-level patterns of host use by the Brown-headed Cowbird, a generalist brood parasite. The Auk 127:263-273.
Rivers, J. W., G. S. Gipson, D. P. Althoff, and J. S. Pontius. 2010. Long-term community dynamics of small landbirds with and without exposure to extensive disturbance from military training activities. Environmental Management 45:203-216.
Rivers, J. W., T. M. Loughin, and S. I. Rothstein. 2010. Brown-headed cowbird nestlings influence nestmate begging, but not parental feeding, in hosts of three distinct sizes. Animal Behaviour 79:107-116.
Betts, M. G., J. C. Hagar, J. W. Rivers, J. D. Alexander, K. McGarigal, and B. C. McComb. 2010. Thresholds in forest bird occurrence as a function of the amount of early seral broadleaf forest at landscape scales. Ecological Applications 20:2116-2130.
Rivers, J. W. 2009. Parent-absent begging in the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater): the role of hunger and nestmate size. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63:707-717.
Lupold, S., G. M. Linz, J. W. Rivers, D. F. Westneat, and T. R. Birkhead. 2009. Sperm competition selects beyond relative testes size in birds. Evolution 63:391-402.
Kosciuch, K. L., J. W. Rivers, and B. K. Sandercock. 2008. Stable isotopes identify the natal origins of a generalist brood parasite, the Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater. Journal of Avian Biology 39:364-367.
Rivers, J. W. 2007. Nestmate size, but not short-term need, influences the begging behavior of a generalist brood parasite. Behavioral Ecology 18:222-230.
Althoff, D. P., J. W. Rivers, J. S. Pontius, P. S. Gipson, and P. B. Woodford. 2005. A comprehensive approach to identifying monitoring priorities of small landbirds on military installations. Environmental Management 34:887-902.
Rivers, J. W., and J. V. Briskie. 2003. Lack of sperm production and sperm storage by arctic-nesting shorebirds during spring migration. Ibis 145:61-66.
Rivers, J. W., D. P. Althoff, P. S. Gipson, and J. S. Pontius. 2003. Evaluation of a reproductive index to estimate Dickcissel reproductive success. Journal of Wildlife Management 67:136-144.

Adam Hadley

M.Sc., 2006, Universite Laval

B.Sc., 2003, Univeristy of New Brunswick

My research interests focus on animal movements and how they are influenced by landscape disturbances. I am also interested in the role of social information in resource and habitat selection. I am especially interested in the effects of landscape disturbances on ecological processes, particularly plant and animal interactions (e.g. pollination). My current research is being conducted in southern Costa Rica investigating the effects of agricultural mosaics on the ability of hummingbirds to move through the landscape and how any changes in their behaviour affect the pollination services they provide.

Hadley, A. S. and Betts, M. G. (Online Early) Tropical deforestation alters hummingbird movement patterns. Biology Letters.
Betts, M. G., Hadley, A. S. Rodenhouse, N. and Nocera, J. J. (2008). Social information trumps vegetation structure in breeding-site selection by a migrant songbird. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 275:2257-2263.
Hadley, A. S. and Desrochers, A. (2008). Response of wintering Boreal Chickadees (Poecile hudsonica) to forest edges: Does weather matter? Auk 125:30-38.
Hadley, A. S. and Desrochers, A. (2008). Winter habitat use by Boreal Chickadee flocks in a managed forest. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 120:139-145.
Betts, M.G., Zitske, B., Hadley, A.S., and Diamond, A.W. (2006) Migrant forest songbirds undertake breeding dispersal following timber harvest. Northeastern Naturalist 13: 531-536.
Betts, M.G., Hadley, A.S. and Doran, P.J. (2005) Avian mobbing response is restricted by territory boundaries: experimental evidence from two species of forest warblers. Ethology 111: 821-835.

Rebecca A. Hutchinson

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

My background is in machine learning, and my postdoctoral work has 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 current research is 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.

