My interests lie in the ecology, conservation, and management of rangeland systems. Although the term "rangeland" simply implies lands used for livestock grazing, these systems are anything but simple and contain a dizzying, if subtle, resource in terms of biodiversity. Most of my research to date has focused on balancing the needs of livestock and wildlife within the North American Great Plains.
Working on public and private lands, I'm keenly aware of the importance of finding realistic conservation and management solutions. These solutions need to be driven by scientific rigor, but must also be realistic from a management standpoint, and take into account the needs and cultural backgrounds of stakeholders.
My lab at Oklahoma State University applies techniques from landscape and community ecology to answer questions about rangeland wildlife that can help guide management on working landscapes. Past and current projects include habitat management for grassland and sagebrush birds, exploring trophic cascades following the removal of prairie dogs (a keystone species) by disease, feral horse impacts on rangeland quality, and prioritization of sagebrush restoration activities across the West.
The Rangeland Biodiversity lab is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I encourage all who are interested to apply – by some estimates 50% of the world’s terrestrial environments are rangelands, which are occupied and managed by individuals with tremendously diverse backgrounds. My lab is committed to training students to tackle the management issues that arise in rangelands worldwide, and those solutions require people with different backgrounds, interests, and insights.
For more information about past and ongoing projects please see the lab's research page. Opportunities for graduate students will be posted on this page, but in the interim interested individuals should email me expressing why you're interested in working with the lab, along with a CV.
I am currently seeking both MS and PhD students interested in pursuing one of the following topics:
1) Impacts of black-tailed prairie dogs on rangeland biodiversity and livestock forage
2) drivers of Great Plains bird diversity and patterns of decline
3) Livestock-wildlife conflicts.
I am also open to working with potential students to draft GRFPs (https://www.nsfgrfp.org/) focused on a broad range of topics rangeland ecosystems (especially patterns of animal movement and nomadism in rangelands).