Graduate Students

Kristin Brunk

I have a wide range of interests, including how populations change over time in response to biotic and abiotic factors, animal adaptations and behavior, and habitat use. I believe that understanding as much as possible about organisms and the ecosystems they inhabit is the best way to begin to conserve biodiversity. For my Masters work, I will be examining population changes over time and determining the current population status of the Marbled Murrelet, a threatened seabird.

Kristina Black

I am interested in how some species of wildlife thrive in coincidence with global change. I want to understand how they successfully adapt to ecosystem changes in order to find conservation implications that could maximize survivability for wildlife species that are less successful. My master's research examines synanthrope adaptation to increasing urbanization. My project will determine the colonization history and genetic adaptation for a species that successfully exploits urban areas - Eastern gray squirrels. I will examine genetic structure of squirrels in urban and rural landscapes of Madison, Wisconsin by 1) measuring genetic relatedness between rural and urban areas, and 2) determining if genetic relatedness is a consequence of proximity to rural areas or time since urban development.

Ashley Hannah

I am interested in how habitat features at multiple scales can influence reproductive success of birds, particular as it relates to imperiled or endangered species and habitat management. Currently my research focuses on Kirtland’s warbler habitat use in Wisconsin.

Elena Razenkova

I am working on the project based on applying the dynamic habitat index (DHI) for prediction mammal biodiversity. I am interested in population dynamics for some game species from Russia using winter track counts (WTC).

Konrad Turlej

I am geographer, specialized in geoinformatics and remote sensing. I am interested in classification of satellite images and Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA). I like to work on development of tools for land cover classification and change detection of Earth Observation data.

Johanna Buchner

I am interested in land use and land cover change in the Caucasus Mountains over the last decades. My goal is to gain a better understanding of how socio-political conditions affect land use change and to assess the effects of armed conflicts on land use change.

Diana Guzman Colon

I value the importance of incorporating molecular techniques into ecological studies to better understand organisms, their relationships, and their evolution. My PhD project aims to integrate Landscape and Molecular Ecology to demonstrate how landscape and environmental patterns can influence genetic processes in invasive species populations. This relationship might be a crucial factor explaining invasive species population success and persistence in the islands of the Caribbean. Additionally, I aim to infer the role of mongooses in the food web of a newly invaded system. My professional goal is to serve as an educator in Puerto Rico with the objective of providing undergraduate students the tools to be exceptional scientists and instill in them the values of scientific research which carry major implications for our society.

Isabel M Rojas

Riparian and wetland ecosystems have been degraded in many parts of the world, despite their relevance as habitat for a wide variety of species, including humans. I am interested in the ecology of the species that inhabit these types of ecosystems and to find management alternatives for their protection and the recovery of their functionality and biodiversity loss. During my dissertation work, I will be looking at two main ecological aspect of riparian forest: its role connecting the landscape and as habitat for wildlife species. I will conduct my research in the Temperate Region of Chile, South America, which has been defined as one of the Hotspots of Biodiversity of the world.

James Burnham

I study the wintering ecology of cranes and other waterbirds in two areas of China: Poyang Lake,one of the most important wetlands in Asia, and Napahai wetland in Yunnan Province. I link field-based observation of wintering waterbirds to environmental monitoring efforts and satellite imagery analysis to quantify patterns of use by birds over time. By understanding how wintering waterbirds use these wetlands, I hope I can infer how these wetlands change over time and what those changes mean for other wildlife and human users of the system. To see a 5 minute informal talk that I gave to an audience at a local watering hole in January of 2016 about what I do and why I do it, click here.

Carlos Ramirez Reyes

Human activities occur in an environmental context, which often is negatively affected a cause of these activities. I am interested in understanding these interactions and consequences by describing land cover dynamics in the context of wildlife habitat and natural resources. I use Remote Sensing to analyze land cover characteristics at large scales, Species Distribution Modeling, and a number of spatial analysis tools to investigate human and wildlife patterns, and their responses to natural and human-caused disturbances.

I am working through my doctoral degree by making large temporal and spatial forest cover change analyses in Mexico. I also use species distribution modeling to determine the remaining areas that are suitable for jaguars in central Mexico.

Paul Schilke

I am interested in community and ecosystem ecology, particularly interactions between birds and other animals and plants. Birds that catch insects on the wing like flycatchers and swallows have declined significantly in recent decades. I'm studying the importance of aquatic insect emergence events from lakes to the bird community in surrounding forests with the goal of better understanding the causes of declines in aerial insectivores. I also have an interest in bird and plant conservation and the rare natural communities and ecological history of the Great Lakes Region.