Population Ecology Laboratory Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation




Manuela Ferrari Marta Prat
Martial Kiki Dana Karelus
Vratika Chaudhary Madelon van de Kerk

Arjun Srivathsa

Thomas Selby
Elise Morton Nasra Ashraf
Madan Oli Varun Goswami
  Oscar Murillo
  Lizzie Troyer

Binab Karmacharya

Virginie Rolland

Gail Morris
Sahar Jalal

Jeff Hostetler

Eva Kneip
  Natalie Hyslop

Kristen Aaltonen


Jeremy Dixon


Saif Nomani


Aditya Singh


Justyn Stahl


Elina Garrison


Melissa Moyer


Arpat Ozgul



Madan Oli

Hometown: Jhapa, Nepal


Previous Education:
1999. PhD, Auburn University
1992. MPhil, University of Edinburgh, UK
1986. MSc, Tribhuvan University, Nepal


Research Interests: Population ecology, theory and application of matrix population models, conservation and management of wildlife populations

Personal Website: http://www.wec.ufl.edu/faculty/olim/

E-mail: olim@ufl.edu


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Manuela Ferrari (Post-doctoral Research Scholar, 2018)

Hometown: Chur, Switzerland


Previous Education:

PhD in Evolutionary Biology, University of Zurich
MSc in Animal behaviour, University of Zurich
BSc in Biology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Research Interests: Evolution of social behaviours; fitness consequences of life history strategies; direct, indirect and inclusive fitnessCarnivore ecology, Population ecology and dynamics, human-wildlife interactions

Email: m.ferrari@ufl.edu




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Martial Kiki (PhD student, 2017)


Hometown: Porto-Novo, Benin Republic


Previous Education:

Post-Graduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK

M.ScMSc in Biodiversity Conservation, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic

BSc Engineer in Environmental Conservation, Department of Environment Polytechnic School, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic

Research Interests:

Carnivore ecology, wildlife conservation, human-wildlife interactions and protected area management

Email: mkiki@ufl.edu

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Vratika Chaudhary (PhD student, 2016)


Hometown: Gwaliar, India


Previous Education:

B.D.S, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, India

M.S. (Biological Sciences): Clemson, University, Bangalore, India

Research Interests : Carnivore population ecology and conservation, human- wildlife interactions, ecology of wildlife diseases

Email: chaudharyv@ufl.edu


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Elise Morton (PhD student, 2016)



Hometown: Morgantown, West Virginia


Previous Education:

BS in Animal & Veterinary Science, West Virginia University
PhD in Microbiology & Genetics, Indiana University


Research Interests: Avian population and community ecology; ecology and conservation of birds in a montane rainforest, Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

Email: elisemorton@ufl.edu


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Arjun Srivathsa (PhD student, 2015)


Hometown: Bangalore, India


Previous Education:

BSc in Chemistry, Botany and Zoology, Christ University, Bangalore, India
MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India

Research Interests: Carnivore ecology, Population Ecology and Dynamics, Human-Wildlife interactions and Science Communication

Email: asrivathsa@ufl.edu


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Marta Prat (MS, 2018)

Hometown: Manlleu, Spain


Previous Education:

BSc in Biology, and MSc in Terrestrial Ecology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Research Interests: Carnivore ecology, Population ecology and dynamics, human-wildlife interactions

Email: mprat@ufl.edu





Dana Karelus (PhD, 2017)

Hometown: Safety Harbor, Florida


Previous Education:

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of South Florida


Research Interests: Ecological modeling, carnivore ecology and conservation

Research: Black bear movements, space and habitat use patterns in a newly colonized habitat


Email: dkarelus@ufl.edu



Madelon van de Kerk (PhD, 2016)




Hometown: Utrecht, the Netherlands


Previous Education:

BS in Biology, Utrecht University

MSc in Animal Ecology and Conservation, Radboud University Nijmegen

Research Interests: Population and Community Ecology, Ecological Modeling, Carnivore Conservation


Research: Population Ecology and Conservation of Florida Panthers


Email: m.vandekerk@ufl.edu

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Thomas Selby (MS, 2016)


Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin


Previous Education:

BS double major in Environmental Science and International Relations, Tufts University, Boston MA

