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Members

Joanna Hatt

joanna.hatt@gmail.com
Lab Manager and Coordinator

Joanna Hatt

Education Background

B.S. Wildlife Biology, University of Vermont

M.S., University of Georgia

Research Focus

Influence of climate change on Black-throated Blue Warbler (Dendroica caerulescens) demography in the southern Appalachians

Project Summary

Generally, I am interested in declining populations and changing distributions of birds and determining optimal conservation strategies for these populations. More specifically, I am interested in understanding how changes in global climate might alter timing of emergence of larval insects and the response of bird communities to such changes. My research is conducted at sites distributed along an elevational gradient adjacent to the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, North Carolina. My research focuses on responses of Black-throated Blue Warblers to changes in insect populations using elevation as proxy for varying climatic conditions.

Additional Information

Funding for this research is provided by NASA and the Georgia Ornithological Society.

Publications

Cline, M.H. and J.L. Hatt. 2011. Idle lobster traps like Blue Jays. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123:181-183.

Mason Cline

clinem@warnell.uga.edu
PhD Student

Mason ClineEducation Background

B.S. Biology, University of New Hampshire

M.S. Wildlife Biology, University of Vermont

Ph.D. Student, University of Georgia

Curriculum Vitae

Research Focus

Forest Songbird Communities in Southern Appalachian Forests

Project Summary

My research is focused on the Black-throated Blue Warbler breeding ecology and population demography. I am interested in identifying factors that may explain why this species is declining throughout most of its southern range. Additionally, I am interested in Black-throated Blue Warbler movement, particularly as it relates to gene flow and immigration/emigration to and from different breeding areas. My research takes place at the Long Term Ecological Research site located at the Coweeta Experimental Forest in southwest North Carolina.

Additional Summary

Research is funded by NASA and Georgia Ornithological Society.

Publications

Cline, M.H. and J.L. Hatt. 2011. Idle lobster traps kill Blue Jays. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123:181-183.

Cline, M.H. 2010. Correlates and consequences of breeding dispersal in the Black-throated blue Warbler. M.S. thesis. University of Vermont.

Cline, M.H. 2009. Sightings: Alabama's first mangrove cuckoo. Birding Magazine 41:6, p30.

Anna Joy Lehmicke

Anna Joy Lehmicke

lehmickea@warnell.uga.edu
PhD Candidate

Education Background

B.S. Wildlife Conservation, University of Delaware

Ph.D. Student, University of Georgia

Research Focus

Seaside Sparrow Population Demographics on the Northern Gulf Coast

Project Summary

I am interested in examining the differences in population demographics and genetics between different subspecies of Seaside Sparrows. My primary study site is located on the Gulf Coast in Jackson County Mississippi. Additionally, I am interested in modeling the effect of sea level rise on Gulf Coast Seaside Sparrow populations. Although it was not part of my original research focus, the BP oil spill will influence the future directions of my research.

Additional Information

Research is funded by the USFWS through the Gulf Coast Joint Venture and by the Georgia Ornithological Society.

Abby Sterling

abby_sterling06@yahoo.com
M.S. Student

Abby Sterling

Education Background

B.S. Environmental Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

M.S. In progress UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research Focus

Predicting and Managing Nest Success of Beach Nesting Shorebirds

Project Summary

After spending five years living on a barrier island on the Georgia coast, I became interested in the dynamic ecosystems that surrounded me, which led to pursuing my master’s degree working with shorebirds.  I am examining how a variety of habitat characteristics impact the nesting and fledging success of two species, the American Oystercatcher and Wilson’s Plovers.  Both species have variable and low rates of reproductive success, and I am interested in determining if there are common factors that could be used to predict success for these birds and ultimately help guide management of beaches.  I’ll be working on three relatively undeveloped islands: Little St Simons, Little Cumberland and Cumberland Island.

 

Bryan Nuse

nuseb@warnell.uga.edu
PhD Candidate

Bryan Nuse

Education Background

B.S. Biology, University of Georgia

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Georgia

Research Focus

Distributional patterns of bird communities in large river floodplains in Georgia.

Bird and plant communities of tidal wetlands of the Altamaha River and estuary, and their vulnerability to sea level rise.

