Associate Director of Research
- EFB 484/684 Winter Mammalian Ecology - This 3 credit course will emphasize the adaptations enhancing over winter survivorship of mammals in northern environments. Students will become familiar with concepts in mammalian ecology, activity patterns, population processes, habitat requirements and adaptations that enhance winter survivorship. Lectures and field exercises take place at the Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb, NY.
- EFB 498 - Research Problems in Environmental and Forest Biology (1-3 credits) Undergraduates in Biology or other natural resource fields conduct an independent research project. Students collect new or use existing data, organize and analyze the information, write a report, and present the information via a web site, poster, presentation, or other means. Project topics, duration and credit hours depend on a variety of factors and typically last 8-12 weeks during summer but can be arranged during the school year.
- Other courses at Adirondack Ecological Center
Research Interests and Educational Philosophy
My research interests are based in northeastern temperate ecosystems and include forest ecology, landscape ecology, and the study of social-ecological systems. 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, graduate and professional levels as well as help coordinate participatory environmental science programs at ESF's Newcomb Campus and Huntington Wildlife Forest, via the Northern Forest Institute and Adirondack Interpretive Center. 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; an example is "Integrating Science and Stewardship in the Adirondacks," a mentored research experience for underrepresented students in environmental biology and involving academic scholarship and career awareness (NSF UMEB program).
Current Graduate Advisees
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. Topics I have studied include: organizational governance, natural resource policy, decision-making networks, wildlife and forest science, phenology and spatio-temporal patterns of change.
Research and Applied Projects
- Recreation in public wildlands: the Ecological Scorecard Monitoring Project for the Adirondack Forest Preserve
- The Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Region and social-ecological systems
- Adirondack Long-Term Ecological Monitoring Program (ALTEMP) - seasonal/annual monitoring of:
- Terrestrial salamanders
- Vernal pool amphibian reproduction, hydroperiod and phenology
- Boreal bird population trends, distribution, and habitat association
- Breeding songbirds
- Waterfowl and Common Loon ecology, conservation and management
- Beaver activity
- White-tailed deer demographics, movement, migration, and social behavior
- Habitat inventory (floristics, structure and composition, and habitat components) and forest change
- Phenology (event timing)
- Tree seed production
- Population dynamics, forest ecology and predator-prey interactions of birds, mammals, amphibians and other taxa
- Impact to the forest from disturbance and nonnative invasives such as Beech Bark Disease
- Boreal bird ecology, management and conservation
- Adirondack All-Taxa Biological Inventory: Inventory and Monitoring of the Natural Resources of the Adirondack Park
State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY (2023); Doctor of Philosophy in Graduate Program in Environmental Science
State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY (1997); Master of Science in Environmental and Forest Biology
State University of New York at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY (1994); Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies
Selected Publications (* denotes student author)
McNulty, S., N. Karniski-Keglovits, C. L. Demers, M. J. Federice and C. T. Palmer*. 2022. Long-Term Observation of the Adirondack Ecosystem - Data from the SUNY ESF Newcomb Campus. Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 25(1):121-135. https://digitalworks.union.edu/ajes/vol25/iss1/16/
Schlesinger, M. D., L. J. Shappell, L. D. Nagel, S. A. McNulty and J. P. Gibbs. 2021. Determining the Importance of Vernal Pools across Geophysical and Urbanization Gradients. EPA Wetland Program Development Grant. Final Report. New York Natural Heritage Program, Albany, NY. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.34865.04961.
McNulty, S., M. Glennon, and C. Foss. 2021. Boreal Bird Ecology, Management and Conservation. Diversity 13:206.
Pachomski A.*, S. McNulty, C. Foss, J. Cohen and S. Farrell. 2021. Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) foraging habitat and prey availability in New England: implications for conservation of a declining boreal bird species. Diversity 13:99 https://doi.org/10.3390/d13020099.
Nagel, L. D.*; McNulty, S. A., Schlesinger, M. D. and Gibbs, J. P. 2021. Breeding Effort and Hydroperiod Indicate Habitat Quality of Small, Isolated Wetlands for Amphibians Under Climate Extremes. Wetlands 41:22. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13157-021-01404-x.
Morales, N., O’Connell, K., McNulty, S., Berkowitz, A., Bowser, G., Giamellaro, M. and Miriti, Maria. 2020. Promoting inclusion in ecological field experiences: Examining and overcoming barriers to a professional rite of passage. Ecological Society of American Bulletin. https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/bes2.1742
Beyond the Disease: Forest Diversity, Wildlife and The Enduring Role of American Beech. S. A. McNulty. Presented to New England Society of American Foresters and Univ. Maine, 2019 and 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHqmE2pxngg&feature=youtu.be
Robinson, C. J.*, S. A. McNulty and V. R. Titus. 2018. No safe space: prevalence and distribution of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in amphibians in a highly-protected landscape. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 13(2) :373–382.
Cale, J. A., S. A.McNulty. 2018. Not dead yet: Trees can survive nearly three decades in the aftermath phase of a deadly forest disease complex. Forest Ecology and Management 409: 372-377.
McNulty, S. A., D. White, M. Hufty and P. Foster. 2017. The Organization of Biological Field Stations at Fifty. Ecological Society Bulletin 98(4):240-373. DOI: 10.1002/bes2.1349
Beguin, S.J.*, K.E. Limburg, and S.A. McNulty. 2016. Protecting an Upper Hudson Heritage Lake: Assessing the Need for Fish Barrier Installation at Wolf Lake, Newcomb, NY. Section VI: 1-35 pp. In S.H. Fernald, D.J. Yozzo and H. Andreyko (eds.), Final Reports of the Tibor T. Polgar Fellowship Program, 2015. Hudson River Foundation.
Luepold, S.* B., T. Hodgman, S. McNulty, J. Cohen, and C. Foss. 2015. Habitat selection, nest survival and nest predators of Rusty Blackbirds in northern New England. The Condor: Ornithological Applications 117(4):609-623.
LaMere, C. R.*, S. A. McNulty and J. E. Hurst. 2013. 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.
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.
- Editor, Organization of Biological Field Stations (2022-present)
- Past-President (2020-2022)
- President (2018-20)
- Secretary (2014-18)
- Member-at-Large (2012-13)
- Chair, OBFS Human Diversity Committee (2010-13)
- Co-founder, Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (2006-present)
- Co-leader, Vernal Pool Working Group of Northeastern Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (2009-present)
- Member, ESF Council on Geospatial Modeling and Analysis (2004-present)
- Reviewer, National Science Foundation Field Stations and Marine Labs (FSML) programmatic planning and site review
- Board Member, Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (2019-2022)
- Board Member, Northern New York Audubon (2014-2019)
- Board Member, Adirondack Research Consortium (2009-15)
- Editor, Special Issue in Boreal Bird Ecology, Management and Conservation (2020)
- Associate Editor, Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies special avian issue (2015)
- Administrator for several e-mail listservers, including TWS-L (1998-2000)