Research: Ecology and conservation of sea turtles

Email: tselby@ufl.edu










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Nasra Ashraf (Ph.D., 2015 (visiting student))


Hometown: Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Previous Education: M.Phil in Wildlife Management,
PMAS Arid Agriculture University,
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Research Interests: Ecology and conservation of ungulates

Research:Ecology of Grey Goral (Naemorhedus goral)

Email: nasraschraf@ufl.edu










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Varun Goswami (PhD, 2014)

Hometown: Shillong, India


Previous Education:
2003. BS in Zoology, University of Delhi, India
2006. MS in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India


Research: The increasing interface between humans and endangered mammalian species is one of the primary drivers of population decline in the latter. My research interests are to investigate the dynamics of such ‘human-animal systems’ so as to inform and aid large mammal conservation efforts in the densely populated tropics.

Research Interests: Modeling the dynamics, distribution and persistence of animal populations, particularly in the light of conservation of large mammalian fauna.


E-mail: vgoswami@ufl.edu


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Lizzie Troyer (MS, 2013)


Hometown: Earlysville, VA

Previous Education: BA in Biological Sciences and Linguistics, Cornell University

Research Interests:Ecology, conservation, and natural history of carnivores

Research: Population ecology of meso-carnivores

Email: e.m.troyer@ufl.edu










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Oscar Murillo (PhD, 2014)


Hometown: Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

Previous Education:

1997. BS in Biology-Zoology, Universidad del Valle, Colombia.
2004. MSc in Biological Sciences, Universidad del Valle.

Research: Population ecology of Peregrine falcons

Research Interests: Ecological modeling, population and community ecology, conservation biology, vertebrate ecology and conservation.

Email: omurillo@ufl.edu






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Binab Karmacharya (MS, 2011)


Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Previous Education: Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Research Interests: Population ecology of southern flying squirrels

Email: binabk@ufl.edu







Sahar Jalal (MS,, 2011)

Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan

Previous Education: BS, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore

Research Interests: Ecology and Conservation of river dolphins

E-mail: sjalal@ufl.edu



Gail Morris (MS, 2010)

Hometown: Williamsport, PA


Previous Education:
2004. BS in Biology, Muhlenberg College, Pennsylvania


Research: Effects of Supplemental Feeding, Predator Exclusion, and Prescribed Fire on Small Mammal Populations in a Longleaf Pine Ecosystem

Mesomammalian predator removal, supplemental feeding, and prescribed fire are common management techniques for bobwhite quail. This project seeks to experimentally examine the effects of these practices on small mammal populations in a longleaf pine ecosystem.


Research Interests: Wildlife ecology and conservation


E-mail: gailmorris@ufl.edu


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 Virginie Rolland (Post-doctoral Associate)

Hometown: Lyon, France


Previous Education:
2008. PhD in Population Ecology, Université Paris, France
2005. MS in Ecology, Université Lyon1, France & University of Leicester , England , UK


Research Interests: Demography, population dynamics, population ecology, conservation, climate change, anthropologic threats, life history traits

The Northern Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus) is an economically important game bird species that is currently undergoing drastic population declines throughout its range in the southeast United States of America. Therefore, there is a critical need to estimate demographic parameters of survival and reproduction and to identify which parameter and which factor (habitat fragmentation, extreme weather events, mammalian and avian predation and hunting pressure) cause these declines. My aims are to estimate cause-specific mortalities in a northern bobwhite population located in South Florida , to construct a population model which would include the relationships between parameters and environmental factors in order to determine how the population growth rate could be reversed. This will help to make recommendations management in terms of parameter to improve and external factors on which to act.


PhD Research : Albatross Population Dynamics

E-mail: vrolland@ufl.edu


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Jeff Hostetler (PhD, 2010)

Hometown: Derwood, Maryland


Previous Education:
1996. BA in Biology, Oberlin College, Ohio
2004. MS in Zoology, North Carolina State University


Research: Population Viability Analysis for the Florida Panther

The Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) is a critical endangered subspecies of cougar that is current restricted to southern Florida. A scientific review team has recommended a rigorous analysis of data to estimate demographic parameters and a detailed demographic analysis to estimate growth and extinction parameters for the panther population. The goals of my project are: to estimate the survival and reproductive rates of the Florida panther, to evaluate how these rates are affected by various factors, to assess the viability of the population of Florida panthers, and to make recommendations for management and future research to increase the viability of the panther population.