Representative Publications
J. Yu, R.A. Hutchinson, and W-K.Wong. 2014. A Latent Variable Model for Discovering Bird Species Commonly Misidentified by Citizen Scientists. Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).
S. Shirley, Z. Yang, R.A. Hutchinson, J. Alexander, K. McGarigal, and M.G. Betts. 2013. Species distribution modeling for the people: Unclassified Landsat TM imagery predicts bird distributions at fine resolutions in forested landscapes. Diversity and Distributions 19(7):855-866.
W. Hochachka, D. Fink, R.A. Hutchinson, D. Sheldon, W-K.Wong, and S. Kelling. 2012. Project and Analysis Design for Broad-Scale Citizen Science. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27(2):130-137.
R.A. Hutchinson, L-P. Liu, and T.G. Dietterich. 2011. Incorporating Boosted Regression Trees into Ecological Latent Variable Models. Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).
J. Yu, W-K. Wong, and R.A. Hutchinson. 2010. Modeling Experts and Novices in Citizen Science data for Species Distribution Modeling. The 10th IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM).

Becca Cahall

Long-term research on effects of thinning Douglas fir on bird abundance. In two separate studies (Forest Grove [ODF], Cascades [USFS]) we are continuing to collect data on bird abundance at sites where the density of young Douglas fir was manipulated 12-13 years ago. These are two of the longest running studies in the world on the influence of selection cutting on animal abundance. In future years it is likely that we will measure nest success at one of these sites (Forest Grove). Collaborators: Joan Hagar (USGS), Brenda McComb (UMass), Cheryl Friesen (USFS).

Tom Manning

Educational background
MS in Environmental Biology 1988 University of Minnesota-Duluth
BA in Zoology 1982 California State University-Sacramento

Research interests
Mammal (and more recently bird) population and community ecology, primarily within the context of forestry/silvicultural practices in the Pacific Northwest.

Current Projects
Young Stand Study

Manning, Tom, Joan C. Hagar, and Brenda C. McComb. 2012. Thinning of young Douglas-fir forests decreases density of northern flying squirrels in the Oregon Cascades. Forest Ecology and Management 264: 115–124.
Manning, Tom, and Joan C. Hagar. 2011. Use of non-alpine anthropogenic habitats by American pika (Ochotona princeps) in western Oregon. Western North American Naturalist 71(1):106-112.
Maguire, C.C., D. A. Maguire, T. E. Manning, S. M Garber, and M. W. Ritchie. 2008. Response of small mammals to alternative stand structures in the mixed-conifer forests of northeastern California. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38(5): 943-955.
Gitzen, R.A., S.D. West, C.C. Maguire, T. Manning and C. Halpern. 2007. Response of terrestrial small mammals to varying amounts and patterns of green-tree retention in Pacific Northwest forests. Forest Ecology and Management 251 (3): 142-155.
Manning, T., C. C. Maguire, K.M. Jacobs and D. Luoma. 2003. Additional habitat, diet and range information for the white-footed vole (Arborimus albipes). American Midland Naturalist 150:115-122.
Manning, T. and C. C. Maguire. 1999. A new elevation record for the red tree vole (Arborimus longicaudus) in Oregon: implications for National Forest management. American Midland Naturalist 142:421-423.
Wolff, J.O., T. Manning, S.M. Meyers, and R. Bentley. 1996. Population biology of the gray-tailed vole, Microtus canicaudus. Northwest Science 70(4):334-340.
Manning, T., W.D. Edge, and J.O. Wolff. 1995. Evaluating population size estimators: an empirical approach. Journal of Mammalogy 76:1149-1158.
Christian, D.P., T.E. Manning and C.J. Harth. 1993. Sodium and potassium balance of captive meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) fed laboratory chow and vegetation diets. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 106A: 571-579.
Hastings, J.J., Jr., D.P. Christian, T.E. Manning and C.J. Harth. 1991. Sodium and potassium effects on adrenal gland indices of mineral balance in meadow voles. Journal of Mammalogy 72(4): 641 651.
Naiman, R.J., T. Manning and C.A. Johnston. 1991. Beaver population fluctuations and tropospheric methane emissions in boreal wetlands. Biogeochemistry 12:1 15.

