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Conservation Biology

M.S., M.P.S. & Ph.D.

conservation biology

This area entails study and maintenance of biological diversity at the level of genes, populations, communities, ecosystems and biomes; intellectual underpinnings include evolutionary theory, systematic biology, population biology and ecosystem science. Conservation biology seeks ways to integrate biological principles with social, economic and political perspectives to achieve conservation goals.

The field is a response of the scientific community to the biodiversity crisis. Conservation biologists view nature’s diversity as important and having inherent value. Training in this field includes experience with the fundamental disciplines and theory of conservation biology, as well as specialization in conservation issues. Students are encouraged to explore the human dimensions of biological conservation through coursework in other departments of the College, and to acquire firsthand experience in the application of biological knowledge to problems by working for a conservation agency. Students find employment in a variety of government and private conservation agencies and in academic institutions. Many also work as administrators, policymakers, teachers and communicators. Current research areas in conservation biology include global climate change, endangered species biology, conservation genetics theory and practice, behavioral ecology, habitat fragmentation, restoration ecology, exotic species biology and control, forest and wetland ecosystem management, tropical ecology, ecological monitoring, conservation education and harvest management.

Participating Faculty

  • Martin Dovciak; mdovciak@esf.edu
    Plant Ecology, Forest Ecosystems, Biodiversity, Global Change, Ecosystem Management & Restoration
  • Shannon Farrell; sfarrell@esf.edu
    Wildlife ecology, wildlife-habitat relationships, management planning for endangered and threatened species, human impacts on wildlife, ecosystem services, endangered species act policy innovations, birds, bats
  • John M. Farrell; jmfarrell@esf.edu
    aquatic ecology, fisheries science & management, freshwater coastal wetlands, St. Lawrence River studies & Great Lakes, invasive species, restoration
  • Danilo D. Fernando; dfernando@esf.edu
    plant structure and development, reproductive biology of conifers, pollen transformation, genomics and proteomics of pine pollen tube development, willow flowering and tissue culture, genetic diversity of rare and endangered ferns, and plant evolution, diversity and conservation.
  • Melissa K. Fierke; mkfierke@esf.edu
    forest entomology, forest ecology, invasive forest pests, insect-tree interactions, tree defenses
  • Jacqueline Frair; jfrair@esf.edu
    wildlife ecology and management, ecology of large herbivores and predators, animal movements, resource selection, population demography, quantitative methods in conservation, landscape ecology
  • James Gibbs; jpgibbs@esf.edu
    herpetology, vertebrate conservation biology, genetics and ecology in birds, reptiles and amphibians, songbirds, giant tortoise, statistics, wildlife population monitoring, galapagos islands, conservation biology, ecological monitoring, population genetics, applied demography, undergraduate conservation education
  • Thomas R. Horton; trhorton@esf.edu
    mycorrhizal plant ecology, molecular ecology, ecology, fungal communities, mycology, fire ecology
  • Robin W. Kimmerer; rkimmer@esf.edu
    plant restoration ecology, bryology, bryoecology, restoration ecology, ethnobotany, conservation biology and bryophyte ecology, traditional ecological knowledge
  • Donald J. Leopold; djleopold@esf.edu
    forest and freshwater wetland ecology, conservation, and restoration, peatland ecology and conservation, local and regional controls of species richness and rarity, dynamics of plant communities as affected by man and environment, management for unique communities and rare species, dendrology, native plants, restoration ecology, rare species conservation
  • Karin E. Limburg; klimburg@esf.edu
    riverine fish and estuarine ecology, fisheries ecology, watershed ecology, systems ecology, ecological economics, fisheries and ecosystem science, coupled human-natural systems, biogeochemistry, fisheries ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemical tracers, modeling
  • Mark V. Lomolino; island@esf.edu
    conservation biology, wildlife, ecology, evolution and biogeography
  • Stacy A. McNulty; smcnulty@esf.edu
    forest ecology, phenology, vertebrate ecology. exploration of long-term changes, biodiversity conservation, and relationship of human land use planning, recreation, and forest management to ecosystem function in the northern forest.
  • Dylan Parry; dparry@esf.edu
    Biological invasion, climate change, and conservation, primarily in the context of insects in forested ecosystems.
  • William A. Powell; wapowell@esf.edu
    forest biotechnology, molecular plant-microbe interactions, genetic engineering in plant conservation, antimicrobial peptide design, plant gene design, plant pathology, molecular biology
  • Neil H. Ringler; nhringle@esf.edu
    fish ecology and behavior, foraging behavior of fishes, salmon reproduction, vertebrate anatomy, aquatic insect ecology, stream ecology and management, aquatic and fisheries restoration, aquatic entomology
  • Rebecca Rundell; rrundell@esf.edu
    evolutionary biology, conservation biology, speciation, adaptive and nonadaptive radiations, biogeography, phylogenetics, systematics, Pacific island radiations and biodiversity conservation, land snails, marine/aquatic microscopic invertebrates
  • Kimberly L. Schulz; kschulz@syr.edu
    nutrient and exotic species effects on aquatic ecosystems, ecological stoichiometry, aquatic community and ecosystem ecology, bioenergetics, nutrient cycling, lower food web studies, great lakes, finger lakes, plankton, limnology, aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry, invasive species
  • William M. Shields; wms1@syr.edu
    animal behavior, evolution and genetics, evolution of animal communication and dispersal systems, effects of genetic constraints on the evolution of social behavior, sociobiology and behavioral ecology, the use of DNA in identity testing and conservation biology, the interface between science and the law, conservation theory, behavior in birds and mammals, forensic DNA analysis
  • Donald Stewart; djstewart@esf.edu
    ecology and systematics, lake systems ecology, aquatic ecology, fish conservation, ecology and population biology in tropical and temperate systems, fish ecology and fisheries management, ecological energetics, modeling predation and production processes, Great Lakes ecosystems, Amazonian ecosystems, ecology and systematics of neotropical freshwater fishes
  • Stephen A. Teale; sateale@esf.edu
    forest entomology, insect behavior, pheromones of forest insects, insect ecology, pest management, chemical ecology, evolution of pheromone communications
  • J. Scott Turner; jsturner@syr.edu
    animal physiology, physiological ecology, thermal energetics, biology of body size, physiology of gas exchange
  • H. Brian Underwood; hbunderw@syr.edu
    wildlife ecology, deer, small mammals, songbirds, quantitative ecology and biostatistics, population surveys, ecological modeling and simulation, national park management, applied population analysis, life-history evolution, trophic dynamics, large mammal management
  • Alexander Weir; aweir@esf.edu
    conservation mycology, fungal biodiversity and conservation, fungal-arthropod interactions, biology of parasites and symbionts, systematics and evolutionary biology of fungi, fungi and humans, biology of parasites and symbionts

