Kimberly Price is a new research technician in the Tuberville lab. Kimberly graduated in 2015 with her B.S. in Ecology from Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. While a student working with Dr. Brandon R. Cromer, she focused her undergraduate research on contamination and maternal transfer of mercury in southeastern aquatic turtles using the yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta) and the eastern river cooter (Pseudemys concinna concinna) as her primary study species. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Donna Wear at Augusta University, she monitored gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) behavior and commensal use of burrows at a translocation site on the McDuffie County Fish Hatchery in McDuffie County, Georgia using burrow and trail cameras. Kimberly also volunteered as a research and lab assistant working in Dr. Stacey Lanceís lab at SREL. During her work in the Lance Lab she determined polymorphic microsatellite loci for the bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo) and examined the diet of the species. She also assisted Dr. Jason OíBryhim with his doctoral research examining mercury contamination in tissues of several shark species and generally assisted with other graduate student projects. Kimberly currently volunteers at Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary where she works performing prescribed burning of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) habitats. Her research interests include heavy metal contamination in reptiles, ecotoxicology in herpetofauna, conservation genetics, and sustainable management of longleaf pine habitats.
Jacob Daly is a Masterís student at the University of Georgiaís Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, where he is co-advised by Drs. Tracey Tuberville and Clint Moore. He is a recent graduate of the University of Louisville, where he studied Biology and Ecology (B.S.). His thesis will focus on improving existing methods for head-starting Mojave Desert Tortoise hatchlings (Gopherus agassizii), in the effort to bolster recruitment in this threatened species. His study site is in the Mojave National Preserve, CA and the project is in collaboration with Drs. Kurt Buhlmann (UGA/SREL) and Brian Todd (University of California, Davis). Jacob first got involved with wildlife when he started volunteering at the Louisville Zoo at age 12. These early interactions with captive animals gave him a lasting passion for wildlife biology and conservation. As a junior in college, he began studying territorial behavior in fish, but his interest soon shifted to applied wildlife management and conservation. He then spent a summer as a technician on a large mammal project in New Mexico, assessing the effects of habitat restoration treatments on animal movements and habitat use. He has since gained additional wildlife experience mitigating bird-aircraft collisions. Jacob is interested in applied conservation, with specific interest in manipulative methods such as reintroduction, head-starting, and habitat restoration.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Jared Green received a B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Connecticut in 2009. With a concentration in Wildlife Management, his studies included a field ecology class in South Africa where he researched the habitat preferences of black-backed jackals. Since graduating, he has worked for the National Park Service investigating movement patterns of mountain lions and bobcats in urban areas of California and the feeding habits of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. His past three years have been spent working for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Massachusetts studying the success of a repatriation project involving state-threatened Blandingís turtles at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge. He is continuing his work on this project as a Masterís student at the University of Georgiaís Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, where he is co-advised by Drs. Tracey Tuberville and Richard Chandler. Jaredís research, in collaboration with PI Dr. Kurt Buhlmann (UGA/SREL), is investigating the difference in growth and survival rates between headstarted and non-headstarted Blandingís turtle hatchlings.
Matt Hamilton Hamilton is a Masterís student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia under Drs. Tracey Tuberville and Robert Bringolf. Mattís thesis research at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory is focused on investigating the effects of long-term stressors, such as contaminants, on the stress response, immune function, and population status of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) on the Savannah River Site. While growing up in Indiana, Matt developed a passion for photography and wildlife that ultimately led him to pursue an education concentrating on reptile and amphibian ecology and conservation. He received his BS in Organizational Leadership and Supervision, and Wildlife Ecology from Purdue University in May 2012. While at Purdue, he conducted research on a long-term project assessing the population status of endangered timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) in Indiana under Dr. Rod Williams. His research interests include assessing the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on reptiles and amphibians, conservation genetics of endangered and threatened species, scavenging ecology, ecotoxicology, and wildlife disease ecology.
David Haskins is an incoming Masterís student at the University of Georgiaís Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, under Dr. Tracey Tuberville of SREL. He was raised in Philadelphia, Tennessee, and received his B.S. in Biology with a minor in Statistics from Maryville College in 2014. As an undergraduate, David performed research on the American marten's (Martes americana) prey base in conjunction with Grand Valley State University and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in the Manistee National Forest of Michigan. He also assisted in other projects such as marten kit dispersal and observing nesting behavior in the Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina). Under co-advisors Drs. Tracey Tuberville (SREL) and Robert Bringolf (Warnell), Davidís research at SREL focuses on the physiological effects of anthropogenic contaminants in Yellow-bellied sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta). His research interests include the influence of anthropogenic disturbances on wildlife, ecotoxicology, life history and evolution of herpetofauna, and wildlife conservation.