Diego Zárrate-Charry, Ph.D student

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 is 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

Zárrate Charry DA, Suarez C y Ortega C. 2013. Análisis de bienes y servicios ecosistémicos y aplicación de la herramienta InVEST en El Corredor Trinacional La Paya, Cuyabeno Y Güeppí.Technical report World Wide Fund for Nature WWF. Bogotá, Colombia. 53 pp
Castaño-Uribe C, Gónzalez-Maya JF, Zárrate Charry D, Ange-Jaramillo C y Vela-Vargas IM (Eds)2013. Plan de Conservación de Felinos del Caribe Colombiano: Los felinos y su papel en la planificación regional integral basada en especies clave. Fundación Herencia Ambiental Caribe, ProCAT Colombia, The Sierra to Sea Institute. Santa Marta Colombia.
González-Maya JF, Cepeda AA, Belant JL, Zárrate-Charry D, Balaguera-Reina S & Rodríguez Bolaños A. 2011. Research priorities for the small carnivores of Colombia. Small Carnivore Conservation, Vol. 44: 7–13.
González-Maya JF, González-Maya M, Zárrate-Charry D, Charry F, Cepeda AA & Balaguera-Reina SA. 2011. A new population record and conservation assessment of the Santa Marta Poison Arrow Frog Colostethus ruthveni Kaplan, 1997 (Anura: Dendrobatidae) from Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 3(3): 1633-1636
González-Maya JF, Zárrate-Charry D, Cepeda AA, Hernández-Arévalo A, Balaguera-Reina SA. 2010. Wild felid traditional uses in the Colombian Caribbean: new threats for conservation? Latin American Journal of Conservation 1(1): 64-69
González-Maya, J.F., Wu-Chen, F., Rojas-Jimenez, K., Benítez, A., Schipper, J. & Zárrate-Charry, D. 2009. Densidad absoluta del Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) y distribución elevacional en la región de Talamanca, Costa Rica. Mesoamericana 13(2): 140
Zarrate-Charry, D., Laverde, L., González-Maya, J.F. & Balaguera-Reina, S.A. 2009. Rescate y manejo de fauna silvestre ex situ en Colombia: Estudio de caso de un jaguar (Panthera onca) en la Orinoquia Colombiana. Revista de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia 4(1):81-89
Balaguera-Reina, S.A., Cepeda, A., Zárrate-Charry, D. & González-Maya, J.F.. 2009. Knowledge status of the Mountain Coati, Nasuella olivacea (Carnivora: Procyonidae), in Colombia and Extent of Occurrence in Northern Andes. Small Carnivore Conservation 41: 35-40
Lopez-Londoño, T, González-Maya, J.F., Zarrate-Charry, D. & Balaguera-Reina, S.A. 2008. Biodiversity and cultural conservation in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Colombia. Mountain Forum Bulletin 8(2):43-44.

Jonathon J. Valente, Ph.D student

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 my inhibit the ability of individuals to collect information about habitat quality; however, this mechanism has received little scientific attention to date. My current research aims to quantify metapopulation dynamics for forest-breeding songbirds across a fragmentation gradient in rural Indiana. I am attempting to tease out the relative effects of patch size and amount of regionally-available habitat on species distribution patterns. I am also investigating 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.

Valente, J.J., S.L. King, and R.R. Wilson. 2012. Summer use of rice fields by secretive marsh birds in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley of northeast Louisiana. Southeastern Naturalist 11:423-436.
Fischer, R.A., S.A. Gauthreaux, Jr., J.J. Valente, M.P. Guilfoyle, and M.D. Kaller. 2012. Comparing transect survey and WSR-88D radar methods for monitoring daily changes in stopover migrant communities. Journal of Field Ornithology 83:61-72.
Fischer, R.A., J.J. Valente, M.P. Guilfoyle, M.D. Kaller, S.S. Jackson, and J.T. Ratti. 2012. Bird community response to vegetation cover and composition in riparian habitats dominated by Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia). Northwest Science 86:39-52.
Valente, J.J., S.L. King, and R.R. Wilson. 2011. Distribution and habitat associations of breeding secretive marsh birds in Louisiana’s Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Wetlands 31:1-10.
Nowlin, W.H., M.J. González, M.J. Vanni, M.H.H. Stevens, M.W. Fields, and J.J. Valente. 2007. Allocthonous subsidy of periodical cicadas affects the dynamics and stability of pond communities. Ecology 88:2174-2186.

