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Ecology Area of Study for M.S., M.P.S. or Ph.D. in Environmental Biology

ecology Apply

This integrative study area allows students to investigate the relationships of organisms to their environment and those factors that affect their distribution and abundance. Both the practical and theoretical applications of ecology are emphasized through courses and research.

There are four major areas in ecology: organismal ecology, population-evolutionary ecology, community ecology and systems ecology. In consultation with the student’s steering committee, courses are chosen from these areas, as well as other disciplines. Specific research may encompass any of the four major areas of ecology and entail the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms, community structure including trophic relationships, diversity, succession and ecosystem properties, such as patterns of energy transfer and biogeochemical cycling.

Participating Faculty

  • Jerrold L. Belant; jbelant@esf.edu
    wildlife ecology and management, carnivore conservation, human-wildlife conflicts, ecological plasticity, international conservation
  • Stewart Diemont; sdiemont@esf.edu
    systems ecology, ecological engineering, traditional ecological knowledge, Latin America, ecosystem restoration, sustainability analysis, natural wastewater treatment systems and re-use, less-developed countries, agroecology
  • Martin Dovciak; mdovciak@esf.edu
    Plant Ecology, Forest Ecosystems, Biodiversity, Global Change, Ecosystem Management and Restoration
  • Cynthia J. Downs; cjdowns@esf.edu
    Animal Physiology, ecoimmunology, physiological trade-offs, organismal ecology, scaling, allometry, Ecological and evolutionary consequences of variation in physiological phenotypes
  • John M. Farrell; jmfarrell@esf.edu
    Fisheries Science and Management, Aquatic Ecology, Wetlands Restoration, Invasive Species.
  • 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
  • Brian F. Leydet; bfleydet@esf.edu
    infectious and vector-borne diseases, arthropods of veterinary and medical importance, vector biology, vector-pathogen-host interactions, disease ecology, molecular biology, epidemiology of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases
  • 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
  • Gregory McGee; ggmcgee@esf.edu
    ecology, management and restoration of forest ecosystems; STEM education
  • Dylan Parry; dparry@esf.edu
    Biological invasion, climate change, and conservation, primarily in the context of insects in forested ecosystems.
  • 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@esf.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
  • Michael L. Schummer; mlschumm@esf.edu
    Waterfowl Ecology, Waterfowl Management, Waterfowl Conservation, Wetlands Management, Wetlands Conservation, Ornithology, Plant-Animal Associations, Conservation Biology, Wildlife Ecology, Wetlands Ecology, Wildlife-habitat relationships, ecology, climate change, human dimensions of wildlife, avian toxicology
  • John C. Stella; stella@esf.edu
    riparian and stream ecology, restoration ecology, watershed management, ecological modeling, tree-ring science, river restoration, arid-land and Mediterranean ecosystems
  • 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
  • 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

EFB Graduate Study Links

Learn More


Current Graduate Students in Ecology


Current Students Only currently registered students appear — new names appear at start of academic year


Eaqan Chaudhry

eachaudh@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Downs


Stephanie Cunningham

Stephanie Cunningham

stcunnin@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Frair
Undergraduate Institution: Michigan State University

Previous Graduate Study: University of Missouri Columbia*

Personal Statement
My research interests are mainly population and quantitative ecology. For my Master's research, I studied behavior and demography of greater white-fronted geese in North America and western Europe.

Graduate Research Topic
Demography of fisher populations in northern New York. I am interested in spatial and temporal trends of abundance and vital rates.



Monica Edgerton

mcedgert@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s):


Namjoo Heo

Namjoo Heo

nheo01@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Fernando

Graduate Research Topic
Conservation genetic study of the endangered ferns



Susannah Howard

Susannah Howard

showard@syr.edu
EFB Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Kimmerer

Personal Statement
Bozho nikanek, Getsimnajeknwet ndeznekas. Bodewadmi kwe endow. Vermont ne dotchbya. Hello friends, my name is Susannah Howard, and I am a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. I am from Thetford, Vermont located on the western bank of the Connecticut River. In May 2019, I graduated from Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts) with a BA in Environmental Geosciences and certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies. At SUNY ESF, I continue to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to science through the lens of Indigneous peoples as a Sloan Scholar in the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. I am studying how the culturally important plants of the Potawatomi are and will be impacted by climate change, and how these impacts might be mitigated through intertribal collaborations among the Potawatomi Nations in the future.

Graduate Research Topic
Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (esp. Potawatomi & Anishnaabe_, Biocultural Restoration, Climate Change, Culturally Important Plants & Cultural Keystone Species



Christopher Johnston

cvjohnst@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Parry


Meredith Kane

Meredith Kane

mlkane@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Kimmerer
Undergraduate Institution: St Lawrence University (Biology)

Links
Web Link

Graduate Research Topic
Understory forest ecology in post-agricultural secondary forests in central New York.



Katherine Lawson

kanewcom@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Drew


Brittany Leyda

baleyda@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s):


Kapil Mandrekar

kmandrek@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Stewart
Undergraduate Institution: Albion College (Biology)

Previous Graduate Study: Arkansas State University of St Univ (Biology )



Carolyn Miller

cjmill04@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Downs


Teresa Rose Osborne

Teresa Rose Osborne

trosborn@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Rundell
Undergraduate Institution: Pomona College (Biology)

Graduate Research Topic
I study body size evolution in Pacific island land snails. I'm particularly interested in how phylogenetic history, abiotic pressures like microclimate and nutrient availability, and immigrant selection impact land snail body size. Comparing body sizes between snails of very different shapes has motivated me to develop new methods for measuring shell size. I am also interested in gastropod terrestrialization and land snail conservation. My undergraduate work at Pomona College (BA, Biology) examined estivation physiology and microhabitat use in southern California helminthoglypt land snails. I am a co-originator of the Not White Dudes Malacology Reading List (NWDMRL).

Lab Website
Web Link

Terrestrialization Talk
Web Link

Estivation Speed Talk
Web Link

NWD Malacology Reading List
Web Link



Carrick Palmer

Carrick Palmer

ctpalmer@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Ringler and Schulz
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Graduate Research Topic
I'm interested in examining the effects of the invasive macroalga Nitellopsis obtusa (starry stonewort) on the epiphytic community of New York lakes. This aquatic invasive species has recently been spreading in New York and across the Great Lakes Region in the US and Canada. It often forms dense monocultures by outcompeting and displacing native macrophyte species. Previous research has primarily focused on the distribution of starry stonewort, but little has explored its potential ecological impacts.



Alex Petzke

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


Laurel Schuster

lfschust@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s):


Laura Stark

lkstark@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Parry


Justine Weber

Justine Weber

juweber@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Leopold

Graduate Research Topic
Rare plant ecology and conservation: my dissertation focuses on the conservation of federally-listed Houghton's goldenrod (Oligoneuron houghtonii). I am also working with Dr. Sara Scanga (Utica College) to monitor population trends of globally rare Trollius laxus in upstate NY.

Twitter
@Justine_Weber



Benjamin West

bewest@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s):


Maxwell Wilder

Maxwell Wilder

mwilde01@syr.edu
Ecology
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Green

Graduate Research Topic
Environmental DNA (eDNA) as a tool to improve monitoring efforts for rare, invasive, and difficult to detect organisms in a variety of habitats. Current projects focus on river otter and muskellunge.