Graduate Students

Amanda with vultureAmanda Holland is a Masters student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. Her research interests are relatively broad and include avian ecology, landscape ecology, scavenger ecology, ecotoxicology, and management of at-risk, threatened, and endangered species. She specialized in avian ecology and conservation while earning a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Science at Oregon State University where she was involved in research on California Condors. Her current research is focused on the spatial ecology of black and turkey vultures in the southeastern United States and is using GPS transmitters to elucidate fine-scale movement and resource selection patterns for these species. When not spending time studying her favorite group of animals (vultures!), she enjoys birding, road trips, and brewing beer at home.

DaveDave Keiter is a Masters student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. His thesis research will compare methods of estimating feral swine population size with indices of relative abundance to determine the most cost-effective manner of monitoring this invasive species. He graduated in 2013 from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) with a B.S. in Wildlife Science. At SUNY-ESF he conducted research on small mammals in Alaska and Russia for his honors thesis, and has since been involved with projects studying the nutritional ecology of black-tailed deer in Washington State and population dynamics northern bobwhite quail in Texas. His research interests focus on the population dynamics and ecological interactions of invasive and reintroduced species. In his spare time, he enjoys backpacking, birding, brewing, and board games.

Ricki with red-ruffed lemursRicki Oldenkamp is a Masters student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. As an undergraduate student, Ricki worked on a diversity research projects while earning her B.S. in Biology at Northern Michigan University. These studies included work on the transmission of botulism to birds through an invasive fish species in Lake Michigan, behavioral observations of orangutans in Borneo, cognitive testing of Marine bomb and narcotics detection dogs, and the hormonal link between the brain and stomach in obesity in a mouse model. From this research, Ricki has published a paper on using a novel technique to estimate the amount of herbivory ants prevent on emerging Bracken fern fiddleheads and is a co-author on a cognitive study of how group size affects social cognition in lemurs. At UGA her research will focus on the effects of anthropogenic stressors on wildlife health. Specifically, she will evaluate sub-lethal expressions of stress in free-ranging wildlife exposed to anthropogenic contaminants. When she is not immersed in research she rock climbs, ice climbs (back in Michigan!), and loves to long distance backpack.

AnsleyAnsley Silva graduated from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia in 2009. Much of her time as an undergraduate was spent as an exchange student at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil. During that time she researched some of the impacts of hydropower dams in the Doce River Basin of Minas Gerais. Now as a Masters student under Dr. Jim Beasley and Dr. Kamal Gandhi in Warnell, Ansley's current research focuses on the effects that water and soil contamination have on the invertebrate decomposer community, and whether diversity of this community changes as a function of distance to contamination sites or proximity to riparian habitat. Her interests revolve around anthropogenic influences on the environment. Outside of research, she spends her time backpacking and teaching yoga.

KelseyKelsey Turner, a Georgia native, graduated from the University of Georgia with a BSFR in Wildlife in 2013. As a Masters student at UGA under Drs. Jim Beasley and Robert Warren, Kelsey’s research is focused on understanding the composition of scavenger communities in the southeastern U.S. In particular, her studies focus on how carcass size, habitat type, and carnivore community composition interact to influence the flow of nutrients within terrestrial food webs. Kelsey also is involved in studies assessing scavenger community composition in the Pacific Islands. Her research interests are broad but include carnivore ecology and management, carnivore food habits, and animal behavior and interactions.

Sarah with coyoteSarah Webster is a Masters student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. She received degrees in Wildlife Science and Biology from Virginia Tech in 2012. While at Virginia Tech, she researched the population dynamics and activity patterns of jaguars (Panthera onca) under Dr. Marcella Kelly. She also worked on projects focusing on the population ecology and management of coyotes in several counties in southwestern Virginia. Her research interests include applied population ecology of carnivores and the impacts of environmental stressors (both anthropogenic and natural) on wildlife populations. Her Master's thesis will focus on bait efficacy for population surveys of mesocarnivores in South Carolina as well as the impacts of environmental contaminants on carnivore occupancy and abundance within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Sarah also is involved in studies assessing wolf spatial ecology at Chernobyl.

Undergraduate Students

ChrisChris Leaphart graduated from the University of South Carolina-Aiken in May 2014 with a B.S. in Biology. While at USCA, Chris spent the majority of his time working in Dr. Derek Zelmer’s parasitology lab, where he researched the effects of Haematoloechus infection on the functional response of libellulid odonate naiads, as well as other studies using digenean parasites. Currently he is conducting research at SREL under Dr. Jim Beasley and Bobby Kennamer, where he is examining the natural attenuation of radiocesium (137Cs) levels in whole-body counts of American coots (Fulica americana) collected from the Pond B reservoir at the Savannah River Site, as well as parasite burdens in wildlife inhabiting contaminated environments. His research interests include parasitology and the ecology and management of various wildlife and avian species. Chris plans to obtain a Master’s Degree (and eventually a Ph.D.) to conduct research that investigates the effects of parasitism on different hosts, and how host-parasite interactions can have broader influences on ecosystem function.