Evan Jackson, MS student

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

Research Interests
I am 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 focuses on how tropical hummingbirds in southern Costa Rica move through a landscape in which deforestation has led to mostly agricultural use. I also intend to investigate how altering resources might affect hummingbird movement between forest patches. My work will be conducted using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which allows me to obtain fine-scale location and temporal data for individual birds.

Sarah J.K. Frey, Ph.D. student

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 current research involves 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 investigate how inter- and intraspecific interactions shape bird distributional patterns. To examine these questions from novel perspectives I am 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.

Frey, S. J. K., C. C. Rimmer, K. P. McFarland, and S Menu. 2008. Identification and sex determination of Bicknell's Thrushes using morphometric data. Journal of Field Ornithology 79: 408-420.
Contributor to Chapter 10: Single-season removal design and Chapter 17: Integrated modeling of habitat suitability and occupancy in Donovan, T. M. and J. Hines. 2007. Exercises in occupancy modeling and estimation.

Thomas Stokely, PhD student

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

Research Interests
I am interested in trophic (food chain) interactions including productivity and bottom-up, top-down regulation of ecosystems. I am particularly fascinated with the flow of matter and energy from the environment to higher trophic levels and the constraints that organisms at higher trophic levels (e.g., insectivorous birds) exert on lower trophic levels (e.g., arthopods, plants). My research and career goals focus on the implications of land management on these top-down and bottom-up interactions. My Master's thesis focuses on Intensive Forest Management (IFM) in relation to trophic interactions, wildlife nutritional resources and Douglas-fir seedling survival in recently planted clear-cuts throughout the northern Oregon Coast Range that have been sprayed with 3 intensity levels of herbicide or left as relatively unmanaged early-succession controls. Through the installation of large bird and ungulate exclosures on management plots, I will investigate arthropod and ungulate herbivory to answer questions related to management-induced bottom-up trophic regulation, strengths of top-down trophic cascades induced by insectivorous birds, and forage preferences of insects and ungulates in relation to coniferous and early-successional vegetation. The USDA-funded project ultimately seeks to investigate ecosystem consequence of bird declines in early-successional habitat in the Oregon Coast Range.

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 will conduct 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 will also monitor population dynamics at several breeding sites to determine which stressors are related to survival.

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.

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. Recently, 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. For more information on these and other projects, please visit my website.

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, Kobe and Wayne, and pretty much anything that gets me outside.

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.

Kate Halstead, MS student alumni

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

Research Interests
My current research seeks 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 will contribute 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 am excited to explore 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 to use my research to help predict effects of oak habitat restoration on birds.

Leroy, C.J., D.G.Fischer, K. Halstead, M. Pryor, J.K. Bailey, and J.A. Schweitzer. 2011. A fugal endophyte slows litter decomposition in streams. Freshwater Biology 56(7):1426-1433

Vera Pfeiffer, MS student alumni

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

Research Interests
I am a master's student in the Department of Geosciences. At Oregon State University, I am working 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 am studying 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.

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. For now I am trying to answer the question of 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. The result of this project will inform wildlife habitat management and contribute to our understanding of post-disturbance habitat selection in birds.

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. For more information about my background and publications, see my student webpage at

Current Research
I am currently researching the occurrence and productivity of Neotropical migrant birds as a function of intensive forest management. Objectives are: (1) to evaluate breeding songbird occupancy in relation to management intensity of early-seral conifer forests at stand and landscape scales; (2) to examine breeding productivity and post-fledging habitat use as a function of vegetation structure resulting from intensive forest management practices; and (3) to examine whether food limitation influences breeding productivity in intensively-managed stands.

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 current research consists 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 is being 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.

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?

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, has been focused on sampling effort assessment, biodiversity estimators and predictive modeling. The general objective of my research is being able to identify and predict the ecological processes that determine species distributions and diversity. At the moment, my research in the landscape ecology group of the Oregon State University tries to addresses the question of how recent environmental changes have affected broad-scale bird population trends in the US northwest.

