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conservation biology

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

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
  • Danilo D. Fernando; fernando@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, landscape ecology, long-term monitoring, and applied geographic information systems. focused on exploring long-term changes, biodiversity conservation in the northern forest, and impacts of recreation, development, and forest management in the adirondack mountains and northern forest, phenology, amphibians, beaver, songbirds, white-tailed deer, animal movements and habitat use, wildlife management
  • Dylan Parry; dparry@esf.edu
    population dynamics and evolutionary ecology of defoliating Lepidoptera and their natural enemies (predators, parasitoids, and pathogens), invasive species in forested environments, insect-plant interactions, conservation of moths and butterflies, forest entomology, biological control
  • 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; neilringler@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; rundell@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; alexw@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

Current Students

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

Katrina AlgerKatrina Alger
kealger@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Whipps

James ArrigoniJames Arrigoni
jearrigo@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Gibbs

Previous Graduate Study: SUNY-ESF (EFB )

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

Samouel BeguinSamouel Beguin
sjbeguin@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): McNulty
Undergraduate Institute: Middlebury College (Biological Sciences)

Links
Web Link

Personal Statement
I believe that ecological research must be connected to the spheres of environmental policy, conservation planning, and integrated natural resources management. This kind of applied, multidisciplinary research promotes more effective environmental stewardship and helps us move toward the goal of safeguarding the biosphere for future generations. I am grateful to have the opportunity to conduct applied conservation biology research here at ESF. I plan to develop my career around integrated, interdisciplinary, and international environmental projects related to biodiversity conservation, wetlands ecology and management, and social-ecological systems resilience. I am also eager to improve my understanding of soundscape ecology, ethnoscience and traditional ecological knowledge, and natural history/environmental education.

Graduate Research Topic
I am examining the soundscape ecology of boreal lowland wetland sites in New York State's Adirondack Park. Analysis of automated digital sound recordings obtained from 20+ wetland sites will allow me to quantify bioacoustic diversity, boreal bird species richness, and several other acoustic metrics at a landscape scale. I will also be able to determine the level of anthropogenic noise at wetland sites with differing Land Use Classifications as designated by the Adirondack Park Agency. This research will improve understanding of how both biological sound diversity and anthropogenic noise may vary depending on differences in land ownership and corresponding human activities. Finally, I will be able to examine how Adirondack wetland soundscapes change temporally at hourly, daily, and monthly scales.

Favorite Quotes
“We shall never achieve harmony with the land, anymore than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.” - Aldo Leopold / "A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a soundscape is worth a thousand pictures. You can spend years evaluating a habitat from a visual perspective, but you will find out more from a 10-second sound clip than from years of visual study." - Bernie Krause

Trinity BoisvertTrinity Boisvert
tmboisve@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Kimmerer

Laura BrownLaura Brown
lrbrow02@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Leopold
Undergraduate Institute: SUNY-ESF (Biology)

Favorite Quote
"We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well - for we will not fight to save what we do not love." -Stephen Jay Gould

Jesse Czekanski-MoirJesse Czekanski-Moir
jeczekan@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Rundell

Michael FishmanMichael Fishman
msfishma@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Gibbs
Undergraduate Institute: Cornell University (Natural Resources)

Emily GavardEmily Gavard
ejgavard@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): and Whipps

Cody GilbertsonCody 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.

William HelenbrookWilliam Helenbrook
wdhelenb@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Shields and Whipps
Undergraduate Institute: SUNY Center Buffalo

Previous Graduate Study: SUNY College Buffalo (Biology )

Home Page
http://www.esf.edu/efb/grad/Helenbrook.htm

Stefan KarkuffStefan Karkuff
skarkuff@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Stella and Schulz

Graduate Research Topic
I am interested in understanding the nutrient benefits of allochthonous leaf litter in Northeastern US vernal pool ecosystems. My goal is to quantify the nutritional value of various leaf species using physical, chemical, and biological indicators. These unique microecosystems are typically found in heavily shaded forests, and therefore lack the primary production benefits of most larger wetlands. Thus, this project will contribute significantly to our understanding of the controlling influence of stand composition and structure on forest wetlands. My results will have direct relevance to agencies engaged in vernal pool creation and wetland mitigation.

Favorite Quote
"Go climb a mountain"

Chellby KilhefferChellby Kilheffer
crkilhef@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Underwood

Timothy McCoyTimothy McCoy
tjmccoy@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): McNulty
Undergraduate Institute: SUNY-ESF (Conservation Bio)

Graduate Research Topic
I am conducting a study on the diet of the American marten (Martes americana) population in the Adirondacks. Through this study I hope to flesh out the relationships that martens have with important prey items including small mammals and masting tree species. Certain small mammal species and certain tree species exhibit pulse driven cycles. I want to know what role the marten plays in these cycles and how the marten benefits or declines from these interactions.

Favorite Quote
The worst thing that will probably happen—in fact is already well underway—is not energy depletion, economic collapse, conventional war, or the expansion of totalitarian governments. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired in a few generations. The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us — Edward O. Wilson

Home Page
Web Link

Mikhail PaltsynMikhail Paltsyn
mypaltsy@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Gibbs

Alex PetzkeAlex Petzke
apetzke@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Leopold

Jennifer PotrikusJennifer Potrikus
jrpotrik@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Fernando

Angga RachmansahAngga Rachmansah
arachman@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Gibbs

Charles RobinsonCharles Robinson
cwrobins@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): McNulty

Michael ServissMichael Serviss
mjservis@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Fernando

Scott SveivenScott Sveiven
sjsveive@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Leopold
Undergraduate Institute: University of Minnesota Duluth (Biology)

Personal Statement
My interests span the whole of biology and humanity. It is the collection, interconnectedness, and diversity of life on this planet that inspire and motivate me to pursue graduate studies. This includes societal components across the globe, which have led me to pursue a concurrent master of public administration degree at the neighboring Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs. Rather than focus on one aspect or element of the menagerie of life, I hope to explore what unifying themes exist, particularly in regards to conservation. Simply, I view species conservation and environmental degradation as small pieces of a larger puzzle. How we, as human beings, are collectively utilizing and interacting with the natural world and its resources is both the cause of and ultimate solution to issues in conservation and sustainability.

Graduate Research
"Plant invasions: testing theory with ecological monitoring data from wetlands in Colorado, USA." My research is a collaboration with the National Park Service in Colorado and Montana. Significance: Invasive plant species are affecting landscapes worldwide. Despite their prevalence, invasive species remain a hotly debated topic amongst ecologists. My research draws on observational wetland plant survey and environmental metric data collected through the National Park Service's Rocky Mountain Inventory & Monitoring Network to test whether native richness is negatively related to invasive richness and abundance; the pattern of plant functional guild as it relates to invasives; and the stability of invasive richness and abundance temporally. Wetlands in mountainous habitats provide an ideal setting for this work, as they are critical components of these ecosystems and little work has been done specifically on invasive species impacts in these habitats.

Favorite Quotes
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" - M.K. Gandhi "I am a faulty string of blue Christmas lights" - John K. Samson


Andrea ThomenAndrea Thomen
apthomen@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): and Farrell

Giuseppe TumminelloGiuseppe Tumminello
gtummine@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Fierke

Tess YoukerTess Youker
teyouker@syr.edu

Conservation Biology

Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): and Gibbs

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State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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