Dr. Viorel Popescu, Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology (download CV here).






Dr. Ruben Iosif ( hierarchical wildlife modeling, at University of Bucharest, Romania). My main research interests are in spatial ecology and conservation of large carnivores, amphibians and reptiles. I deal with quantitative tools to answer questions regarding population estimates of these organisms, habitat prioritization, landscape connectivity, and their distribution under different scenarios of human-pressure



Graduate students:


Cassandra Thompson, MSc student 2016 – 2018 (amphibian responses to climate and land use changes). Cassie is broadly interested in conservation and understanding short- and long- term responses of species to human disturbances. She is particularly interested in amphibian responses to climate and land use changes. Her current research focuses on understanding how conditions experienced in the aquatic larval stage of anurans (wood frogs and American toads) affect fitness and habitat selection throughout an entire annual cycle.




Heidi Bencin, MSc student 2016 – 2018 (carnivore conservation in Ohio). Heidi earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from Cleveland State University. Her interests include conservation biology, ecology, and the human dimensions of wildlife. Her current research is focused on assessing distribution, population structure, and predictors of road mortality for bobcats and gray foxes throughout Ohio. In her free time, Heidi enjoys traveling and cuddling with baby animals.


marcelMarcel Weigand, MSc student  2016 – 2018 (turtle ecology and conservation). Marcel is interested in conservation and ecology, especially as it relates to herpetofauna. Her research focuses on the effects of human-induced habitat fragmentation on the Eastern Box Turtle population of southeastern Ohio. She is an active grant writer and enjoys editing manuscripts in her copious free time.


MattKaunert Matthew Kaunert, PhD student 2017-2021 (eastern hellbender conservation and ecology, co-advised by Dr. Stephen Spear at The Wilds). Matt is a proud native of western Pennsylvania. He received his B.S. in Biology from Allegheny College in 2011 and his M.S. in Biology from Georgia Southern University in 2013. His  research interests include conservation biology, disturbance ecology, and herpetology. He has contributed to various wildlife research projects across the eastern US, working with such species as the Florida scrub lizard, red-cockaded woodpecker, and American alligator. His dissertation will focus on Eastern hellbender conservation in Ohio and Pennsylvania.



Mihai Pop, PhD student 2015 – 2018 (Carpathian brown bear ecology and conservation, at University of Bucharest, co-advised with Dr. Laurentiu Rozylowicz). My work is focused on brown bear ecology, and it is aimed at understanding how the land use is influencing the bear movement ecology and conflicts with humans. I work with a small, but dedicated group of people at the NGO Asociation for the Conservation of Biological Diversity in Romania to infuse science into carnivore management in Romania.



Iulia Miu, PhD student 2015 – 2018 (systematic conservation planning in Romania, at University of Bucharest, co-advised with Dr. Laurentiu Rozylowicz)




Current undergraduate researchers:

Mackenzie Rich, OU Honors Tutorial College, Senior Thesis “Evaluating carnivore communities in SE Ohio”

Devon Cottrill, OU Wildlife and Conservation major

Kyle Brooks, OU Wildlife and Conservation major

Connor Hall, OU Wildlife and Conservation major

Ryan Wagner, OU Wildlife and Conservation major

Ryan Brown, OU Wildlife and Conservation major

Nick Jordan, OU Biology major

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