Research Interests: Ecological modeling, population ecology, adaptive management, computational ecology, dynamic programming, survival analysis


E-mail: hostetle@ufl.edu


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Eva Kneip (MS student, 2008)

copyright K. Svadlenak-Gomez Hometown: Mohacs, Hungary


Previous Education:
1996. BA in Management Information Systems (concentration Computer Science), University of Wisconsin Oshkosh


Research Interests: Mammalian population ecology, population modeling, predation, conservation of mammalian predators, feline ecology


E-mail: ekneip@ufl.edu

Image copyright K. Svadlenak-Gomez.


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Natalie L. Hyslop (Post-doctoral Associate)

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia


Previous Education: 2007. PhD in Wildlife Ecology, University of Georgia
2001. MS in Biology, Purdue University, Indiana

Research: Population ecology of Drymarchon couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake) in Georgia
The Eastern Indigo Snake, federally listed as threatened since 1978, has been the focus of recent research and conservation efforts across its range in the southeastern United States. In the coastal plain of Georgia and northern Florida, the species is associated primarily with longleaf pine and wiregrass upland communities that support Gopher Tortoises, especially in the fall-winter breeding season. These forests have experienced precipitous declines, with less than 3% of this once-dominant upland habitat remaining. Despite the conservation importance, little is known regarding Indigo Snake population ecology. Therefore, we are using 11 years of mark-recapture records from southeastern Georgia to estimate demographic parameters, factors influencing these parameters, and sensitivities of population growth rates to demographic rates. In addition to informing conservation and management decisions, the relatively intact area used for this study may represent a fairly ideal situation for the species and our results may be particularly valuable for comparison with other populations and restoration efforts.


Research Interests: Resource use of wildlife populations, population ecology, population dynamics, wildlife conservation and management, southeastern United States herpetofauna


PhD Research: Eastern Indigo Snake survival, movements, and habitat use


Personal Website: http://nlhyslop.googlepages.com/nataliehyslop

E-mail: nhyslop@ufl.edu


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Kristen Aaltonen (MS student, 2006)

Hometown: West Lafayette, Indiana


Previous Education:
2005. BS in Biology, Butler University , Indianapolis , Indiana

Research: Dynamics and Persistence of the Endangered Vancouver Island Marmot Population

The Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis) population has undergone a drastic decline over the past three decades leaving the species on the brink of extinction with less than 50 individuals in the wild in 2003. The population has been the focus of population counts starting in 1972, mark-resighting since 1980 (extensively since 1987), and most recently, radio-telemetry since 1992. Results from radio-telemetry indicate that predation is the main source of mortality and the proximate cause of the population decline. The first goal of my research is to model survival using both data types simultaneously in order to provide more precise estimates and also to test hypotheses made possible by the increased sample size. My research will also include development of matrix models to estimate population growth and to perform perturbation analyses. With increased understanding of the population dynamics of the Vancouver Island marmot, hopefully we can make suggestions for management of the species, including optimizing strategies for release of captive-bred marmots.

Research Interests: Population dynamics

E-mail: aaltonen@ufl.edu


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Jeremy Dixon (MS, 2001-2004)

Hometown: Lake City, Florida

Current position: Biological Scientist III, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Previous Education:
BS in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida

Research:Conservation genetics of the Florida black bear populations    (full text)

Research Interests: Population genetics, landscape ecology

E-mail: jeremy.dixon@myfwc.com

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Aditya Singh (MS student, 2006)

Hometown: Rajasthan , India


Previous Education:
2000. B. Arch, Madhav Institute of Technology and Science, Gwalior , Madhya Pradesh , India
2002. Post-graduate Diploma (Planning), Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad, Gujarat , India
2004.Post-graduate Diploma (Geoinformatics), Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) NRSA-DoS, Dehradun, Uttaranchal , India

Research: Space Use and Habitat and Nest Site Selection by Northern Bobwhites in South Florida


