Academic Personnel

Post-doctoral Fellows

Scott Nelson (Chris Ribic) (co-mentored by B. Zuckerberg). Scott will be working on climate change adaptation strategies for grassland birds in the Central Flyway. This work is in collaboration with USFWS Habitat and Evaluation team in Bismarck, ND. The purpose of the project is to conduct a comprehensive synthesis of scientific information on how climate change is interacting with other drivers of change (e.g., land management practices) to affect grassland habitats and grassland-dependent migratory birds within the Central Flyway. 

Laura Nunes (Chris Ribic) (co-mentored by B. Zuckerberg). Laura will be working on estimating Wisconsin’s grassland bird populations as well as population estimates for the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Joint Venture region.

Ellen Brandell (Wendy Turner). Ellen is researching the effects of harvest on chronic wasting disease dynamics in white-tailed deer in the midwestern US. The goal of this project is to leverage historical information maintained by state agencies to evaluate impacts of CWD management activities on population and disease dynamics, and to establish a framework that will improve coordination and information exchange. This framework will serve as the basis for the creation of an adaptive management strategy for CWD mitigation among Midwestern, state and federal, wildlife management agencies.

Marie Gilbertson (Wendy Turner). Marie is studying deer movement ecology and chronic wasting disease transmission in south-west Wisconsin. Her project will investigate the impact of CWD infection on deer movement behavior, and the reverse, the impact of deer movement behaviors and contacts on CWD spread. Outcomes will include a better understanding of deer ecology, demography and population dynamics as relates to CWD transmission. 

Kristyna Rysava (Wendy Turner). Isty is characterising the evolutionary context of anthrax virulence emergence from the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group in dynamical environments, as part of a project investigating ecological and evolutionary drivers of anthrax outbreak variability among ecosystems.

Academic Staff

Alison Ketz (Chris Ribic/Wendy Turner) (Assistant Scientist). Alison is working in collaboration with the WDNR and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center to understand deer population dynamics in the CWD-endemic region of southwestern Wisconsin. 

Albert Beck (Chris Ribic) (Research Specialist). Albert is working in collaboration with the US Forest Service (Rhinelander, WI) to archive long-term datasets from USFS natural research areas and experimental forests.  The purpose of the project is to document previously collected data and make it available to the public as part of the USFS Research Data Archive.

Erica Diehl (Chris Ribic) (Research Specialist). Erica is working in collaboration with the US Forest Service archive long-term datasets from USFS natural research areas and experimental forests. The purpose of the project is to document previously collected data and make it available to the public as part of the USFS Research Data Archive.

Graduate Students

Jacy Bernath-Plasted (Chris Ribic) (Ph.D., Wildlife, co-advised by B. Zuckerberg). Jacy will be working on a project to quantify microclimates within grassland patches and evaluate their importance on the nesting biology of grassland birds.

Yen-Hua Huang (Wendy Turner) (Ph.D., Wildlife). Yen-Hua is studying how environmental variability, animal movement ecology and foraging behavior affect anthrax dynamics in herbivorous wildlife in southern Africa.

Zoe Barandongo (Wendy Turner) (Ph.D., Wildlife). Zoe is studying microbiological, molecular and genetic factors that may affect the persistence, infectivity and virulence of Bacillus anthracis strains in southern Africa, with a focus on bacteriophages in soils and bacterial genomes.

Amélie Dolfi (Wendy Turner) (Ph.D., Wildlife). Amélie is developing models of anthrax transmission dynamics. She uses agent-based models to investigate the interactions of Bacillus anthracis with its herbivorous hosts comparing two ecosystems in southern Africa that vary in outbreak dynamics.

Kimberlie Vera (Wendy Turner) (Ph.D., Wildlife). Kimberlie is investigating anthrax transmission dynamics in a guild of herbivorous mammals, using camera trapping and quantitative ecology methods to investigate how seasonal changes in host density affect anthrax transmission dynamics comparing two ecosystems in southern Africa.

Heather Inzalaco (Wendy Turner) (Ph.D., Comparative Biomedical Sciences). Heather is studying the indirect transmission pathway for chronic wasting disease, looking at prion accumulation in soils at carcass sites, supplemental feeding/bait sites, natural areas of deer aggregation and in ticks.

Samantha Hoff (Wendy Turner) (Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University at Albany, co-advised by Ing-Nang Wang). Samantha is studying the ecology of the northern long-eared bats, a species experiencing drastic population declines due to the fungal disease white-nose syndrome. She is investigating mechanisms supporting persistence of coastal populations despite infection, including factors influencing occupancy, hibernation behavior, and population genetics. 

Matt Hunsaker (Wendy Turner) (M.S., Wildlife). Matt is investigating how movement patterns, activity patterns, and mate search strategies of male white-tailed deer change over the breeding season, and how these are affected by the timing of hunting season.

Casey Pendergast (Wendy Turner) (M.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University at Albany, co-advised by Ing-Nang Wang). Casey is studying foraging activity and diet of coastal Northern long eared bat populations during the hibernation period. 

Sunday Ochai (Wendy Turner) (M.S., Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, co-advised by Henriette van Heerden). Sunday is studying host immunity against Bacillus anthracis across ecosystems and gradients of anthrax incidence in southern Africa, and how haemoparasite coinfections affect host immune response.

Hendrina Joel (Wendy Turner) (M.S., Biology, University of Namibia, co-advised by John Mfune). Hendrina is studying the effect of large body size on anthrax transmission dynamics. She is examining how large carcasses alter the environment, Bacillus anthracis spore concentrations in soil, and animal behavioral contacts with carcass remains.

Kamini Govender (Wendy Turner) (M.S., Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, co-advised by Henriette van Heerden). Kamini is studying Bacillus anthracis spore persistence among pathogen strains and in different soil types from Kruger and Etosha National Parks in southern Africa.

Prudent Mokgokong (Wendy Turner) (M.S., Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, co-advised by Henriette van Heerden). Prudent is conducting whole genome analysis of virulence factors in isolates of Bacillus anthracis from Kruger National Park, South Africa.