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Dr. Dan Thornton's Mammal Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab


Students interested in joining the lab should send a letter of interest to Dr. Thornton (, outlining your research interests and goals, and how they fit within the type of work that is conducted in this lab. Please also include a CV with relevant information (e.g., GPA/GRE scores).



Lucy is examining the impacts of hunting on Neotropical carnivores and other mammals in the Maya Biosphere Reserve of northern Guatemala. Lucy is also using camera traps to generate indices of large mammal community health at large-scales, which can be linked to disturbances like land cover and hunting. Lucy is collaborating with the Wildlife Conservation Society to implement her research. Lucy is the recipient of a WCS Graduate Research Fellowship, and secured a Rufford Grant to support her work.



Nate is studying the spatial ecology and conservation of snowshoe hare in the Cascade mountains of north-central Washington. NThrough an experimental design, Nate will investigate how pre-commercial thinning of overstocked forest stands impacts snowshoe hare abundance, survival, and movement. This work is fundamentally important to understand what tools land managers have to increase fire resilience and potentially timber productivity, while minimizing impacts to hares and consequently the endangered Canada lynx that depend on hare. Nate will also use this experimental design to examine methods for determining hare density, and how hare respond to shifting risk landscapes. This work was designed and conducted as part of collaboration with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.



Sujay is studying bobcat-lynx spatial associations and densities along an elevation and snow gradient in northcentral Washington. His work will involve an intensive camera trapping effort in Loomis State Forest, building on a long-term effort in the region, and contributing to our understanding of lynx population status and threats in the state. This work is a collaborative effort with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.



Katherine is studying how fire and climate change impacts sage brush wildlife communities in east-central Washington. Her work involves bird and mammal surveys within sagebrush patches that have experience fires at different time periods and frequencies. She will also develop climate models to predict how several sage brush-dependent wildlife species may respond to climate warming, and the intersection of that response with the highly modified mosaic landscape of sage brush steppe in Washington. This work is funded by the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Marwa is examining the spatial distribution of the Sierra Nevada red fox across their historical range in the Oregon Cascades. Marwa’s work involves deploying camera traps and performing scat surveys  across high elevation zones in the Oregon Cascades. Her work will inform Sierra Nevada red fox management in the state of Oregon through identifying core habitat, drivers of distribution, and best methods for detection. This work is funded by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Katie Van, MS (2015): Thesis title: Species distribution modeling of high-elevation pine species to examine potential impacts of climate change.

Arthur Scully, MS (2016): Thesis title: Influence of biotic interactions on Canada lynx distribution along their southern range edge.

Kyle Ebenhoch, MS (2017): Thesis title: Comparing population vital rates of resident and translocated greater sage-grouse on the Yakima Training Center, Yakima, WA.

Landon Charlo, MS (2018): Thesis title: Influence of artificial canopy gaps on wildlife and understory in young coastal temperate coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest

Travis King, MS (2019): Thesis title: Broad-scale influence of biotic and abiotic drivers of carnivore occupancy in Washington

Peter Olsoy, PhD (2019):

Paul Jenson, MS (2020): Snowshoe hare population ecology in lynx occupied areas of Washington

Anna Staudenmaier, MS (2020):

Michelle Peziol, MS (2020):

Kelsey Gump, MS (2021): Spatial and temporal effects of motorized and nonmotorized recreation on a wildlife in eastern Washington

Alissa Anderson MS (2022): Glacier’s Wildlife: a noninvasive investigation of a Canada lynx population and wildlife spatiotemporal response to recreation in a popular national park.

Erik Peterson MS (2022): A summer feast atop the Crown of the Continent: The interplay of grizzly bears and army cutworm moths across Glacier National Park’s alpine talus slopes.