Graduate Students

Graduate Research Assistants Doctoral

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Emily Bertucci

Lab: Parrott
Odum School of Ecology

Interested in ecological physiology and investigating how the environment influences development, genetic modifications, and the health of organisms

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Samantha Bock

Lab: Parrott
Odum School of Ecology

Interested in understanding the mechanisms of temperature-dependent sex determination in alligators and the ways in which man-made stressors like climate change and environmental contaminants can possibly interact with these mechanisms to produce consequences at both the individual and population levels

Denzell Cross awarded Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

"Athens, Ga. – Denzell Cross, a doctoral student in Integrative Conservation and Ecology at the University of Georgia, has been awarded a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. This highly selective award—approximately 65 were given in 2018—provides three years of support for study in pursuit of a doctorate. It recognizes academic excellence; promise for future achievement as a scholar, researcher and teacher in higher education; and capacity to use diversity as a resource to enrich the education of all students. Cross is the fourth UGA student to receive the award. 

Cross studies the impacts of landscape-scale disturbance on urban watersheds in Georgia using trait-based ecology and historical data. Specifically, he is exploring how the structure and function of communities of macroinvertebrates—small creatures like insects, crayfish and snails—living in streams and rivers change through time in response to increasing urbanization. 

His work will help inform management and conservation efforts in urban environments.

“Denzell has been such a fantastic addition to my lab and to the Odum community,” said Cross’s doctoral advisor Krista Capps, assistant professor in the Odum School of Ecology and Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. “His proposed work has the potential to fundamentally change how we understand the long-term impacts of urbanization on animal communities. ​The recognition of Denzell’s potential as a scientist from the Ford Foundation is wonderful and exceptionally well-deserved.”

The doctoral program in Integrative Conservation combines disciplinary depth in one of four areas—anthropology, ecology, geography or forestry and natural resources—and collaboration across disciplines and fields of practice, with a focus on solving the complex conservation challenges of the future. 

“Denzell is a perfect example of the kind of scholar we hope to train in the Integrati

Denzell Cross

Lab: Capps
Odum School of Ecology

Research investigates the long-term and historical impacts of development and urbanization on aquatic insect communities in Atlanta, Georgia, including exploring functional responses of stream invertebrates using species’ traits in order to determine which traits allow stream biota to survive in urbanizing regions

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Bradley Kubecka, AWB®

Lab: Martin
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research interests include upland game bird ecology, rangeland ecology, and wildlife parasitology; primary research focus is roosting behavior of northern bobwhite broods and using molecular techniques to elucidate the diets of bobwhite chicks

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Chris Leaphart

Lab: Beasley
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Investigating the effects of heavy metal contamination on the health, reproduction, and survival of North American waterfowl; research interests include wildlife disease ecology, ecotoxicology, immunology, physiology, and reproductive ecology

 

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Jennifer McDaniel

Lab: Aubrey
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Broadly interested in forest ecology; current research focuses on fire ecology and tree physiology or the physiology of trees

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Scott Oswald

Lab: Aubrey
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research interests are primarily in plant physiology and ecology as well as the use of mathematical modeling to study patterns in plant physiology

 

Graduate Research Assistants Masters

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Viviana P. Bravo

Lab: Bier and Capps 
Odum School of Ecology

Research will identify and evaluate pollution-sensitive aquatic macroinvertebrate communities distributed across five major stream systems on the Savannah River Site; research interests are conservation of freshwater ecosystems, land use, sustainable development, and climate change

 

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Emma Browning

Lab: Tuberville
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research interests and experience include reintroducing gopher tortoises, massasaugas, and flatwood salamanders; currently working in turtle conservation and management

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Miranda Butler-Valverde

Lab: Beasley
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Investigating the efficiency and dynamics of carrion removal within the southeastern United States; research interests include wildlife damage management, species interactions, nutrient cycling and conservation biology

Carmen Candal

Carmen Candal

Lab: Tuberville
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Interested in wildlife conservation and behavioral ecology; research investigates survival, movement, and the physiological condition of head-started Mojave desert tortoises

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Vienna Canright

Lab: Beasley
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Conducting research on the environmental impacts of wild pigs with a focus on using molecular methods to determine wild pig food habits; interests include wildlife conservation and management, behavioral ecology, and human-wildlife conflict

James Chapin

Lab: Abrams
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research focuses on social-ecological resilience as a guiding principle in forest management, and how the concept has been implemented across U.S. Forest Service lands

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Wesley Dixon

Lab: Dharmarajan and Rhodes
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Passionate about wildlife conservation and education; current research focuses on a collaborative project with the USDA estimating raccoon densities with camera traps

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Christine Fallon

Lab: Capps
Odum School of Ecology

Studying how intermittency shapes aquatic communities and food web dynamics of secondary consumer fishes in streams

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Ellie Fowler

Lab: Aubrey
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Interests include disturbance ecology, ecophysiology or the physiology of trees, and forest restoration; research will focus on the relationship between canopy complexity and physiological function with ecosystem resilience within old-growth long-leaf pine ecosystems

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Shane Guenin

Lab: DeVault 
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research investigates the behavior and perception of ducks in response to approaching vehicles to help reduce collisions with aircraft