Current Graduate Students in Conservation Biology


Only currently registered students appear—new student names are added at the start of the academic year.

Mariano Arias

mgarias@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Dovciak
Undergraduate Institute: Universidad de Buenos Aires (Biology)


James Arrigoni

James Arrigoni

jearrigo@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Schulz

Previous Graduate Study: State University of New York C (Environmental Science)

Home Page
http://www.esf.edu/efb/gibbs/JA.htm



Lilian Bonjorne de Almeida

Lilian Bonjorne de Almeida

lbdealme@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Frair

Previous Graduate Study: Universidade Federal de Minas (Ecology )

Graduate Research Topic
Effects of forest loss and fragmentation on felids in Brazil. Collaboration with Brazilian institutions, including CENAP/ ICMBio (National Research Center for Carnivore Conservation/ Chico Mendes for the Conservation of Biodiversity), Guarulhos Zoo, and São Paulo City Hall.



Joline Bruckman

Joline Bruckman

jmbruckm@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Gibbs

Thesis Facebook Page
Web Link

Personal Statement
I discovered my perfect career goal the last semester of my undergraduate work. One of my professors was a wildlife biologist with the NYSDEC, and after discussing with him about his career, I knew it would be everything I ever wanted. After I graduated I worked for two years as a wildlife technician at the NYSDEC of Buffalo, NY. Over the course of the two years, I also worked as an environmental educator at Reinstein Woods, and as a wildlife consultant for the Seneca Nation Fish and Wildlife Department. I had the privilege of working with many different incredible species including bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), blandings turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganienses), as well as many different species of bats. I am currently working on a thesis based around expanding knowledge in the field of headstarting eastern hellbenders. After I graduate I would love to find a career as a wildlife biologist with a focus on herpetology.

Graduate Research Topic
Influence of rearing strategies on growth and survival of juvenile eastern hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganienses alleganiensis)

Favorite Quote
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” - Dr. Seuss, The Lorax



Jesse Czekanski-Moir

jeczekan@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Rundell


Samantha Dean

Samantha Dean

shdea100@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Gibbs
Undergraduate Institute: Cornell University

Thesis topic
Investigating the effects of habitat edges and recreational trails on the distribution of reptiles and amphibians at the Home of FDR National Historic Site

General research interests
Herpetology, recreation ecology, long term mark-recapture of long-lived reptiles, behavioral ecology of reptiles (specifically turtles), citizen science, and communicating science to the public.