Rebecca McKee is pursuing her Masterís degree in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources under Dr. Tracey Tuberville and in collaboration with Dr. Kurt Buhlmann. Originally from North Carolina, Rebecca earned her B.S in environmental science from Davidson College. As an undergraduate, she studied how bycatch reduction device (BRD) presence and orientation affects diamondback terrapin behavior and mortality in crab traps. Most recently, she worked for Pennsylvania State University on a study assessing how translocation affects desert tortoise behavior and disease transmission. Through these experiences, Rebecca has developed a strong interest in applied ecology and wildlife behavior. Her masterís research, based at Aiken Gopher Tortoise Preserve, will focus on evaluating the effectiveness of using waif animals as a strategy to bolster declining gopher tortoise populations.
Dan Quinn is a Masterís student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, he received a B.S. in Biology from Truman State University in 2010. As an undergraduate, he gained research experience studying several species of herpetofauna in Latin America and the Caribbean, including habitat use and abundance of the Grenadian tree boa (Corallus grenadensis) and thermal ecology of the lion anole (Norops lionotus). Since graduating, Dan has worked as a technician on a variety of conservation projects including hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) with the St. Louis Zoo and giant garter snakes (Thamnophis gigas) with the USGS. Most recently, he has focused on diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) road mortality mitigation through The Georgia Sea Turtle Center and AmeriCorps. His research interests include mitigating impacts of anthropogenic disturbance, behavioral ecology, and spatial ecology of herpetofauna. Under Drs. Tracey Tuberville and Kurt Buhlmann of SREL, and in collaboration with Dr. Terry Norton of St. Catherines Island Foundation, Dan is conducting research investigating the use of head-started gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) for augmenting populations in managed areas. Dan is co-advised by Dr. Jeffrey Hepinstall-Cymerman at Warnell.
Nicole White is pursuing her Masterís degree at the Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at UGA, where she is co-advised by Drs. Tracey Tuberville and Jeffrey Hepinstall-Cymerman. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and she graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Spanish. She became interested in herpetology after doing an internship working with loggerhead sea turtles in Tampa, Florida at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Since graduating, Nicole has served as a research coordinator at two sea turtle nesting projects in remote areas of Costa Rica and as an AmeriCorps Research Member at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center in 2012 and 2013. While she has worked primarily towards the conservation of sea turtles, Nicole has an avid interest in studying conservation and herpetology on a broader scale. She started at SREL as a technician working primarily on gopher tortoise monitoring projects. Her graduate research focuses on the characterizing the social behavior and ecology of the gopher tortoise at Archbold Biological Station in Venus, Florida, in collaboration with Tracey Tuberville and Dr. Betsie Rothermel. Nicoleís research interests include animal behavior and ecology, conservation ecology, and human-wildlife interactions.
Michaela Lambert is a senior majoring in Natural Resources and Environmental Science as well as Equine Science and Management at the University of Kentucky. Michaelaís research experience began in 2015 when she started working in Dr. Steven Priceís Herpetology and Stream Ecology Lab at UK. Research projects that Michaela has participated in include a mark-recapture study of natricine snakes to examine anthropogenic effects on behavior, a study evaluating both trap effectiveness when capturing the Common Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) and gene flow among populations, the genetic analysis of endangered freshwater mussels, a study examining the impacts of forest management techniques on reptile and amphibian species, and evaluating wetland suitability as amphibian habitat. Her current research in the Price lab focuses on evaluating the relationship between anuran calling patterns and environmental conditions. As part of the Radioecology REU, Michaela is working with Drs. Tuberville and Pilgrim investigating the effects of contaminants on the metabolic rate of water snakes.
Kyle Brown grew up in Simpsonville, South Carolina. He is currently a senior at the University of South Carolina Upstate where he is pursuing a degree in Biology. Kyle became a member of Dr. Melissa Pilgrimís undergraduate research group Upstate Herpetology in January 2015. His research experience includes conducting anuran call surveys for the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program and using automated recording systems to monitor the calling activity of anurans in the Piedmont region of South Carolina. Kyleís love for herpetology began at an early age, when he would spend many hours searching the ponds and creeks near his home for frogs and turtles. As part of the 2016 REU program, Kyle is working with Drs. Pilgrim and Tuberville studying the uptake and effects of radionuclides and mercury in aquatic snakes at the Savannah River site. Kyleís research interests include the effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbance on herpetofauna, as well as wildlife conservation as a whole. Upon graduation, Kyle plans to attend graduate school with the ultimate goal of obtaining a career as a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources or the United States Fish and Wildlife.
Amelia Russell transferred as a senior from Chaminade University of Honolulu to the University of South Carolina Upstate. Her research experiences include working with Dr. Jonathan Storm on two ongoing projects. One project involves collecting capture-mark-recapture data from white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) within urban greenways and rural areas in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The second project uses motion-triggered cameras and geographic information systems to investigate how the distribution of American coyotes (Canis latrans) impact white-tailed deer (Odoeoileus virginianus) and feral cat (Felis catus) occurrence in both urban greenways and urban areas of Spartanburg County. In addition to her work with mammals, Amelia is an active member of Upstate Herpetology, an undergraduate research group managed by Dr. Melissa Pilgrim. She assists in ongoing anuran bioacoustics studies using automated recording systems (ARS) distributed in Spartanburg wetlands and volunteers for the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP). Amelia is currently a research technician for Drs. Tracey Tuberville and Melissa Pilgrim. She is working alongside students in the SREL REU program to investigate the effects of radionuclides and mercury on water snake physiology. Ameliaís future goals include pursuing a Masterís degree in Conservation Biology and becoming a Wildlife Biologist or Environmental Educator.
Kurt Buhlmann is a conservation ecologist whose research interests include life history and evolutionary ecology with application for conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles. He has worked with non-profit, state, and federal agencies on habitat management projects, including prescribed fire and wetlands restoration. He and Tracey are co-PIs and collaborate on several reintroduction projects for tortoises and freshwater turtles. They also both serve as mentors to students and technicians working on these projects. Kurt is a Research Associate at University of Georgiaís Savannah River Ecology Lab.
Kimberly Andrews is the head of the research program on Jekyll Island, Georgia, and graduate faculty at the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. She and Tracey collaborate on a range of projects investigating management approaches of reptiles and amphibians in anthropogenically-altered landscapes. Currently, they are conducting individual-based modeling with Bess Harris and Nate Nibbelink to assess population thresholds of several herpetofauna species in response to climate change and altered wetland hydroperiods. Kimberly and Tracey are also working with Gary Mills at Savannah River Ecology Laboratory assessing the level of PCB contamination of American alligators on the Georgia coast as part of Greg Skupien's (Andrewsí MS student) thesis work. Kimberly has worked at Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in the Herpetology and Outreach programs for over 10 years, where she conducted her graduate studies and has continued her work as a researcher and educator. For more information on Kimberlyís research program, please visit her lab website or Facebook page.
Melissa Pilgrim is Director of Research and an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of South Carolina Upstate. She obtained a B.S. in Biology from Stetson University, a M.S. in Biology from Southeastern Louisiana University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. Melissa completed her post-doctoral work at the University of Georgiaís Savannah River Ecology Laboratory prior to accepting her current position with USC Upstate. Her primary research focus involves an integrative approach to investigating how ecosystems respond to environmental change (natural and anthropogenic). She is interested in large scale questions regarding anthropogenic influences on nutrient cycling and understanding how individual animal responses to environmental variation impact population level processes. Thus, her research program integrates field ecology, biogeochemistry (e.g., stable isotopes), and ecophysiology. Her research platform coupled with experience mentoring undergraduates and managing professional development opportunities for undergraduates makes her well-suited to her current work at SREL with the NSF Radioecology Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. As part of the Radioecology REU, Melissa will be onsite at SREL each summer helping to manage program activities and assessment, as well as mentoring participants. She and Tracey Tuberville will co-mentor REU students conducting research on environmental contaminants as stressors and as tracers in reptiles.
Brett DeGregorio recently completed a PhD at the University of Illinois under direction of Drs. Jinelle Sperry and Pat Weatherhead. Brett studied the potential effects of climate change on snake Ė bird interactions at Ellenton Bay, SRS. Tracey hosted Brett's research and they collaborated on a study investigating how time in captivity and rearing conditions affect foraging ability and post-release behavior in ratsnakes. Brett is now working at the Construction Engineering Research Lab in Champaign, IL.