Wilson, R. J.; Gutiérrez, D.; Gutiérrez, J.; Martínez, D.; Agudo, R.; Monserrat, V. J. (2005) Changes to the elevational limits and extent of species ranges associated with climate change. Ecology Letters 8: 1138-1146. (Supplementary material). See coverpage of the journal
Wilson, R. J.; Gutiérrez, D.; Gutierrez Illán, J.; Monserrat, V. J. (2007). An elevational shift in butterfly species richness and composition accompanying recent climate change. Global Change Biology 13: 1873-1887.
Merrill, R. M.; Gutiérrez, D.; Lewis, O. T.; Gutiérrez, J.; Díez, S. B.; Wilson, R. J. (2008). Combined effects of climate and biotic interactions on the elevational range of a phytophagous insect. Journal of Animal Ecology 77: 145-155.
Gutiérrez Illán, J.; Gutiérrez, D.; Wilson, R. J. (2010a). The contributions of topoclimate and land cover to species distributions and abundance: fine resolution tests for a mountain butterfly fauna. Global Ecology and Biogeography 19: 159-173. See coverpage of the journal
Gutiérrez Illán, J.; Gutiérrez, D.; Wilson, R. J. (2010b). Fine-scale determinants of butterfly species richness and composition in a mountain region. Journal of Biogeography 37, 1706-1720. See coverpage of the journal
Gutiérrez, D; Harcourt, J; Díez, SB, Gutiérrez Illán, J; Wilson, R.J. Patterns of decline at the warm range margin: the elevational distribution of a rare mountain butterfly. Diversity & Distributions (under review)
Gutiérrez Illán, J.; Gutiérrez, D.; Diez, S.B.; Wilson, R. J. Elevational trends in butterfly phenology: Implications for species responses to climate change. Journal of Animal Ecology (under review)
Gutiérrez Illán, J.; Richards, S.A.; Gutiérrez, D.; Diez, S.B.; Wilson, R. J. Phenological responses of a butterfly community along an elevational gradient (in preparation)
Book Chapters
Landscape Ecology in the Mediterranean: inside and outside approaches. (IALE publication 3). Proceedings of the European IALE Conference 2005. pp 175-186. Edited by R.G.H. Bunce and R.H.G. Jongman
Plan estrategico de la Villa de Mostoles (2010). Supervisor: Prof. Jose M. Iriondo. Edited by: Exmo Ayuntamiento de Mostoles. 312 pp.

Other publications:
Global Warming: Butterflies on the Move. Sierra de Guadarrama, Spain.
Science bulletins of the American Museum of Natural History (New York).

The escalator effect. Nature Reports Climate Change.
Published online: 23 November 2007 | doi:10.1038/climate.2007.70
REF: online publication (Nature) 2007.

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 has concentrated on the effects of eco-tourism and outdoor recreation across a range of taxa. Using a flexible individual-based model I have been exploring 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 this 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.

Current Project
My current research focuses entirely on the road ecology, for which I will be setting up a research program. Initial avenues of study will include exploring the indirect implications of road networks on wildlife, the conception of management practices that alleviate these impacts and the effectiveness of retro-fitting roads with structures designed to increase the permeability of road networks to wildlife.

Bennett, V.J., Beard, M., Zollner, P.A., Fernández-Juricic, E., Westphal, L. & LeBlanc, C.L. (2009) Understanding wildlife responses to human disturbance through simulation modelling: A management tool, Ecological Complexity - Special Edition, 6, 113-134.
Phillips, R. A. , Silk , J. R. D., Croxall, J. P. , Afanasyev , V. & Bennett V. J. (2005) Summer distribution and migration of non-breeding albatrosses: individual consistencies and implications for conservation. Ecology, 86, 2386-2396.

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 am studying 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 focuses 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 will be estimated using a 4-year mark recapture study conducted in low mature cover landscapes and high mature cover landscapes.
To study flying squirrel movement ability I am using radio telemetry to estimate home range size and conducting gap-crossing experiments by translocating flying squirrels across clearcuts of varying size. The homing success and time taken to return home will be used to test the prediction that flying squirrels movements are more restricted in fragmented landscapes. The final outcome of this project will be the incorporation of the survival, fecundity and movement parameters into a population viability model to investigate the long term survival of flying squirrels under different forest management scenarios. Links: