Graduate Students

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 geoinformatics and remote sensing. I am interested in machine learning, image processing, and their applications to environmental research.

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

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.

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.