Associate Professor – Conservation Biology
Ph.D. University of Florida, 5/94-8/96. Wildlife Ecology & Conservation.
Dissertation Title: The comparative ecology of bobcat, black bear, and Florida panther in south Florida.
M.S. University of Florida, 1/79-12/80. Wildlife Ecology.
Thesis Title: Avian abundance and habitat preferences on new habitats created by phosphate mining.
B.S. The Ohio State University, 9/73-6/77. Wildlife Management.
Elk Restoration & Black Bear Recolonization - "Restoration of Elk (Cervus elaphus) and Colonization of Black Bear (Ursus americanus) in Kentucky: Ecological Relations and Correlates of Success" examines the feasibility of restoring this large ungulate to a portion of its former range. Although elk were reportedly abundant in Kentucky during colonial times, they were all but gone by the turn of the 19th century. This research, which employs the use of satellite and radio telemetry technologies on >400 elk, examines the natural and anthropogenic factors that influence reestablishment. We have focused on elk ecology and elk interactions with amphibians, birds, white-tailed deer, coyotes, soils, and the eastern Kentucky landscape. A new black bear project examines the natural colonization of the species from Virginia into eastern Kentucky. This research will utilize GPS technology, standard radio telemetry, and GIS simulations in describing the current ecology of the species in Kentucky and in predicting future population and range trends.
Black Bear Conservation - "Ecology of Florida black bears in the fragmented forest landscape of west central Florida" examines the natural history and population status of one of the smallest and most isolated bear populations in North America. Remaining forests are bounded by the Gulf of Mexico, busy highways, urbanization, and other human developments. Continued human population growth in the area threatens to eliminate what few landscape linkages may exist with other bear populations. The findings of this study are proving useful in helping state, federal, and local government agencies develop less intrusive blueprints for providing transportation infrastructure, and recreational opportunities for a growing human population. Because this bear population may be the smallest of any in North America, the research has international implications relating to effects of population isolation on a large carnivore. Several graduate students have lead field studies to examine general ecology of the population, effects of human infrastructure and highway noise, conservation planning at the landscape scale, and the development of a population monitoring tool using remote-activated cameras.
Neotropical Migrant Warbler Ecology and Conservation in Kentucky - Managing for the habitat needs of nongame wildlife such as the cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea) and golden winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) is a challenge in light of changing land use patterns and human demographics in Kentucky. This study is designed to create the foundation for future studies and adaptive management for 2 species that have undergone dramatic distribution changes in the state and for which a paucity of autecological information exists. The cerulean warbler has experienced range-wide declines including throughout Kentucky - once thought to be the center of the species' distribution. The golden-winged warbler appears to be colonizing parts of eastern Kentucky, but its propensity to hybridize with the blue-winged warbler (Vermivora pinus) creates a unique conservation and management challenge.
University Lands and Biodiversity – American universities own a significant proportion of the American landscape. As a result of the Land-Grant College Act of 1862, states were provided land for the creation of colleges to support agricultural and mechanical arts. While some was sold outright, other land provided a base for experimentation and production of food and fiber. Today, university lands frequently include quasi-natural forested systems which have the potential to provide a base for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem function. However, university policies regarding off-campus lands are few and rarely address issues of conservation. Rather, universities view and manage land in a broad spectrum that is influenced primarily by a combination of economics and politics. To date, no record exists on the location and extent of off-campus university lands in the United States. Because universities are employing varied approaches to conservation planning nationwide, we designed a mail survey to characterize existing management philosophies and practices. It is hoped that a thorough examination of policies regarding off-campus lands will elucidate not only suitable modes of revenue enhancement, but will facilitate the development of a philosophy that encourages biodiversity conservation on university lands.