Jeff with feral hogJeff Petersen, from Edgefield, South Carolina, currently is an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina-Aiken working on a bachelor's degree in biology with a concentration in Environmental Remediation and Restoration. At USCA Jeff completed a directed study on the behavior and life history of wild pigs under Andy Dyer in spring of 2014. Jeff currently is working at SREL as an intern working with Dr. Jim Beasley conducting studies on wild pigs. Specifically, he is assisting with research quantifying radiation exposure in wild pigs equipped with novel GPS-dosimetry collars, as well as studies evaluating Rhodamine B as a biomarker in wild pigs. Jeff also is assisting with research on the effects of carcass size on scavenging community dynamics. Jeff plans to apply to graduate school in the fall of 2016 to study wildlife ecology.

Research Technicians

Lincoln with snapping turtleLincoln Oliver is a research technician in Dr. Beasley’s lab at SREL. Originally from Evansville, Indiana, he received his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from Purdue University in December 2013. While at Purdue, Lincoln worked as an Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) technician under Dr. Rod Williams. As a technician, he tracked the movements of Eastern Hellbenders to better understand the ecology and breeding habits of the State Endangered salamander. Lincoln also worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Summer Practicum where he assisted in teaching students a variety of wildlife techniques. Lincoln currently is involved with a number of research projects at SREL including small mammal trapping, vulture capture and handling, waterfowl sampling, and evaluation of acoustic hailing devices for dispersing birds. Lincoln hopes to continue his education in graduate school to better understand mammalian ecology and management, as well as wildlife responses to anthropogenic disturbance.

Zak with bobcatZak Smith joined SREL in Sept. 2012 as a research technician after graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology in 2011. While at UNH Zak assisted graduate students on studies assessing winter tick abundance in relation to moose population densities and the impacts of wind turbine development on American Marten populations in the White Mountains of NH. Zak also worked for the NY DEC post-graduation on American Marten and Fisher research in regards to home range analysis, population densities, and general biology. He currently is working under Dr. James Beasley and Dean Fletcher on several studies at SREL including: assessing the efficacy of acoustic hailing devices at dispersing birds, vulture ecology, scavenging ecology, stream ecology, and feral pig ecology and management.

Post-docs

Mike with sharkMike Byrne joined the Beasley lab as a postdoc in 2014 where he is involved in a number of studies including research on the spatial ecology of gray wolves at Chernobyl, use of fine-scale spatial data to elucidate movement behavior of vultures, and the ecology and management of feral swine. Mike received a BS in Biology from Worcester State College in 2003, a MS in Biological Sciences from the University of Rhode Island in 2007, and a Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Louisiana State University 2011. After completing his Ph.D. Mike worked as a postdoc under Dr. Mike Chamberlain in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia from 2012-2014 before joining the Beasley lab. Mike’s research interests include behavioral ecology, animal movement ecology, wildlife habitat use and selection, and population ecology. He is particularly interested in understanding how the behavior of individuals gives rise to, and is itself influenced by, larger population and landscape-level processes of species distribution and evolution. Much of his research involves the use of telemetry to gather data on individuals, and he has a keen interest in the study of animal movement (both long and short term), as it naturally weaves together the above-mentioned research areas. He primarily works on vertebrate species in a variety of terrestrial and marine environments; from forests to open-ocean pelagic ecosystems.

Visiting Researchers

Felipe in the fieldFelipe Hernandez grew up in Santiago, Chile. He earned his bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree and title of DVM from the Universidad de Chile. He graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with a Master in Natural Resources. With a specialization in Wildlife Conservation and Management, he was studying the effect of anthropogenic landscape factors in the behavior and occupancy patterns of the vulnerable guiña (Leopardus guigna), an endemic species of the South American temperate rainforest. Currently, Felipe is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Interdisciplinary Ecology at the School of Natural Resources-Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department-University of Florida under the mentorship of Dr. Samantha Wisely. His main research interest is to understand the influence of anthropogenic disturbances in the health status of terrestrial wildlife, particularly mammals. In collaboration with Dr. Jim Beasley of SREL, Felipe is researching the effects of heavy metal and radioactive contaminants in the physiological parameters and microbiota of raccoons and feral swine populations inhabiting contaminated and reference sites in SRS. Nowadays, Felipe is starting a research project focused in to explore the exposure/infection status of pseudorabies in feral swine populations and its potential transmission risk to native carnivores in South-Central Florida. He expects to continue the fruitful collaborative work with Dr. Beasley´s research lab during the course of this new and exciting project.