Past lab members
Jennifer Helm, M.S. 2017
My research interests revolve around the use and development of quantitative tools to inform wildlife conservation and management decisions. I became interested in studying human-wildlife interaction while conducting fieldwork in Namibia, and this interest was reinforced during a field season spent studying seabird abundance and distribution around the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. I received my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Conservation Biology from Colby College. In the Lukacs lab, I am looking forward to collaborating with the National Park Service to study humpback whale and cruise ship dynamics in Glacier Bay National Park.
Sara H. Williams, Ph.D., 2016
I am interested mammalian ecology and conservation. My research efforts have focused on the use of modeling techniques to obtain quantitative ecological data and how this knowledge can inform conservation and management of wildlife populations. I am especially interested in the ways that mammals are affected by human actions and development, and how to mitigate harmful consequences of these interactions. I completed a master’s degree at the University of Vermont, during which I investigated the occurrence of meso-carnivores in forest fragments situated in an agricultural landscape. In the Lukacs lab, I am working on a research project funded by the National Park Service that examines humpback whale and cruise ship encounters in Glacier Bay National Park.
Rebecca McCaffery, Post-doctoral researcher
I am interested in developing and using tools in population ecology for the effective monitoring, management and conservation of plant and wildlife species. I completed my PhD in the Wildlife Biology program at the University of Montana in 2010, where I examined how montane Columbia spotted frog populations might be affected by changing and variable snowpack conditions now and into the future. I have worked on a diversity of projects and species, while maintaining a particular affinity for using population models to inform amphibian ecology, management, and conservation. In my current work, I am developing population estimation and demographic modeling methods for the Greater Sage-grouse across its range.
Anne L. Schaefer, M.S. 2014
My main research interests are in avian conservation and ecology. I am principally interested in studying species-habitat interactions and their effect on avian population dynamics in order to implement effective management practices. My research focused on studying the factors influencing the distribution and abundance of the Kittlitz’s murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) in Icy Bay, Alaska, specifically investigating the relationship between murrelet and ice floe distributions. This project is in collaboration with Michelle Kissling and the USFWS. Before attending UM, I obtained a B.Sc. in Organismal Biology and a B.A. in Spanish from South Dakota State University.
Margaret M. Riordan, M.S. 2013
I am very broadly interested in ecology, evolution, and conservation, specifically within the avian taxa. My graduate research focused on evaluating the origin of the observed male biased sex ratio in the mountain plover (Charadrius montanus) population. I concentrated on the early portion of the species life cycle, both the egg and chick stage, to evaluate possible factors contributing to variation in survival between males and females. This study will help provide a better understanding of when a biased sex ratio is arising and possibly why it is occurring in this population. Results will assist in directing management focus for conservation. This project was a collaboration with Dr. Victoria Dreitz and is funded by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.