Conservation Ecology Lab; quantitative wildlife ecology and conservation science
- January 2018 – Seed grant money from the Ohio University Research Committee for Eastern Hellbender ecology! PhD student Matt Kaunert will be working closely with Ohio DNR to monitor captive-bred and released subadults using amplified PIT tag readers, and to understand reproductive ecology by monitoring nest boxes. Exciting project and a new species for our lab!
- January 2018 – New paper in Animal Conservation on spatial conservation prioritization for Brown bears in Romania (with colleagues from University of Bucharest and Association for Biodiversity Conservation). We integrated space use information (home range, habitat selection) and systematic conservation planning (software Zonation) and identified connected, high conservation value habitats, which will inform current efforts to redraft the Romanian national management plan for brown bears! Scientific evidence on brown ecology is pilling up; keep an eye out for a new study coming up soon….
- We received funding from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to study bobcat ecology in Ohio! Looking forward to working with Ohio Division of Wildlife biologists over the next 4 years to develop a population model to understand the viability of Ohio’s recovering bobcat population, and inform bobcat management and conservation. Graduate student Heidi Bencin started preliminary work on occupancy and non-invasive genetics this Summer (2017). Looking for a PhD student to continue her work (check out ad here ECOLOG).
- June 2017 – New paper on estimating brown bear abundance in the Romanian Carpathians using snow and mud track surveys is out in Ecology and Evolution! With colleagues from Vrancea EPA (http://lifeursus.carnivoremari.ro/home.php) and Association for Biodiversity Conservation (http://www.acdb.ro/en/), we tested the traditional method for monitoring brown bears using track surveys employed by the Romanian game managers by implementing a robust design (multiple visits on the same transect), using hierarchical statistical methods, and integrating home range data. Well, even with all these twists, simply replying tracks did not fare well for estimating abundance, highlighting the need for a paradigm shift in Romanian large carnivore management, and for DNA-based surveys.
- Cassie Thompson (MSc) won a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for her research on amphibians and climate change
- Heidi Bencin (MSc) was awarded an OCEES (Ohio Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies) Fellowship, which provides stipend and teaching relief for Fall 2017; she was also awarded a $6K Student Enhancement Award (a competitive Ohio University research grant) for her work on bobcat ecology and management
- Marcel Weigand (MSc) was awarded a $6K Student Enhancement Award as well for her work on turtle ecology and roadways
Prospective graduate students: If you are interested in being part of my lab at Ohio University, please send me: (A) a short statement about yourself and your research interests (background, goals/ambitions, why Ohio University), (B) your resume or CV, and (C) your GPA and GRE scores.