Michael Fishman

msfishma@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Gibbs
Undergraduate Institute: Cornell University (Natural Resources)

Personal Statement
I am a practical field biologist pursuing a mid-career Master's Degree. My research focuses on gaining practical information for use in the field to further our knowledge of wildlife and their habitats, as well as to develop approaches for long-term conservation of declining species.

Graduate Research Topic
I am studying Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)roost and foraging habitat selection in the Ontario Lake Plain of central New York.

Favorite Quote
Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. - Theodore Roosevelt



Emily Gavard

ejgavard@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): and Whipps


Cody Gilbertson

Cody Gilbertson

crgilber@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Rundell

Graduate Research Topic
Removing the threat of stochastic extinction for the Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail: A collaborative captive propagation effort to develop ex situ populations in New York State.



Ielizaveta Iegorova

Ielizaveta Iegorova

iviegoro@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Gibbs


Interacting effects of socio-political and environmental factors on rangeland dynamics in the Altai Mountains in central Asia



Chellby Kilheffer

Chellby Kilheffer

crkilhef@syr.edu
EFB Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Underwood
Undergraduate Institute: Pennsylvania State University (Biology)

Graduate Research Topic
My dissertation focuses on dune vegetation regeneration on a barrier island since Superstorm Sandy overwashed large areas of the beach. I am also investigating the role of white-tailed deer herbivory on the vegetation regeneration process.

Home Page
Web Link



Sahila Kudalkar

sdkudalk@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Gibbs
Undergraduate Institute: Mumbai University (Electronics Engineer)

Website
Web Link

Personal Statement
My Masters research focuses upon habitat associations of two co-occuring generalist rodents- Niviventer fulvescens and Rattus andamanensis- in tropical forests in northeastern India. Broadly, I am interested in tropical ecology, human-wildlife interactions and community-based management of natural resources.

Graduate Research Topic
Effects of microhabitats upon the non-volant small mammal community in protected forests of northeastern India

Favorite Quote
"It is always the same with mountains. Once you have lived with them for any length of time, you belong to them. There is no escape." ― Ruskin Bond, Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas



Toby Liss

Toby Liss

trliss@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Leopold

Graduate Research Topic
Marginal plant species for use on green roofs and the effects of species composition on green roof functioning for stormwater reduction

Undergraduate Study
University of Pittsburgh (Ecology and Evolution, Linguistics)

Social Media
@mslissecologist on Instagram and Twitter



Mikhail Paltsyn

mypaltsy@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Gibbs


Alex Petzke

apetzke@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Leopold


Jane Raffaldi

Jane Raffaldi

jcraffal@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Fierke


Charles Robinson

cwrobins@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): McNulty


Michael Serviss

Michael Serviss

mjservis@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Fernando
Undergraduate Institute: SUNY-ESF

Graduate Research Topic
My research focuses on the restoration of the threatened American Hart's-tongue Fern in the Central New York region by exploring methods of introduction, reintroduction and population augmentation. Specifically, I explore the effects of acclimatization, life stage and source population on survival and growth of transplanted ferns.

Home Page
Web Link



Caitlin Slife

Caitlin Slife

ccslife@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Paterson
Undergraduate Institute: St Marys College Md

Graduate Research Topic
Ecology and Ecotoxicology of Mysis diluviana in NY Finger Lakes



Giuseppe Tumminello

Giuseppe Tumminello

gtummine@syr.edu
EFB Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MSC
Advisor(s): Fierke and Volk
Undergraduate Institute: Cornell University

Graduate Research Topic
Insect pollinators associated with shrub-willow biomass crop.



Julia Vanaman

Julia Vanaman

jvanaman@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Gibbs

Links
Web Link

Personal Statement
I have known from a very young age that working with animals is what makes me happiest. Growing up, I always had an assortment of pets including whatever creatures I found in my backyard, such as snakes, salamanders, caterpillars, and many others. Although these last were only a temporary addition to what my family liked to call "The Menagerie," animals eventually became my permanent passion that spurred me to study conservation biology. We are living in what many scientists are claiming is the sixth largest extinction event Earth has ever experienced, and some have even suggested renaming the Holocene to a more appropriate "Anthropocene." I would do what I can to slow this rate, not only for species' economic value, but for the intrinsic value life has in all its forms.

Graduate Research Topic
To improve our understanding of Common Map Turtle habitat, status, and movement in the Hudson River.

Favorite Quote
"How strange and devouring our ways must seem to those for whom living is enough." -Karsten Heuer



Michael Whalen

mrwhalen@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Farrell and Dovciak


Tess Youker

teyouker@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): and Gibbs

Graduate Research Topic
Amphibian ranavirus epidemics in reconstructed vernal pool wetlands

Home Page
Web Link




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