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Brittany E. Jensen

Lab: Xu and Bringolf
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Interested in ecotoxicology, biogeochemistry, and environmental remediation; current research investigates the utilization of biochar, a form of charcoal, for remediation of mercury from contaminated soil

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Kelly Holland, AWB® 

Lab: Tuberville
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research interests include conservation of threatened and endangered species, human-wildlife conflict, and habitat management; research will compare biological communities in historically contaminated sites to reference sites within SRS to inform future remediation efforts

 

Josiah Johnson

Lab: Parrott
Odum School of Ecology

Research focuses on the impacts of environmental contamination and temperature on amphibian sex ratios with implications for long-term population viability; research interests include wildlife conservation, behavioral ecology, and herpetology

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Emma Kelsick

Lab: Bier and Lance
Odum School of Ecology

Interested in the influence of land management practices on terrestrial and aquatic microbial structures and nutrient processing

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Laura Kojima

Lab: Parrott
Odum School of Ecology

Research focuses on assessing contaminant loads in alligator tail muscle and the degree to which alligators travel onto and off of the Savannah River Site to investigate exposure concerns associated with the public harvest and consumption of alligators in the region

 

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Amanda Komasinski

Lab: Abrams
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research interests in environmental policy and governance; currently investigating how environmental research and environmental policy influence one another

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Susanna Mann

Lab: Tuberville 
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Interests include practical conservation strategies for endangered and threatened species, wetland and landscape ecology and public education; research will focus on the effectiveness of head-starting in Mojave desert tortoises as a mitigation tool to increase juvenile survival

Craig Marshall

Lab: Martin
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Investigating gopher tortoise ecology in pine production forests of the Southeastern United States

 

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Adam McFall

Lab: Lance
Odum School of Ecology 

Research investigates carryover effects and habitat impacts in at-risk amphibians to help improve headstarting and habitat management strategies; research interests include conservation ecology, behavioral ecology, wetland ecology, ecotoxicology, and herpetology

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Kiersten Nelson

Lab: Lance
Odum School of Ecology 

Interested in conservation, herpetology, ecotoxicology, wetland ecology, and disease ecology; research focuses on factors that influence amphibian community dynamics in the Southeast

Cher Nicholson

Lab: Xu
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Investigating how seasonally linked cycles of sulfur redox chemistry affect the sequestration of heavy metals within emergent plants, known as macrophites, and sediments in two constructed wetlands

 

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Carson Pakula

Lab: Travis DeVault
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Interested in behavioral ecology, wildlife conservation, and human-wildlife interactions; research investigates the behavior of deer and wild pigs to help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions

 

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Collin Richter

Lab: Tracey Tuberville
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research interests include spatial and community ecology, species conservation, and wildlife management; currently researching movement, survival, and predation risks of post-release head-started Mojave desert tortoises

Shelby Simons

Lab: Martin
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Conservation management, declining species, and movement ecology; research will focus on translocated northern bobwhite from private to public land (Apalachicola National Forest) and assess movement, habitat use and site fidelity

 

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Samantha Siragusa

Lab: Abrams
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Interested in sustainable development and conservation management; currently interning in the Office of Sustainability as the Chew Crew intern and working on ecological restoration with prescribed grazing

 

Christopher Smaga

Lab: Parrott 
Odum School of Ecology

From the level of DNA to cells to whole organisms, research is focused on the impact the environment has on embryonic development; studying alligators to determine the consequences of environmental contaminants on embryonic gonadal development and the epigenome to understand how these translate into later life stages and overall health; interests include general ecology, physiology, and behavior of reptiles and amphibians

 Tucker Stonecypher

Lab: Lance
Odum School of Ecology

Studying wetland restoration techniques to improve wetland plant communities for at-risk amphibians; investigating head-starting practices to increase juvenile survival in Carolina gopher frogs; interested in restoration ecology, herpetology, wetland plant communities, and disturbance ecology

 

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Christian Swartzbaugh

Lab: Lance and Capps
Odum School of Ecology 

Interests include behavioral ecology, biodiversity and community ecology of fishes; research focuses on the effects of legacy contaminants on freshwater fish communities

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 Chuck Taylor, AWB®

Lab: Beasley 
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research involves wild pig population dynamics and using game cameras to estimate wild pig populations; investigating various trap types for wild pigs and their individual efficacies; interests include wildlife-human conflict, invasive species, behavioral ecology, and the conservation and management of game species

 

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Ream Thomas

Lab: Aubrey
 Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research interests include forestry, ecology and prescribed fire management; research will focus on energy dose thresholds for tree stem mortality

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Chelsea Titus

Lab: Beasley
 Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Using genetics and genomics to investigate the social structure and mating strategies of wild pigs

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Joseph Treichler

Labs: Beasley

Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Interested in conservation and management of game species, human-wildlife conflicts, and the effects of invasive species; currently studying the impacts of wild pigs on row crop agriculture and the surrounding native ecosystem

 

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Kristen Zemaitis

Labs: Parrot and Byers

Odum School of Ecology 

Research is focused on the ecotoxicology and diet of American alligators in the southeast; research interests include their reproductive behavior, genetics, and spatial ecology