Research interests


My research focuses on how environmental change affects the ecology and evolution of wildlife populations. Iā€™m particularly interested in how landscape change interacts with climate change and other stressors to affect wildlife species. My lab addresses how changing ecological conditions affect species distributions, population dynamics, animal movements, and trait evolution. I work with a range of organisms and ecosystems, and I use a variety of research methods, including observation and experimentation, field and molecular data, and rigorous statistical analysis. What ties everything together is an interest in learning how human land use and other stressors affect the ecology and evolution of wildlife populations, and doing science that is useful for wildlife management.


Current research projects

  • Effects of urbanization on the ecology and evolution of melanism in eastern gray squirrels
  • Biodiversity responses to landscape change and grassland restoration in the Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico
  • Legacy effects of agriculture on wildlife populations in forest ecosystems
  • Effects of habitat fragmentation on the distribution and genetic structure of an isolated population of plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius) in Illinois
  • Designing a long-term monitoring program for the threatened Illinois chorus frog
Banner-tailed kangaroo rat (*Dipodomys spectabilis*) at a grassland restoration site in New Mexico. Photo by Kevin Sierzega

Banner-tailed kangaroo rat (Dipodomys spectabilis) at a grassland restoration site in New Mexico. Photo by Kevin Sierzega