Project Summary

My research generally divides among two primary projects.  The first is an effort to understand the way in which bird and vegetation communities are distributed along and across major river-floodplain systems in the state of Georgia (this is not merely an arbitrary study extent, since many of the "kinds" of rivers in the southeast are represented here).  The data informing this effort were collected during an ecological survey project called the Georgia River Survey.  In particular, I'm interested in the relationship between local floodplain hydrology, vegetation, and birds.  I also want to gauge the degree to which concepts of river system organization (e.g., River Continuum, Flood Pulse) can be applied to floodplains in the southeast.

My second project is aimed at predicting changes to bird and vegetation communities due to sea level rise in the Altamaha River delta and estuary on the Georgia coast.  While much attention has been given to salt marsh ecosystems in this context, I believe that the complex arrangement of tidal wetland types near a river's mouth demands that the entire mosaic be considered.  Indeed, most of the area's bird diversity results from the close proximity of quite different habitats.  In the end, my research is connected by a strong interest in the relationship between birds and the plants that compose their habitat, and in the effects of hydrology on wetland bird species.

Additional Information

Research is funded by a NOAA NERRS Graduate Research Fellowship, and the Georgia Ornithological Society.

Alison Leggett

leggetta@warnell.uga.edu
M.S. Student

Ali Leggett

Education Background

B.S. Wildlife Science, Mississippi State University

Research Focus

Effects of landscape-level characteristics on marsh bid distribution and abundance in Mississippi tidal marshes

Project Summary

My general interests include the fields of landscape ecology, natural resource management, and conservation biology.  My research will focus primarily on the influence that landscape-scale characteristics have on the abundance and distribution of breeding marsh birds in coastal Mississippi, specifically within the boundary of the Department of Marine Resources’ Coastal Preserves Program.  Using the Standardized North American Marsh Bird Monitoring Protocol (Conway, 2009) and various geospatial techniques and applications, I will assess marsh bird use across the Preserves system and determine which landscape metrics best predict occupancy.  Ultimately, this information will be used to focus management efforts,  evaluate the effects of natural and anthropogenic alterations to the landscape, and provide a framework for future monitoring and research.

Scott Coleman

scottc@littlestsimonsisland.com
M.S. Student

Scott Coleman

Education Background

B.S. Wildlife, University of Georgia

M.S. Student, University of Georgia

Research Focus

Tidal salt marsh restoration at Little St. Simons, Georgia

Project Summary

I'm in the planning stages for a project. I anticipate working on a project involving tidal salt marsh restoration at Little St. Simons Island, Georgia, where I work as the island's ecological manager. The project will likely include work with marsh birds, marsh vegetation and fiddler crabs.

 

Patti Newell

pattijean.newell@gmail.com
PhD Candidate

Patti Newell

Education Background

B.A., University of New Brunswick

M.S., Louisiana State University

P.h.D. candidate, University of Georgia

Research Focus

Determining the cause of decline in the Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)

Project Summary

Rusty Blackbird populations have experienced steep population declines range-wide, the rate of which has accelerated since the 1970s (Greenberg and Droege 1999). It is estimated that Rusty Blackbirds have declined an average of 5.1% per year since 1968 with an 85-90% overall decline continent-wide (Niven et al. 2004). The reason for the decline remains elusive and it is still unknown in which life-cycle stage the birds are being most affected.  Rusty Blackbirds historically wintered in bottomland hardwood forests which have almost completely been eradicated in many areas of their range (King et al. 2005). Only 25-50% of the original pre-settlement area of bottomland hardwood forests of the southern United States still exist (King et al. 2005). The decline of the Rusty Blackbird could be related to this loss of winter wetland habitat (Avery 1995; Greenberg and Droege 1999). However, breeding ground habitat has also been affected over the recent past by forest management practices, acid precipitation and mercury contamination of forested wetlands. 

I am trying to tease out reasons for the decline of Rusty Blackbirds in the east throughout their life-cycle. On the wintering ground, which I think is the most likely stage for the cause of decline; I am researching several theories: Accipiter predation, pesticide poisoning, and diet composition change. To test these theories, I am collecting blood samples for diet stable isotope and plasma metabolite analyses, testing birds for toxins, and telemetering birds to examine the effects of predation. On the breeding ground, in co-operation with New Hampshire Audubon, we are intensively studying a population of Rusty Blackbirds in the Androscoggin Valley. We have banded and telemetered adult and nestling birds to investigate nest and fledgling success, fidelity and movement, and survivorship.  I am hoping that studying Rusty Blackbirds throughout their life-cycle will lead to revelations about the cause of their mysterious decline.