John Finger a PhD student in Toxicology in UGAís Department of Environmental Health Science under Dr. Travis Glenn, conducted a portion of his graduate research at in collaboration with Tracey Tuberville and students in her lab. His project at SREL centered on determining how selenium (a contaminant in coal combustion wastes) affects both the stress response and immune function in American alligators. John completed his dissertation in December 2014 and started a postdoc at Auburn University in June 2015.
Phil Vogrinc grew up in Woodstock, Illinois, and earned his bachelors of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Currently a Masterís Student at the University of Arkansas under the mentorship of SREL alumnus Dr. J.D. Willson, Phil is interested in how environmental stochasticity influences the population ecology of reptiles and amphibians. In conjunction with SREL and Dr. Tracey Tubervilleís research lab, he is researching the effects of drought on semi-aquatic snake distribution and abundance and is investigating how wetland prey bases influence the dynamics of semi-aquatic snake communities. Phil has experience working as technician with various turtles, snakes, birds and fish in Minnesota, South Carolina and Iowa.
Nick Bossenbroek received a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology with a concentration in Research and Management from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. While at SREL, Nick worked on a variety of projects in three labs! (Gary Mills, Larry Bryan, and Tracey Tuberville). Nick is now working for the US Forest Service.
Jarad Cochran majored in biology at the University of South Carolina Upstate. As part of the 2015 SREL REU program, Jarad worked with Drs. Pilgrim and Tuberville investigating the effects of contaminant exposure on metabolic rates of the eastern mud turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum).
Sam Dean worked as a research technician at SREL on the Long-Lived Reptile Project. She also radio-tracked ratsnakes at Ellenton Bay on the Savannah River Site in collaboration with Brett DeGregorio (PhD student, University of Illinois) to investigate the effects of long-term captivity on post-release survival and site fidelity. Sam is now pursuing her graduate studies at Cornell University.
Naya Alexandra Eady completed a B.S. in biology at Trinity Washington University, working with Dr. Karobi Moitra investigating unknown genes. She hopes to acquire a DVM/PHD in exotics, and to use her degree to make significant contributions to zoological research and medicine. As part of the 2015 SREL REU, Naya worked with Drs. Pilgrim and Tuberville studying the effects of contaminants on immune response in mud turtles.
Bess Harris has been a research technician, lab manager, and graduate student in the Herpetology Lab. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources working under co-advisors Tracey Tuberville (SREL) and Nate Nibbelink (Warnell). Her thesis project investigated juvenile gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) ecology; including the spatial ecology, activity patterns, and growth rates in this poorly understood life stage. The research was conducted on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, as part of a long-term collaboration with Dr. Terry Norton (Georgia Sea Turtle Center) and the St. Catherines Island Foundation. Bess is now working with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Amanda Jones graduated from University of South Carolina-Aiken with a B.S. in Biology and a concentration in Environmental Remediation and Restoration. During the summer of 2015 she worked as a lab/research assistant at SREL, continuing the research project she initiated as an undergraduate in Summer 2014 on immune function of yellow-bellied sliders. While at SREL she also assisted with a variety of other reptile projects on the Savannah River Site. In Fall 2015, Amanda began a Masterís program at the Arnold School of Public Health at University of South Carolina, majoring in Environmental Health Sciences.
Caitlin Kupar received her B.S. Wildlife Biology from UGA. She has worked as a technician at SREL on the Long-Lived Reptile Project working with alligators and freshwater turtles, and assisting with a variety of our other lab projects. She has also interned at the Georgia Aquarium and participated in the Australia Maymester program through UGA.
Chris Murphy recently received his undergraduate at UGA studying wildlife at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. During Summer 2014, he worked as an intern in the Herpetology lab under Dr. Tracey Tuberville. He investigated evaporative water loss rates of various aquatic turtle and terrestrial snake species to better understand their vulnerability to drought. Chrisí research at SREL served as the basis for his senior thesis. Chris is currently working as a field technician studying giant garter snakes.
As a research technician in the Tuberville lab during 2015-2016, Katrina Woods worked with gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) on DOD installations, and assisted graduate students with their thesis projects.