Jerrold L. Belant
Camp Fire Conservation Fund Professor
Jerry is the first Camp Fire Professor of Wildlife Conservation and Director of the Program. He has served as a member of Council for the International Association for Bear Research and Management and Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Small Carnivore Specialist Group. Jerry is currently Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the journal Ursus. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and his Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research interests include wildlife resource use, monitoring and population estimation, human-wildlife interactions, and international conservation.
Jenell de la Pena
Jenell is from northern California and is currently living in Kodiak, Alaska. Jenell received her B.S. degree in Biology from San Diego State University. After moving to Alaska in 2012 she worked for 3 years with the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association investigating sockeye salmon. She then began an internship with the Wildlife Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). She continues her work in Alaska in collaboration with ADFG studying Roosevelt elk and brown bear on Afognak Island, part of the Kodiak Archipelago. Her research interests include carnivore ecology and conservation, resource selection, and animal space use. Jenell enjoys hiking, camping, and hunting when Kodiak weather permits.
Graduate Research Assistant
Shannon is from Sligo, Ireland and has joined the program for her Ph.D. project researching brown bear and elk habitat use in relation to timber management on Afognak Island, Alaska. Shannon completed her Master’s degree at Nottingham Trent University in 2017, where she conducted research on how environmental factors and interspecific interactions affect carnivore coexistence in the Brazilian Pantanal. Before this Shannon obtained a B.Sc Honours degree in Zoology from Liverpool; John Moores University, where she conducted research on a jaguar population in central Brazil. Shannon has been a member of the Jaguar Conservation Fund for a number of years where she assisted with long term monitoring projects in two biomes of Brazil; additionally she has worked with a tiger conflict mitigation project in India and assisted with research on a large carnivore project in South Africa. Her research interests include large carnivore ecology, conflict mitigation and conservation, while in her spare time she enjoys sports and the outdoors.
Graduate Research Assistant
Nick is currently a Ph.D. student working on the Michigan Predator Prey Project. He received his B.S. from the University of Missouri writing his undergraduate thesis on elevational space use of black bears in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks while employed by the National Park Service. He also served as a research assistant in the Amphibian Acoustic Communication Lab, held technician positions working with a variety of taxa, and studied abroad at the University of Pretoria Centre for Wildlife Management in South Africa. Nick completed his M.S. in 2014 at Mississippi State in the Carnivore Ecology Lab investigating the relaxation of selective pressures in ursid den behavior while performing his field work on the Mississippi Black Bear Project. He then spent 1.5 years as a Research Associate on the Michigan Predator Prey Project. Nick’s research interests include carnivore ecology, predator-prey interactions, large mammal conservation, and human/wildlife conflict. In his spare time, Nick enjoys hunting, backpacking, and mountain biking.
Mariela is currently a research associate investigating aspects of population and spatial ecology of recolonizing black bears in Missouri. Mariela received her Ph.D. addressing questions surrounding optimality, risk, and connectivity for black bears, and for her M.S. degree, she conducted research on invasive mammal and native carnivores in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina. Mariela received her Licenciate Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, focusing on vertebrate ecology and behavior. Her research interests include conservation science, carnivore ecology, landscape connectivity, animal behavior, mitigating wildlife-human conflict, and biological invasions. In her spare time Mariela likes reading, drawing, and being outdoors hiking and watching wildlife.
Jacob is currently investigating global patterns in cause-specific vertebrate mortality. He recently completed his Ph.D. on anthropogenic impacts on wildlife mortality and vertebrate scavenging communities. Jacob received an M.S. in Biology from Purdue University where he studied diving behavior and population structure of hawksbill sea turtles nesting in the US Virgin Islands. He also has a B.A. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests include understanding how human activities alter ecosystem structure, with a particular interest in endangered species conservation.
Amanda is a research associate examining niche segregation in sympatric black and turkey vultures of the coastal southeastern U.S. Her research aims to inform mitigation of increasing human-vulture conflicts, including aviation collision risks. An alumnus of University of Georgia’s Warnell College of Forestry & Natural Resources, her M.S. thesis focused on the spatial ecology of black and turkey vultures. She earned her B.S. from Oregon State University’s Fisheries & Wildlife Science, where she specialized in avian ecology and conservation. As a biologist, she’s participated in research and management of California condors, black-backed woodpeckers, marbled murrelets, piping plover, black oystercatchers, salmonids, amphibians of the Pacific Northwest, and others. A strong advocate for science education and art appreciation, Amanda balances her life of field research and data analysis with cooking, wildlife illustration, mural art, music appreciation, and other creative endeavors.
Graduate Research Assistant
Todd is a M.S. student working on the Michigan Predator Prey Project, where his research focuses on white-tailed deer survival and recruitment relative to winter weather, habitat, and predators. Todd grew up on a dairy farm in New York, and received his B.T. in Wildlife Management from SUNY Cobleskill in 2012. Prior to joining the lab, he worked as a technician conducting wetland mapping in New York, bobwhite research in Kentucky, and amphibian research in Wyoming. In his free time, Todd enjoys fly fishing, hunting, woodworking, and music.
