Viorel Popescu – Conservation Ecology Lab


Conservation Ecology Lab; quantitative wildlife ecology and conservation science

Welcome to the Conservation Ecology Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University. We work on applied wildlife and conservation research in Ohio’s deciduous forests, mountains of the Pacific Northwest and California, Romanian Carpathians, and subtropical China. Our research interests are diverse, spanning mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and we use a variety of experimental, observational and computational approaches that are problem-solving oriented. For example, we work on sustainability of carnivore trophy hunting and efficacy of protected areas in Romania, evaluating impacts of roads on reptiles and mammals in Ohio, exploring trade-offs between  renewable energy and biodiversity conservation in British Columbia, and evaluating the effects of multiple stressors on amphibian populations.


September 2016: our lab is partnering with Harvard University and Kunming Institute of Zoology (KIZ), China to develop an innovative and efficient performance indicator for biodiversity protection in Chinese Nature Reserves using iDNA and multi-species occupancy modeling (under a Harvard Global Institute $200,000 grant to Dr. Naomi Pierce (Harvard) and Dr. Douglas Yu (KIZ))

August 2016: Welcome to Heidi Bencin, Cassie Thompson, and Marcel Weigand, new MSc students in the lab!!! They will be working on carnivore conservation in OH, amphibians and climate change, and turtles and road ecology, respectively.

August 2016: New research with colleagues from China and UK on fungal diversity and CO2 emissions from decaying wood in Scientific Reports

July 2016: we received a $75,000 grant from the National Science Foundation China (PI: Dr. Doug Yu, geneticist from Kunming Institute of Zoology, Yunnan China) for developing iDNA methods for rapid biodiversity surveys based on indirect sampling using terrestrial leeches; our lab will be collaborating on multi-species occupancy analyses to evaluate vertebrate community composition

April 2016: New paper with colleagues from Romania and Canada in Journal of Applied Ecology on large carnivore hunting in Romania


Ongoing Work!


GO BOBCATS! Mackenzie Rich, Honors Tutorial College undergraduate and Cassandra Thompson, MSc student, ran a camera trapping study to evaluate the composition and distribution of Ohio’s terrestrial carnivore community, with a focus on Ohio University favorite, BOBCATS!





Beetles and more! Bekka Brodie and colleagues from University of Bucharest, Romania, surveyed endangered saproxylic beetles in traditionally maintained landscapes in SW Romania using pheromone traps as a form of rapid biodiversity monitoring






Wildlife road mortality mitigation: OU undergraduates Devon Cottrill, Jeff Roush, and Nicole Dake spent 2 months surveying whitetail deer using remote cameras and pellet counts along US Highway 33 in SE Ohio to evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation structures for reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions



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.

The main research directions in the lab are: (1) vernal pool and amphibian ecology, (2) carnivore ecology and conservation, and (3) spatial conservation planning, but incoming students may to develop their own projects focused on other conservation topics of interests.


Dr. Viorel D. Popescu
Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Ohio University
423 Irvine Hall
Athens, OH 45701
Skype: dvpopescu 

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