My research focuses on the Biodiversity, Systematics, Biogeography and Conservation Genetics of Vertebrates, especially mammals and birds.
Current Graduate Students
RACHEL HANSON : Rachel's M.S. Thesis research at UNCW focuses on social interactions, behavioral ecology and the energetics of territoriality in a highly diverse assemblage of hummingbirds on the east slope of the Andes at Wildsumaco, Ecuador.
MARYLIN NOVILLO: B.S. Biology, Universidad Central del Ecuador, in Quito, 2009. Determination of Karyotype and Standard Ideogram of Puma yagouaroundi (E. Geoffory Saint-Hilarie, 1803), This project resulted in a publication in Spanish, her native language, which can be accessed here.
Marylin’s M.S. Thesis research at UNCW focuses on how Andean nectar bats use visual, olfactory and acoustic cues in flower choice.
LAUREN ROWAN: Lauren's M.S. Thesis research focuses on the conservation genetics of the federally threatened Cheat Mountain Salamander in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia.
IAN FINCHAM ( B.S, Biology with Honors, UNCW 2015): Ian will be pursuing his Master's degree in Wildlife Film making at the University of North England in Bristol, U.K. beginning in Fall, 2015.
MEGAN TAIG-JOHNSTON ( B.S. Biology with Honors, UNCW, 2014): Megan is pursuing her M.S. in Biology at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Her research focuses on sociality in degus in Chile.
ANNE-MARIE HODGE: Intraguild Interactions among Carnivores in the Tropical Andes. Anne-Marie studied intraguild interactions of carnivores at the Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary, a mid-elevation site on the east slope of the Andes in Ecuador. She is currently working on her PhD in the lab of Jake Goheen at the University of Wyoming. Her dissertation research focuses on studying the ecology of mesocarnivores at the Mpala Research Station in Kenya.
KATELYN SCHUMACHER: Landscape Genetics of the Northern Flying Squirrel in the Central Appalachians. Katelyn used mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites to study the geographic distribution of genetic variation of endangered populations of the northern flying squirrel in the Appalachian Mountains. Her work will be incorporated into reforestation plans for spruce and fir in the region.
Katelyn at the tip of the World!
KAI CURRY-LINDAHL: : Alpha and Beta Diversity in Mammals Along a Unique Elevational Gradient in the Tropical Andes of Ecuador. Kai used camera-traps to evaluate the biodiversity of large and medium-sized mammals along the steep elevational slope of Sumaco Volcano. He focused on the mammalian community of the cloud forest, and is using his data along with that from the transitional forest of Wildsumaco to compare levels alpha diversity (species richness) and beta diversity (the turnover in the community composition from one elvation to another).
Kai is originally from Belgium and spent time growing up in Sweden and the UK. He received his undergraduate degree from UNCW in 2010.
Kai participating in a friendly question and answer session
BRIT GARNER : Ancient DNA analysis of sea lion subfossils from Kodiak Island, Alaska; Conservation genetics of the Cheat Flat-spired Three-toothed Land Snail. Brit is working on 2 projects, one using ancient DNA to examine the historical biogeography and temporal changes in genetic variation in sea lions, and a second project using microsatellite analysis to look at the genetic population structure of one of the rarest snails in the world, Triodopsis platysayoides. This specis of snail occurs in only one canyon in the world (the Cheat River Canyon of WV).
Brit's major advisor was Dr. Marcel van Tuienen, and I served as her secondary advisor. Brit came to UNCW from the University of Florida where she gained extensive experience in both fieldwork and conservation genetics/ phylogeography. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Montana.
Brit wrestling with invasive pythons in the Florida Everglades.
CHRISTOPHER M. CALLHAN Systematics and Biogeography of Whales and their Ectoparasites.
M.A., Biology, Humboldt State University, 2008. Christopher used analysis of DNA and museum specimens to examine how whale lice (crustacean ectoparasites) made the evolutionary jump to colonize gray whales. Christopher is Assistant Professor of Biology at the College of the Redwoods in Crescent City, California.
NICK KERHOULAS: Systematics and Biogeography of Mesoamerican Flying Squirrels.M.A., Biology, Humboldt State University, 2008. Nick used DNA data obtained from skin samples of museum specimens to examine the evolutionary relationships and biogeographic history of flying squirrels from the highland forests of Mexico and Central America. Nick is currently a PhD student at the University of Alaska working with Dr. Link Olson.
DR. JESSICA BLOIS: M.A., Biology, Humboldt State University, 2005., PhD, Stanford University 2009. Jessica's Master's thesis was on the Conservation Genetics of the Sonoma Tree Vole
Jessica completed her PhD in Liz Hadly’s lab at Stanford University and was apost-doctoral fellow in the lab of Jack Williams at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Center for Climatic Research and Department of Geography at the University of California, Merced.
Jessica in the field!