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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)


Lilian Bonjorne de Almeida

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


Joline Bruckman

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


Jesse Czekanski-Moir

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


Samantha Dean

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

Thesis topic
Herpetological Survey at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site



Eric Diefenbacher

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


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

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


Toby Liss

Toby Liss

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


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

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

Graduate Research Topic
Restoration of the Federally listed American Hart's-Tongue Fern in the upstate New York region.

Home Page
Web Link



Caitlin Slife

ccslife@syr.edu
Conservation Biology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Farrell


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.



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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