Former graduate Students in the Creel Lab at MSU

Jassiel M'Soka (MS):  Wildlife Conservation Network Scholarship and NSF GRA.  Jassiel examined the demography and ecology of spotted hyenas in an ecosystem with very low density of their strong competitor the lion.  His field work was in Liuwa Plain National Park, where he was also involved in a study of the migratory wildebeest population.  Jassiel was co-supervised by Matt Becker of the Zambia Carnivore Programme, and was an ecologist for the Zambian Wildlife Authority prior to beginning his graduate work. He became a Senior Ecologist at the Zambia Department of National Parks and Wildlife after finishing his degree, where he focuses on large carnivore conservation.

Angela Brennan (PhD):  NSF GRA and Fulbright Fellow. Angela, co-advised by Dr. Paul Cross of USGS, examined the ecology and epidemiology of brucellosis in elk on Wyoming feedgrounds and the Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Her main project examined the factors that affect the size and spatial distribution of elk herds, and the relationship between these variables and changes in the seroprevalence of Brucella.  Angela went on to a postdoc at the USGS Rocky Mountain Science Center.

Paul Schuette (PhD):  Paul studied interactions between top carnivores (particularly lions), their competitors, their prey, humans and livestock, working on the Olkiramation and Shompole Maasai group ranches in Kenya.  A lot is known about the ecology of large African carnivores, but very little of this work has been conducted outside of centrally-protected National Parks. Paul's study area included regions with permanent human settlements and livestock, seasonal human use, a conservation area with limited human use, and a buffer zone.  He found that lions coexisted with people and attained high densities by adjusting their occupancy of the landscape in response to seasonal movements of people and livestock.  Most ungulates and large carnivores attained higher densities in the conservation area than with other land uses, but all species were found in all of the land uses.  Paul went on to do a postdoc with the Zambian Carnivore Programme, establishing a study of large-carnivore ungulate dynamics and conservation in Kafue National Park, and then became a professor at the University of Alaska

Tyler Coleman (PhD): Tyler, co-advised by Dr. Chuck Schwartz, evaluated the effectiveness of Yellowstone National Park's grizzly bear management policies, focusing on the closure or restriction of use in bear management areas.  His field work was with Kerry Gunther of Yellowstone National Park.  Tyler's analysis was based on an innovative approach that put GPS collars on grizzly bears and distributed logging GPS units to humans using the same area at the same time.  Among other things, he learned that people stroll by grizzly bears without knowing quite often, and the bears generally move away following such encounters, sometimes moving large distances. Tyler went on to a job with the National Park Service as a bear biologist in Yellowstone National Park.

Tyler Creech (MS):
Tyler co-advised by Dr. Paul Cross of USGS, used proximity collars that recorded contacts between individual elk to examine the ecology and epidemiology of brucellosis in elk on Wyoming feedgrounds and the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Specifically, he examined the effect of feedgrounds and different methods of distributing food on feedgrounds on elk contact rates.  His work showed that contact rates among elk that aggregate at feedgrounds are very high, and much higher than is observed in herds on native winter ranges.  This result parallels a result from Vicki Forristal, a former student on the project, who found that glucocorticoid stress hormone concentrations are substantially higher in feedground elk than on winter ranges.  Tyler went on to a PhD study with Clint Epps.

Leslie Frattaroli (MS): Leslie, co-advised by Dr. Chuck Schwartz, used downloadable GPS collars to visit foraging sites of black bears soon after their use, to assess recreation impacts on habitat use and to assess the affects of grizzly bear range expansion on black bears.  Her field work was with Steve Cain in Grand Teton National Park.

Dave Christianson (PhD):  Dave examined changes in elk foraging behavior in response to the presence of wolves, and the impacts of these changes on elk diets, nutrition, and demography. He went on to an EU Fellowship with Anne Loison's research group at the Universit√© de Savoie, to examine interactions between predation and resource limitation on chamois nutrition and population dynamics, and then to become a professor at the University of Arizona.

Tiffany Holland (MS):  Tiffany, co-advised by Dr. Marcel Huisjer of WTI, examed factors that contribute to vehicle collisions with deer on US 93,  testing for reductions after mitigation measures.

Cecily Costello (PhD): Cecily studied black bear social organization and space use as they relate to population genetics and patterns of relatedness, using data from two populations in NM. Wildlife Conservation Society/Hornocker Wildlife Institute grants.  Cecily went on to research with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team on the genetic structure of N. Rockies populations of grizzly bears and issues to do with ESA protections.

Stewart Liley (MS): Stewart used model selection methods to test the relative strength of predator, prey and environmental characteristics in predicting antipredator responses of elk to the presence of wolves.  Surprisingly little prior work has attempted to determine the relative importance of these three types of variables in determining the strength of antipredator responses.  Dangerous places?  The size or proximity of predator groups?  Characteristics of the prey group itself?  Answers are in his paper in Behavioral Ecology.  Stewart went on to a job as the head elk biologist for the state of New Mexico.

John Winnie (PhD):  John studied the effects of predation risk from wolves on elk behavior, grouping patterns and spatial distributions, producing wide ranging data that revealed strong responses by elk in almost every aspect of their behavior that we considered.   He went on to a postdoc with Wayne Getz and  Paul Cross, studying habitat selection by African buffalo, to work for WCS on the conservation of argali (Marco Polo sheep) in the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan, and to become an adjunct professor at MSU.

Aaron Wagner (PhD):
Aaron studied striped hyenas on the Laikipia Plateau of Kenya, including aspects of behavior, ecology, endocrinology and genetics.  He went on to a postdoc to continue his work on striped hyenas in Kenya, with Kay Holekamp at Michigan State University (thereby keeping his career wholly within institutions called MSU).

Julia Nelson (MS)
, who studied the impacts of coyotes on the use of space and stress physiology of endangered San Joaquin kit foxes, working with Dr. Brian Cypher.  She went on to do some world traveling, study languages and work in Belize for the Peace Corps.

Goran Spong (PhD),
who studied population genetics and social evolution in African lions (in the Selous Game Reserve).  Goran went on to a postdoc at Cambridge university with Dr. Tim Clutton Brock, studying meerkats, and then became a Professor at the University of Umea where he now is the head of a population genetics lab and director of the graduate program.

Jennifer Sands (MS),
who studied interactions between aggression, social status and glucocorticoid stress hormones in wolves (in Yellowstone National Park). Jennifer went on to become a secondary science teacher in Boulder.

Amanda Hardy (MS), who studied the impacts of winter recreation on elk and bison (in YNP).  Amanda went to a job as a wildlife ecologist for the Western Transportation Institute, and then a PhD at CSU.