Graduate Students

Jennifer Schneiderman

My research interests include the relationship between species during recovery, and how to best aid the recovery process. Currently, I am focused on the relationship between the recovering Osprey and Bald Eagle populations in the lower 48.

Maia Persche

My research interests are centered on the response of vertebrates to anthropogenic change. Most of my experience has been with forest bird ecology in southern Wisconsin, but I’ve also studied endangered Gray Vireos in New Mexico and more recently (and briefly) cloud forest species in Northwest Ecuador. I believe that studying the complexities of species and ecosystems is an important step towards conservation, and that now is an essential time for both. For my master’s research, I’ll be investigating the effects of topography and microclimate on spring phenology in the Baraboo Hills, just north of Madison. I hope to shed light on the relationships between forest bird species, Lepidoptera larvae, and spring tree phenology across a varied landscape.

Niwaeli Kimambo

I research land use and environmental conservation of East African Rift humid forests. I am interested in balancing livelihood concerns with wildlife wellbeing. I use cross-scale methods: combining interviews, field-based ecological surveys, and remote sensing in order to make site-specific recommendations. My Master’s work, for example, looked at approaches for increasing forest connectivity in Southern Tanzania. My goal is to highlight conservation options that are both ecologically viable and socially equitable. For more information, see my UW-Madison Geography page.

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 geo-informatics and remote sensing. My interests include machine learning, image processing, and their applications to environmental research. I enjoy working with large datasets and am excited to pursue large area studies.

Currently, I am working on my PhD project, where I focus on an accurate and efficient methodology for mapping forest tree species based on remote sensing data from Sentinel and Landsat satellites, and MODIS sensor. The approach that I am developing is aimed at updating the forest inventory maps at the state level.

In the future I would like to focus on analyses at the global scale, for example, mapping land cover, land cover change, tree species or monitoring agriculture across continents.

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.

Maxim Dubinin

My expertise is in using geographic information systems and spatial data analysis for various aspects of conservation, natural resource management, and animal science.

Patricia Alexandre

I'm interested in understanding how people adapt to natural disasters, in particular wildfires. I'm also interested in spatial patterns of human development in relation to wildfire and how it affects house's vulnerability. How? Using spatial modelling techniques and looking into the past using satellite images.

James Burnham

I study the wintering ecology of endangered cranes and other waterbirds in two areas of China: Poyang Lake, and Napahai wetland in Yunnan Province. In my work, I link field-based observation of wintering waterbirds to satellite imagery analysis. My goal is to understand how these wetlands change over time and what those changes mean for wintering waterbirds, other wildlife and human users of the system. Click here to see my 1 hour 2017 Ph.D. exit seminar, and to see a 5 minute, informal talk that I gave at a local watering hole in 2016 about what I do, click here.

Carlos Ramirez Reyes

I am a conservation scientist interested in finding landscape and wildlife patterns, and investigating the different mechanisms that produce changes in them. My research activity often involves large-scale analysis and the consideration of the human influence on the ecological systems. Because of these socio-ecological elements, I often work in an interdisciplinary environment. I use GIS and remote sensing analysis constantly, since they are a cost-effective way to obtain information of features on the ground. My goal is to provide relevant spatial information that can inform species and ecosystem management, and to generate strategies to overcome ecosystems deterioration.

Naparat Suttidate

I am interested in population dynamics in the context of anthropogenic impacts on threatened species and biodiversity in order to inform the conservation and management of wildlife. Specifically, I would like to use quantitative methods such as metapopulation models, remote sensing, GIS, and ecological modeling to assess the viability of threatened species.

Jessica Gorzo

I am working on a dissertation investigating the effects of extreme climate events on forest songbirds. My two biggest conservation interests are land preservation and climate change, as these two will foreseeably go hand-in-hand in management efforts. I am specifically interested in avian ecology, and hope to continue to focus my research within Aves. I hope to work in imperiled, high biodiversity ecosystems in future research.

Catalina Munteanu

The ecological legacy of our ancestors is deeply engraved in the environment today; so as a society, we bear a great environmental responsibility for generations to come. My research aims to understand the land use legacies in our contemporary environment, in order to inform better conservation and land management decisions in the future. I study the Carpathian region – one of the most ecologically and culturally diverse ecosystems in Europe.

Watch a 3-miunute video or read a short blog-post to learn more about my research.

Follow me on Twitter: @catalinamunte

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.