Students

studentsLitt lab at the 2015 MT TWS meeting

 

 
 Adam, Ross, Andrea, Erin, and Dan - February 2013

Current Graduate Students

Nate Bowersock

Nate Bowersock

Nate will join us in the near future to continue work he has been doing to understand fine-scale foraging habits and habitat use of bears in Yellowstone National Park. He is using camera collars placed on bears to collect video footage, as well as GPS locations.  

Check out the amazing footage from these collars included this interactive coverage by National Geographic here.

Shannon and a bat

Shannon Hilty

Shannon joined the group in summer 2016 to begin a project examining the effects of large-scale forest disturbance (e.g., beetle kill, salvage logging) on roosting and foraging habitat for bats.  We are collaborating with MT Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and USFS, who also are funding the project, as well as with the BLM.

Mary Levandowski

Mary Levandowski 

Mary will join the lab in fall 2016.  She works closely with Dr. Andy Ray as part of the Greater Yellowstone Network (National Park Service) and she will continue in this position as she pursues her graduate degree. Her research will be focused on using novel monitoring techniques to understand dynamics of the species using wetlands.

Ben Turnock

Ben Turnock 

Ben joined the lab in summer 2014 and is investigating habitat relationships and genetic connectivity of hoary marmot populations in Montana. We are collaborating with MT Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, who also is funding the project. Ben is co-advised by Steven Kalinowski.  You can learn more about his work in this article from the Great Falls Tribune or this video from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks.

Ben has received the Don C. Quimby Graduate Wildlife Research Scholarship and the Wynn Freeman Award.

 

Michael in Antarctica

Michael joined the lab in fall 2015 and he is working to quantify demography of Merriam's turkeys in the northern Black Hills of South Dakota.  Biologists think that survival and reproduction of this species vary in different parts of the Black Hills, due to differences in precipitation.  Information from Michael's project will inform management and harvest regulations of this species.  

We are collaborating with Dr. Chad Lehman from SD Game, Fish, and Parks, who also is funding the project. 

 

Current Undergraduate Students

Niall Clancy

Niall Clancy

Niall is working on an independent study with me and Dr. Wyatt Cross understanding the role of amphibians in ecosystems.  You can read more about his project and about Niall here.

Thomas Sutton

Thomas Sutton

Thomas has been working on an independent research project during summer 2016, working with Michael Yarnall to understand habitat characteristics important for nest success in Merriam's turkeys in the northern Black Hills, SD.  His work is supported by a research grant from the Undergraduate Scholars Program at MSU.

 

Past Graduate Students

Dan

Dan Bachen 

Dan focused on understanding the mechanisms that alter abundance of small mammals in ecosystems dominated by nonnative plants. We partnered with MT Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to complete this work.

Dan has been honored with awards from MSU, MT chapter of The Wildlife Society, and the MT Institute on Ecosystems. Dan also was named Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of Ecology and received a Best Poster award from the MT chapter of The Wildlife Society. Dan defended his thesis in May 2014 and worked for the MT Natural Heritage Program and MT Institute on Ecosystems.  He currently is the Senior Zoologist for the MT Natural Heritage Program.

Brian

Brian Bielfelt 

Brian investigated the effects of tanglehead on the bird community in grasslands. This is an interesting question because tanglehead is native to the United States, but in recent years it has begun to behave like an invasive species in parts of south Texas, increasing in distribution and dominance.

Brian has received student awards from Cooper Ornithological Society and the American Ornithologist's Union, and a scholarship from the Houston Safari Club. He defended his thesis in November 2012 and is working as a wildlife biologist in California.

Erin

Erin Cord

Erin's research focused on understanding how insect communities in areas dominated by native grasses differ from areas dominated by invasive grasses. She examined potential changes due to dominance by Kleberg bluestem, a nonnative invasive grass, and tanglehead, a native invasive grass.

