Post-DocsResearch Associates Graduate Students
- Kara Leimberger, Ph.D. Student
- Scott Harris, Ph.D. student
- Josee Rousseau, Ph.D. student
- Diego Zárrate-Charry, Ph.D. student
- Jonathon J. Valente, Ph.D. student
- Evan Jackson, MS student
- Thomas Stokely, Ph.D. student
- Rebecca Hutchinson, post-doc alumni
- Kristin Jones, MS alumi
- Katie Moriarty
- Jim Rivers, post doc alumni
- Julia Buck, lab alumni
- Heather Root, post-doc alumni
- J. Leighton Reid, post-doc alumni
- Emily Comfort, Ph.D. alumni
- Noelia L. Volpe, MS alumni
- Kate Halstead, MS alumni
- Vera Pfeiffer, MS alumni
- Sveta Yegorova, MS alumni
- Adam Hadley, Ph.D. alumni
- Tana Ellis, M.Sc. alumni
- Stephanie Jenkins, M.Sc. alumni
- Max Brugger, MS alumni
- Javier Gutierrez Illan, post-doc alumni
- Victoria 'Tory' Bennett, post-doc alumni
- Matthew Smith, Ph.D. alumni
Adam Hadley, NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D., 2012, Oregon State University
M.Sc., 2006, Universite Laval
B.Sc., 2003, University of New Brunswick
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 http://adamshadley.com/publications/
Sarah J.K. Frey
M.Sc., 2008, University of Vermont
B.Sc., 2000, University of Vermont
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.
Ph.D., 2015, Colorado State University
M.Sc., 2010, University of Alberta
B.S., 2005, Bates College
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 current research is focused on the spatial ecology of marbled murrelets.
Northrup, J.M., C.R. Anderson & G. Wittemyer. 2016. Environmental dynamics and anthropogenic development alter philopatry and space-use in a North American cervid. Diversity and Distributions, 22: 547-557.
Shafer, A.B.A., J.M. Northrup, M. Wikelski, G Wittemyer & J.B.W. Wolf. 2016. Forecasting ecological genomics: high-tech animal instrumentation meets high-throughput sequencing. PLoS Biology. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002350.
Northrup, J.M., C.R. Anderson & G. Wittemyer. 2015. Quantifying spatial habitat loss caused by hydrocarbon development through assessing habitat selection patterns of mule deer. Global Change Biology 21: 3961-3970.
Northrup, J.M., A.B.A Shafer, C.R. Anderson, D.W. Coltman & G. Wittemyer. 2014. Fine-scale genetic correlates to condition and migration in a wild cervid. Evolutionary Applications 7: 937-948.
Wittemyer, G., J.M. Northrup, J. Blanc, I. Douglas-Hamilton, P. Omondi & K.P. Burnham. 2014. Illegal killing for ivory drives global decline in African elephants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 13117-13121.
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
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 is available under http://urskormann.weebly.com/publications.html
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.
I am also a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge in the UK (to September 2016), and an affiliated researcher at the International Institute for Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro.
Kara Leimberger, PhD student
M.A., 2015, University of Texas at Austin
B.S., 2011, Duke University
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, PhD student
M.Sc. Natural Resources Management, 2004, University of Alaska Fairbanks
B.Sc. Aerospace Engineering, 1990, University of Texas
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 www.seakecology.org), 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. 2016 (in-press). Understory plant development in artificial canopy gaps in an 81-year old forest stand on Chichagof Island, Southeast Alaska. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.
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, PhD student
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
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
Diego Zárrate-Charry, Ph.D student
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.
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 www.procat-conservation.org.
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
MS in Wildlife 2009, Louisiana State University
BA in Zoology and Environmental Science 2004, Miami University
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
B.S., 2009, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Biology, University of New Hampshire
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.
Thomas Stokely, PhD student
B.S., Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri
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.
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.
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).
Kristin Jones, MS alumni
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
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.
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 evaluates how landscape disturbances influence fine-scale marten movement and activity patterns. We have been using some of the smallest GPS collars for mammals. We are also learning about the distribution of Humboldt marten, a subspecies of Pacific marten along the coast range of Oregon.
James W. Rivers, post-doc alumni
Ph.D., 2008, University of California-Santa Barbara
M.S., 1999, Kansas State University
B.S. (Honors), 1997, University of Massachusetts
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
B.S., 2009 Zoology (5-year degree). Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina)
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
B.S., 2008, The Evergreen State College
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
B.A.s (Honors) 2008, Biology and International Relations, Boston University
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
2007 B.S. Neuroscience, University of Michigan
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.
B.S., 2002, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
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 http://www.forestry.oregonstate.edu/cof/fs/people/students/Ellis.php
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
Interacting Particle Systems Models
Species Distribution Modelling
Local stochastic interactions
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
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)
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)
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.
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
Ph.D., 2004, Leeds University
M.S., 1998, Leeds University
B.S. (Honors), 1997, Leeds University
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.
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: www.fundyflyingsquirrel.com