Additional Information

Funding is provided in large part by the USFWS, the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Georgia. Fieldwork has been funded by grants from the Georgia Ornithological Society, the Carolina Bird Club, and the Eastern Bird banding Association.

 

Seth Sofferin

sofferin@uga.edu
M.S. Student

Seth Sofferin

Education Background

B.S. Wildlife Science, University of Georgia

M.S. In progress, UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

Research Focus

Effects of prescribed fire scale on Nothern Bobwhite demographics in the Flatwoods of South Florida

Project Summary

I am interested in applied research, more specifically how different management activities influence demographics of Northern Bobwhites. My master's research is the early stages of a 5 year study to determine how fire scale, at a larger scale than previously studied, affects survival and productivity of Northern Bobwhites on the Babcock/Webb WMA in Charlotte County, Florida. I am also interested in how hydrology affects nesting habitat in the mesic flatwoods, the behavior of the birds during large prescribed burns, and what factors influence the male calling rate on the area.

This project is supported through funding provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.

Former Students

Clark Jones

PhD 2013

Research Topic: Landscape-level factors on avian populations at Ft. Benning, GA

Current: Post-doctoral associate, National Park Service

Joanna Hatt

MS 2013

Research Topic: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors that Influence Fledgling Survival of a Migratory Songbird

Current: Lab Manager of the Cooperlab

Sarah Brown

MS 2012

Research Topic: Bachman's Sparrow Response to Multiple Scales of Fire in longleaf flatwoods of Florida

Current: Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy

Cathy Ricketts

MS 2011 (under the direction of J. Hepinstall-Cymerman)

Research Topic: Multi-scale analyses of habitat selection and demographic consequences for South Carolina clapper rails (Rallus longirostris)

Ryan Malloy

MS

Research Topics: Influence of winter habitat quality and quantity on neotropical migratory bird populations. Home range size and habitat use of premontane rainforests by Long-tailed Manaskins (Chiroxiphia linearis).

Current: Ecological Solutions, Inc.

Position: Ecologist

Krishna Pacifica 

PhD 2011

Research Topic: Conservation and Management of Rare Species: The Development of Adaptive Models to Reduce Uncertainty Influencing Decision Making

Current: Postdoctoral research associate at NCSU Department of Biology

Brett Maley

MS 2011

Research Topic: Stable isotope anaylsis of nestling Black-throated Blue Warblers and adult foraging behavior

Current: Cambridge, MA

Kirk Stodola

PhD 2011

Research: Population ecology of a long-distance migratory songbird in a changing environment

Current: Post-doc under the direction of Mike Ward in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois

Jonathan Gray

MNR 2010

Research Topic: Loggerhead Shrike habitat use in agricultural and forest landscapes

Current: Environmental Educator, Jekyll Island 4-H

Kirsten Hazler

PhD 2009

Disseratation Topic: Landscape and local effects on avian habitat use and breeding success in bottomland hardwood forests of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Scott Rush

PhD 2009

Disseratation Topic: Factors influencing the distribution of Clapper Rails in Mississippi's tidal marshes

Current: University of Windsor

Nico Dauphiné

PhD 2008

Disseratation Topic:  Bird ecology, conservation, and community responses to logging in the northern Peruvian Amazon

Current: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/scbi/migratorybirds/research/fellowships/project-detail.cfm?id=303

Yok Yok Hadiprakarsa

M.S. 2008

Thesis Topic:  Forest patch occupancy by Sumatran Hornbills in a fragmented landscape of southern Sumatra, Indonesia

Nora Diggs

M.S. 2008

Thesis Topic: The role of food availability in the wintering ecology of Hermit thrushes (Catharus guttatus)

Rua Mordecai

PhD 2007

Dissertation Topic: Adaptive bird monitoring: from species to communities

Current: Southeastern Bird Monitoring Coordinator, The Fish and Wildlife Service

Natalie Hyslop

PhD 2007

Dissertation Topic: Home range, movements, and survival of the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) in Georgia

Brady Mattsson 

PhD 2006

Dissertation Topic: Louisiana Waterthrush Ecology and Conservation in the Georgia Piedmont

Current: USGS https://profile.usgs.gov/bmattsson/

Ashley (Sexton) Turner 

M.S. 2005

Thesis Topic: Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) spatial ecology in southern Georgia

Current: Wildlife Biologist, W.C. Bradley Farms, Inc.