Research Interests: Spatially explicit population models

E-mail: aditya01@ufl.edu


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Elina Garrison (MS, 2001-2004)

Hometown: Revonlahti, Finland

Current Position: Biological Scientist III, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Previous Education:
BS in Wildlife Ecology, minor in Zoology, Department of Wildlife and Conservation, University of Florida

Research: Reproductive ecology, cub survival and denning ecology of Florida black bears   (full text)

Research Interests: Carnivore conservation, anthropogenic effects on large carnivores

E-mail: garrisone@wec.ufl.edu


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Melissa Moyer (MS, 2002-2004)

Hometown: Gainesville, Florida

Current Position: Veterinary student at UF College of Veterinary Medicine


Previous Education:
BS in Biology, Yale University

Research: Habitat use and spatial pattern of black bears in the Ocala National Forest

Research Interests: Behavioral landscape ecology, habitat analysis, GIS, wildlife diseases


E-mail: moyerm@ufl.edu


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Justyn Stahl (MS student, 2003-2006)

Hometown: Alton, Illinois

Previous Education:
2002. BS in Biology, University of Miami, Florida

ResearchCooperative breeding in acorn woodpeckers and its population dynamic consequences


I am interested in the effect of behavior on population dynamics. An interesting behavior seen in roughly 3% of avian species is cooperative breeding, in which some individuals give up the opportunity to breed on their own and instead aid in raising the offspring of other individuals. Acorn woodpeckers in the central coastal region of California practice cooperative breeding. Some offspring delay dispersal and remain for a year or more to aid their parents around the nest. I am interested in how this behavior affects population dynamics, especially how delayed dispersal affects the individual fitness of offspring. This work is done in collaboration with Walt Koenig at Hastings Natural History Reserve in Carmel Valley, California.

Research Interests: Behavioral and population ecology, breeding systems, life history variation, matrix population modeling

E-mail: stahlj@wec.ufl.edu

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Saif Nomani (Research biologist 2007; MS student, 2005-2007)

Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan


Previous Education:
2002. BS in Computer Science, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

ResearchComparison of abundance estimation methods for gopher tortoises


The estimation of the abundance of threatened and endangered species is crucial to our ability to monitor their population status and recovery progress. However, for many species, there is a wide variety of abundance estimation methods available and our knowledge of the accuracy of these methods is incomplete. My work involves analyzing the accuracy and cost effectiveness of different population estimation methods such as line transect distance sampling, double observer sample count and total counts for populations of gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). A crucial step in gopher tortoise population estimation is the conversion of burrow count estimates to tortoise count estimates. In surveys to determine burrow occupancy, the most common method used is the burrow camera. I am interested in determining occupancy levels of gopher tortoise burrows to obtain an estimate of gopher tortoise populations using burrow cameras and the mark-recapture method.


Research Interests: Wildlife ecology, population ecology

E-mail: saifnomani@yahoo.com


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Arpat Ozgul (Postdoctoral associate, 2006-2007; PhD, 2001-2006)

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey


Previous Education:
2006. PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville
2001. MS in Environmental Sciences, Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey
1999. BA in Management, Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey

ResearchMetapopulation dynamics of yellow-bellied marmots


Spatial heterogeneity is one of the most common features of natural populations, and it can also be an important factor influencing population dynamics. Although there has been a considerable amount of theoretical investigation in spatial population dynamics, very few were empirically tested. My research addresses a variety of questions on the yellow-bellied marmot metapopulation dynamics and spatially-expilicit population models in general. The yellow-bellied marmot population in Gothic, Colorado is distributed into distinct colonies that partially interact via dispersal, hence it provides an adequate patchy distribution for studying spatiotemporal patterns in population dynamics. My work involves analyzing the long-term data set, and testing predictions of different spatially explicit metapoplation models. I am particularly interested in the relative effects of within-patch and among-patch factors on regional dynamics. Ultimately, these results will provide a better understanding of the yellow-bellied marmot population dynamics, and the predictive powers of spatially-explicit demographic models.


Research Interests: Population ecology, population modelling, metapopulations, mark-recapture analysis


Personal Website: http://www.bio-demography.org/arpatoz/

E-mail: arpatoz@gmail.com

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