Ken is a research scientist currently working on deer management in New York State. Ken is originally from western New York and obtained a BS in Biology from Wheaton College (IL) and a Masters and PhD from Purdue University, where he studied plant and animal responses to forest management. His research interests include population and agent-based modeling, ecosystem responses to disturbance, wildlife disease, and open-source tools for reproducible research. You can find Ken’s personal website at https://kenkellner.com.
Ashley is a Research Associate working on the Michigan Predator-Prey Project. She received her B.S. in Zoology from Colorado State University in December 2013. Prior to joining the program, Ashley worked as an intern on Sango Leopard Research Project in Sango, Save Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe; a climate change technician in Colorado; a small mammal technician in Delaware; and an arctic goose field technician on Southampton Island, Nunavut, Canada. While in Zimbabwe, Ashley also volunteered with the Lowveld Wild Dog Project. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, nature photography, and crocheting.
Jack is a Research Technician working on the Michigan Predator-Prey Project. In December of 2013 Jack graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and in Wildlife Conservation and Ecology from the University of Nevada Reno. Since then Jack has worked on several ungulate projects throughout the Intermountain West ranging from rocky mountain elk and mule deer research in Starkey Experimental Forest, black-tailed deer population sampling in the Costal and Cascade Ranges of Oregon to the population dynamics of relocated desert bighorn sheep in Nevada’s Lone Mountain Range. Jack first joined the Michigan Predator Prey Project in the summer of 2017 as a wildlife detection dog handler investigating the predation rates of bears, wolves, coyotes and bobcats on white-tailed deer and other prey species. In his spare time in Jack likes to be in the outdoors rafting rivers, hunting, and mountaineering.
Imani is a 2013 graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Science and Conservation. Imani then worked for the Wildlife Division in the Kingupira Sector of Selous Game Reserve, serving as Sector Statistician. He also worked with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute and IGF, conducting large carnivore population surveys in Lake Manyara National Park, Masai Steppe, and Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania, until August 2015 when he began working on our Serengeti Lion Project. Imani is passionate about nature and enjoys working on the Serengeti Lion Project because of his fascination with large carnivores.
Stan is a field biologist working on our Serengeti Lion Project. Stan completed his B.S. degree in 2010 at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, majoring in Wildlife Science and Conservation. Following his bachelor’s degree he worked as a field biologist in Serengeti National Park where he monitored lions in the Serengeti Plains and participated in the Snapshot Serengeti camera survey. He then pursued his M.S. degree, also from the University of Dar es Salaam, where he studied co-occurrence of caracals and servals in Serengeti National Park. Stan enjoys observing lions and the day to day changes in Serengeti Plains.
Beth is currently a postdoctoral research associate organizing the field efforts to characterize wolf introduction in Isle Royale National Park. She is also investigating aspects of wolf social organization and predator-prey dynamics during introduction on Isle Royale. Beth received her Ph.D. from Oregon State University addressing carnivore competition questions related to changes in cougar predation patterns, space use, and habitat selection in the face of expanding wolf populations in northeast Oregon. For her M.S. degree (Utah State University), she examined the effect of predator removal on greater sage-grouse ecology in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. Beth hails from Iowa, where she earned her B.S. degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University. Her research interests largely focus on the interspecific competition, spatial dynamics, and population demography of large carnivores and she is particularly interested in research questions associated with predator-prey interactions, competition, spatial ecology, population dynamics, and applied research management. You can find Beth’s personal website at https://sites.google.com/site/bethorning.
Tyler is currently a research scientist on the Upper Peninsula Deer Movement Study and a Ph.D. candidate studying patterns of carnivore resource selection and the landscape of fear for white-tailed deer as part of the Michigan Predator-Prey Project. Tyler received his M.S. degree in 2013 from Mississippi State University in the Carnivore Ecology Laboratory where his thesis addressed aspects of coyote population ecology and their consumption of white-tailed deer. Tyler graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2010 with a B.S. degree in Ecology. Tyler has previously assisted with capturing and collaring for the Afognak elk and brown bear project and worked as a wildlife technician for the National Park Service at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan capturing and monitoring black bears. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys birding, fishing, hunting, and exploring public lands.
Graduate Research Assistant
Sarah is originally from Madison, Wisconsin and joined the Camp Fire Program in Wildlife Conservation for her PhD on elk habitat use and timber harvest on Afognak and Raspberry Islands, Alaska. Sarah obtained a combined B.S. in Environmental Science and B.A. in Resource Management and Environmental Studies, with independent research projects ranging from grizzly bear surplus killing of salmon and bat occupancy in northern Washington to beach wrack micro-communities and nutrient leaching in the San Juan Islands of Washington. Following this, she worked in environmental science for several organizations including the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Lab, and the National Ecological Observatory Network. Sarah then pursued her M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Humboldt State University where she examined the impacts of climate change on avian insectivores in Kenya. Her research interests include predator-prey biology, large carnivore ecology, animal movement ecology, remote sensing, use of genetics to study population and movement ecology, and complex spatial habitat modeling.