Abi (Vitale) Convery 

M.S. 2005

Thesis Topic: The use of high-resolution multi-spectral satellite data in forest bird habitat modeling

Current: Regional Planner, New River Valley Planning District Commission

Jill Gannon

PhD 2005

Dissertation Topic: Importance of habitat characteristics at multiple scales on the reproductive success of neotropical migrants in a bottomland hardwood forest.

Current: University of Georgia

Stephanie (Hyder) Laseter 

M.S. 2002

Thesis Topic: The effects of alternative and conventional management systems in cotton agriculture on avian and arthropod populations in the upper Coastal Plain of Georgia. 

Current: http://www.asmallgreenfootprint.com/

Sandy Cederbaum 

M.S. 2002

Thesis Topic: The effects of alternative and conventional management systems in cotton agriculture on avian and arthropod populations in the upper Coastal Plain of Georgia. 

Current: http://www.asmallgreenfootprint.com/

Lars Pomara    

M.S. 2001

Thesis Topic: Mixed-species flocking ecology of passerine birds in a Neotropical premontane forest and in shade coffee fields

Current: PhD, The Univesity of Texas at Austin

Dorie (Wolf) Welch  

M.S. 2000

Thesis Topic: The effect of uneven-aged silviculture on the breeding ecology of the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) in a bottomland hardwood forest.

Current: Fish & Wildlife Project Manager, Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon

Al Williams

M.S. 2000

Thesis Topic: The effects of gypsy moth treatment applications of Bacillus thuringiensis on worm-eating warblers in middle Appalachia

Current: Data Manager, Shenandoah National Park, NPS

Carrie Straight

M.S. 2000

Thesis Topic: Effects of experimental prey reduction on foraging rates and behavior of insectivorous Nearctic-Neotropical migrant birds in the Appalachians

Current: PhD program, University of Georgia, Ecology Department

Matt Marshall    

PhD 2000

Dissertation Topic: The effects of naturally occurring and experimentally reduced prey abundance on the breeding ecology and territory dynamics of the red-eyed vireo

Current: Ecologist, National Park Service, Eastern Rivers and Mountains Network Coordinator, Penn State University

Larry Wood

M.S. 1999

Thesis Topic: Short-term effects of timber management on prothonotary warbler (Protonotaria citrea) breeding biology

Current: Owner, Wildlife Investigations, Georgetown, SC

Dina Roberts

M.S. 1998

Thesis Topic: Habitat use by army ants and ant-following birds in remontane forest and coffee agroecosystems in western Panama

Current: Ph.D. program, University of Idaho

Jen DeCecco

M.S. University of Memphis

Thesis Topic: Nest-site selection of three neotropical migratory birds in middle Appalachia

Current: National Park Service, Eastern Rivers and Mountains Network Coordinator, Penn State University

Steve Mullen

University of Memphis

Thesis Topic: The foraging ecology of the gray rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta spiloides) – visual stimuli facilitate location of arboreal prey

Current: Associate Professor, Biology Department, Eastern Illinois University

Randy Wilson

University of Memphis

Current: Regional Biologist, USFWS, Jackson, MS

Curt McCasland

Humboldt State University

Implications for the use of diflubenzuron to reduce arthropod populations inhabiting evaporation ponds of the San Joaquin Valley, California.

Current: Refuge Biologist, USFWS, Cabeza Prieta NWR, AZ

Jeff Dunk

M.S. Humboldt State University

Current: Lecturer, Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Science, Humboldt State University 

Buddy Fazio

M.S. Humboldt State University

Current: Coordinator Red Wolf Recovery Project 

Cynthia (Anderson) Verhey

Humboldt State University