Adirondack Ecological Center
SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry
6312 State Route 28N
Newcomb, NY 12852
(518) 582-4551 - office
(518) 582-2181 - fax
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.
“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
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.
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
Graduate Research Topic
Foraging ecology of rusty blackbirds in northern New Hampshire
My research interests are based in northeastern temperate ecosystems and include forest ecology, landscape ecology, and the study of impacts of human land use on wildlife habitat. I am fascinated by the complex relationship between public and private land management in the Adirondack Park and the crossroads between science and policy. I believe that research is highly effective when coupled with an applied component and powerful tools such as a Geographic Information System. In combination with field explorations and ground-based data collection, GIS is useful for exploring conservation of biodiversity and impacts of recreation, development, and forest management in the Northern Forest.
I promote research at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as participatory environmental science programs for ages "K through Grey" at ESF's Newcomb Campus and Huntington Wildlife Forest, via the Adirondack Interpretive Center and Adirondack Biodiversity Project. It is critically important to expose students and visitors to the Adirondack Park to the connections between humans and their environment, not as an abstract concept, but as an ongoing effort to protect both natural resources and vibrant human communities. Student mentees gain proficiency with field and lab biology, computer analysis, project management, communication, team-building and leadership. I value a diverse, collaborative approach to learning and co-led "Integrating Science and Stewardship in the Adirondacks," a mentored research experience for underrepresented students in environmental biology and involving academic scholarship and career awareness (the NSF UMEB program).
Please note: my year-round office is in Newcomb, NY approximately 150 miles northeast of ESF's main campus in Syracuse.
I seek motivated, energetic students interested in pursuing applied field biology and forest ecology. My interests are wide and centered on the Northern Forest, which stretches from the Adirondack region of New York to the timberlands of Maine. Together with other faculty at ESF and colleagues in other organizations, my students and I embark upon research projects designed to answer pertinent questions and result in information of benefit to the wildlife, lands and people of the region. For other project ideas, see Current Research at AEC and ALTEMP projects.
State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY (1994-1997); Master of Science in Environmental and Forest Biology
State University of New York at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY (1990-1994); Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies
LaMere, C. R.*, S. A. McNulty and J. E. Hurst. In press. Human-black bear conflicts are related to mast production in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Proceedings of the Eastern Black Bear Workshop 2011.
Beier, C.M., J.A. Stella, M. Dovciak and S.A. McNulty. 2012. Local climatic drivers of changes in ice phenology and duration on high-elevation lakes in the Adirondack Mountains, New York. Climatic Change. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0455-z.
Cale, J.A.*, McNulty, S.A., Teale, S.A., and Castello, J.D. 2012. The impact of beech thickets on northern hardwood forest biodiversity. Biological Invasions.
Jensen, P.G., C.L. Demers, S.A. McNulty, W. Jakubas, and M.M. Humphries. 2012. Marten and fisher responses to fluctuations in prey populations and mast crops in the northern hardwood forest. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:489-502. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.322.
Brunner, J.L., K.E. Barnett, C. Gosier, S.A. McNulty, M. Rubbo, and M.B. Kolozsvary. 2011. Ranavirus infection in die-offs of vernal pool amphibians in New York, USA. Herpetological Review 42(1):76–79.
Jablonski, K.E.*, S. A. McNulty, and M. D. Schlesinger. 2010. A digital spot-mapping method for avian field studies. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 122:772–776.
Stager, J.C., S. McNulty, C. Beier, and J. Chiarenzelli. 2009. Historical patterns and effects of changes in Adirondack climates since the early 20th century. Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 15:14-24.
Allen, E., R. Curran, S. Halasz, J. Barge, S. McNulty, A. Keal, and M. Glennon. 2009. Adirondack GIS: Resources, Wilderness, and Management. Marguerite Madden, ed. Pages 1135-1168 in the ASPRS Manual of Geographic Information Systems. American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Bethesda, MD. 1352pp.
Signell, S., B. Zuckerberg*, S. McNulty, and W. Porter. 2008. Development of an Adirondack Ecosystem Model. Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 15:13-17.
McNulty, S.A., S. Droege, and R.D. Masters. 2008. Long-term trends in breeding birds in an old-growth Adirondack forest and the surrounding region. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 120:153–158.
McNulty, S. A. and R. D. Masters. 2005. Changes to the Adirondack forest: Implications of beech bark disease on forest structure and seed production. Pages 52-57 in Evans, C.A., J.A. Lucas, and M.J. Twery, eds. Beech Bark Disease: Proceedings of the Beech Bark Disease Symposium. General Technical Report NE-331. Newtown Square, PA. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 149pp.
Jakubas, W. J., C. R. McLaughlin, P. G. Jensen, and S. A. McNulty. 2005. Alternate year beechnut production and its influence on bear and marten populations. USDA Forest Service Beech Bark Disease Symposium Proceedings, Paul Smiths, NY.
Haulton, S. McNulty, B. A. Rudolph, and W. F. Porter. 2001. Evaluating 4 methods to capture white-tailed deer. Wildlife Society Bulletin 29:255-264.
McNulty, S. A., W. F. Porter, N. E. Mathews, and J. A. Hill. 1997. Localized management for reducing white-tailed deer populations. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25:265-271.