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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).


Steven Woodley, POST-DOC

Steven is leading a project to assess how wildlife species utilize “working landscapes” in east central Washington. These landscapes are heavily modified by agriculture, but maintain small remnants of native and restored sagebrush. Steven is assessing the value of this mosaic of habitats for the wildlife community using a combination of camera traps and sign/pellet surveys. This work is a collaboration with Lisa Shipley, and is funded by NRCS.


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.



Erik is studying the use of army cutworm moths by grizzly bears in Glacier National Park. Moths, which migrate to high elevation talus slopes in the summer, are a potentially important food source for bears, but the degree of use of moths by bears, and where it occurs on the Glacier landscape, remains poorly known. Through a combination of aerial surveys, high elevation field work, and stable isotope analysis, Erik is seeking to fill in this gap in knowledge to support Grizzly management. This work is occurring in collaboration with the Glacier Park Conservancy. Erik is the recipient of a Jerry O’Neal Scholarship.


Alissa is studying lynx distribution and abundance in Glacier National Park. Lynx maintain a peripheral population in Glacier, but the status of the population, and the habitats that are selected in Glacier, remain poorly understood. Alissa will be using a large-scale camera trapping array to answer these questions, working in some truly remote and mountainous terrain.


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)

Anna Staudenmaier, MS (2020)

Michelle Peziol, MS (2020)

Kelsey Gump, MS (2021)