Erin was named the 2011 Outstanding Student for the College of Agriculture at TX A&M-Kingsville; she also won 2 awards for her oral presentations. Erin successfully defended her thesis in June 2011, ran the Wildlife Austin program, and works as a Natural Resource Biologist for Travis County, TX

grad student

Ross Hinderer

Ross focused on understanding how Chiricahua leopard frogs use desert landscapes. We partnered with Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF) to understand the movement of these threatened frogs in areas where water is a scare resource, to try to inform restoration and management of water sources on the Ladder Ranch in New Mexico. TESF provided funding for Ross' his work.  Ross successfully defended his thesis in June 2015.

You can read more about TESF's work on Chiricahua leopard frogs on their website

Erin

Erin Kenison

Erin investigated whether we could add habitat complexity to montane lakes to provide refugia for long-toed salamanders from populations of stocked fish. Her work was supported in part by MT Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Erin received awards from MSU, MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks, CounterAssault, and the MT Institute on Ecosystems. She also received presentation awards from the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society and the MT chapter of The Wildlife Society, as well as the Wynn Freeman Award. Erin defended her thesis in April 2014. She is now pursuing her PhD working on hellbenders at Purdue.

Adam

Adam Mitchell

Adam investigated the effectiveness of various soil modification treatments as tools to restore grasslands that have been invaded by Old World bluestem grasses in Texas. He examined plant and arthropod communities to assess treatment effects.

Adam was supported by a Welder Wildlife Foundation Fellowship, as well as funding from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He also received a grant from the Montana Institute on Ecosystems. Adam defended his thesis in June 2014 and is working on his PhD at University of Delaware. 

Mark

Mark Witecha 

Mark focused on examining the effects of high-intensity wildfire on small mammal communities at the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in southern Texas. A large wildfire burned much of the WMA in March 2008 and Mark quantified post-fire recovery. 

Mark received a scholarship from the Houston Safari Club. Mark successfully defended his thesis in October 2011. He previously worked for Pheasants Forever in Kansas and is currently the Upland Wildlife Ecologist and Farm Bill Specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Past Undergraduate Students

Noah

Noah Bosworth 

Noah worked with Dan Bachen to develop a key to Montana shrews based on characteristics of dorsal hairs. Similar tools have been developed in the UK. Noah was able to distinguish some of the shrew species in Montana based on hair morphology. Based in this information, hair snares could be used as a low-cost method to sample the distribution of some species of shrews in Montana.

His work was supported by a research grant from the Undergraduate Scholars Program at MSU.

Bryan

Bryan Cossairt 

Bryan worked on a collaborative project with the National Park Service and US Geological Service to better understand the factors affecting vulnerability of freshwater wetlands and associated species in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

Bryan's work was funded through the Montana Institute on Ecosystems.

Jayme

Jayme Feyhl-Buska 

Jayme built a database of previous research regarding herbivory and climate change and the effects on plant and animal communities, mainly focused on the High Plains region of Montana.

Jayme's work was funded through the Montana Institute on Ecosystems.

Colter Mumford

Colter Mumford

Colter helped us with a research project examining strategies to improve brooding habitat for sage grouse, where we're focused on understanding changes in the arthropod community.  

Adam in the field

Adam Starecheski 

Adam joined the lab after working as a summer field assistant on Ben Turnock's marmot project. Adam worked on an independent research project focused on better understanding the relationship between water sources and occupancy by hoary marmots. He completed this work and graduated in December 2015. 

Adam's work was funded by the Undergraduate Scholars Program at MSU.

Cheyenne Stirling

Cheyenne Stirling

Cheyenne worked in Glacier National Park, in collaboration with Wildlife Biologist Lisa Bate.  Cheyenne surveyed for bats in human structures in the park, to assess the potential for these areas to be used as roost sites. Information from her work will inform park biologists about areas that are high priority for restoration and protection.  

Cheyenne was awarded a Jerry O’Neal National Park Service Student Fellowship to support this work.  MSU wrote an article about Cheyenne's work and the Fellowship, which you can read by clicking here.  Cheyenne graduated in December 2015.