Ph.D Students

Peter-KappesPeter Kappes

My research interests focus on the ecology, management, conservation, & restoration of seabird populations & the role marine birds play in island ecosystems.  I am particularly interested in understanding how variation in life histories, survival, & reproductive success at the individual-level is related to population-level trends & developing tools to better understand & model this relationship in order to inform management scenarios.  For my PhD research, I am working with the PenguinScience team to investigate how Adélie penguins breeding at three different colonies on Ross Island, Antarctica respond to climate change at the individual, colony, & metapopulation levels.  Using the individual based population modeling program HexSim, I will develop a model that will incorporate variation in individual adaptive behaviors & life histories in order to better understand how this variation among individuals “emerges” as population-level trends for this metapopulation.



Beth Orning

My research interests focus on the ecology, management, and conservation of large carnivores, with a particular focus on understanding interspecific competition, spatial ecology, and population dynamics in multi-predator multi-prey ecosystems. For my PhD research, I am working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to examine the interaction between wolves and cougar in northeast Oregon.  Ecological data on intact predator systems in Oregon are lacking, and wolf recolonization across the West raises questions regarding interspecific competition between wolves and cougar as well as about the impacts of multiple predators on elk and mule deer populations.  My research will determine wolf predation rates and prey selection and compare changes in cougar prey selection, space use, and survival between time periods before and after wolf recolonization.  More information about my ongoing project can be found here:  Mt. Emily Cougar/Wolf Project.


Catherine Engelman

My research is focused on full-life cycle ecology, conservation, & management of migratory birds. I am particularly interested in: 1) winter ecology, including how climatic fluctuations affect community structure, & seasonal effects on population dynamics 2) how interactions of multiple environmental stresses such as habitat fragmentation &  contaminants affect populations dynamics, evolution, & behavior of wildlife; 3) scientific data visualization; & 4) integration of field research & ecological modeling to examine complex system dynamics & guide natural resource management decisions. For my PhD research I am analyzing data I collected in central Texas as part of The Nature Conservancy’s former Fort Hood project. This research was originally initiated to remedy the lack of research on factors limiting grassland bird populations during the non-breeding season, & improve management decisions affecting non-breeding habitat of grassland birds. My dissertation will focus on area-sensitivity, habitat associations, & sex or age based habitat segregation for a variety of wintering grassland bird species.


Digger Anthony

I am broadly interested in wildlife-habitat relationships, landscape ecology, and population ecology. More specifically, I am interested in how anthropogenic and natural disturbance influences population dynamics, resource selection, and space use of wildlife across spatial and temporal scales. My current research at OSU examines the response of Greater Sage-grouse to broad scale wildfire. The main goal is to better inform management by addressing population and habitat issues related to fire and sage-grouse. My research will provide a baseline of the thermal environments of sage-grouse nesting and early brood-rearing habitat in the Trout Creek Mountains of SE Oregon and evaluate whether variation in the thermal landscape influences nest site selection and nest success of sage-grouse.  I will also synthesize the population response of sage-grouse over a 6-year period following a wildfire (2013 – 2018), and identify which vital rates have the greatest influence on the population rate of change.


M.S. Students

Anna Mangan

I am broadly interested in the ecology, management & conservation of threatened & endangered species & their habitats, primarily birds.  My Master’s research focuses on Northern Spotted Owl occupancy dynamics & breeding propensity in Mount Rainier National Park, in western WA.  More specifically, I aim to investigate the potential influence of barred owls, climate & habitat on occupancy throughout Mount Rainier.  By analyzing spotted owl occupancy using 20 years of historical data (1997-2016), I hope to inform best management practices for this threatened species within the park & throughout the northern part of its range. This research will contribute to the overall demographic data about this species in the relatively undisturbed setting of Mount Rainier National Park.



Leila Duchac

I am generally interested in the ecology and conservation of threatened & endangered species, with a focus on bird species. More specifically, I am interested in less invasive monitoring methods for rare, sensitive, and difficult-to-detect species. My Master’s research uses autonomous recording units to detect Northern Spotted Owls and Barred Owls in three Spotted Owl demographic study areas in Oregon and Washington in an effort to test their efficacy and efficiency in comparison to traditional callback surveys. In addition, I will use autonomous recording units to investigate avian community use in the area of the Stouts Creek Fire, a 2015 wildfire that burned portions of a Northern Spotted Owl demographic study area in southwestern Oregon. Using new technologies and acoustic data analysis, I hope to contribute to the monitoring of Spotted Owls and help shape an updated survey practice for this threatened species.