Faculty & Staff

Andrew Little

Andrew Little

Andrew Little is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecology and Habitat Management and Extension Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He is a wildlife spatial ecologist focused on creating innovative solutions to the growing wildlife conservation and management needs in multi-functional landscapes where there are competing interests for agricultural production, wildlife conservation, and ecosystem services. His research focuses primarily on studying ecology and management of ungulates, mesopredators, and gamebirds; wildlife-habitat relationships; landscape ecology; and predator-prey ecology.

 

Meet Andy

Iris McFarlin

Iris McFarlin

Iris joined the AWESM lab in August 2021 as a communication specialist, where she works to share the lab’s cutting-edge conservation research in new and creative ways to stakeholders across the country. She previously worked in a variety of wildlife and natural resources positions, ranging from wildlife rehabilitator to field biologist to apiculture technician. Iris received her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University in 2017 and graduated in August 2021 with a Master’s in Natural Resource Sciences from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She loves finding ways to blend creativity into scientific data in order to engage a broader audience.

Graduate Students

Megan Baldissara

Megan Baldissara

PhD Candidate in Natural Resource Sciences

Research Projects

Identifying and Prioritizing Habitat for Pheasant Management

Profile

Megan joined the AWESM lab as a PhD student in the School of Natural Resources in summer 2021. I grew up in Italy surrounded by wildlife, as I often spent my time outdoors exploring woods and fields. This environment influenced my desire to understand the natural world encouraging me to attend a scientific high school in my hometown and then to gain a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. Driven by my desire to travel and further discover my British roots, as my mother is English, I decided to pursue my bachelor’s in the UK. As part of the degree, I had a placement year at the Game and Wildlife Trust (GWCT) in the south of England, researching farmland biodiversity. My main roles were to study spatial biodiversity of gamebirds in farmland with GIS (Geographic Information System) and to study the predation of vulnerable protected birds. During this year I conducted surveys of birds such as pheasants, partridges and woodcocks and I mapped their population distribution depending on the environment with ArcGIS. I also conducted invertebrate surveys to understand the habitat and food quality for farmland birds. My mapping work contributed to understand where habitat management was needed to enhance farmland bird biodiversity and where management efforts were effective, thus helping in advising game management and wildlife conservation practices to farmers, shoot managers and conservation organisations. I really enjoyed working there and I discovered my passion for wildlife conservation, inspiring me to continue my studies and obtaining a masters in Conservation and Biodiversity in the UK.

Allison Barg

Allison Barg

PhD Candidate in Natural Resource Sciences with a specialization in Applied Ecology

Research Projects

Identifying and Prioritizing Habitat for Pheasant Management

Profile

Allison Barg joined the AWESM lab as a PhD student in the School of Natural Resources in summer 2021. She received her B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from UNL in 2016, and an MSc in Wildlife Conservation and Management from the University of South Wales in 2020. She has worked on a variety of wildlife conservation projects with species ranging from sea turtles and snapping turtles to bats and polecats. Her interests include spatial and landscape ecology, predator-prey interactions and human dimensions of wildlife. Allison’s PhD research in conjunction with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is focused on pheasant space-use within the agricultural landscape of eastern and central Nebraska, in order to identify and prioritize suitable habitat for targeted conservation efforts. Her long term goal is to use ecological research to develop solutions that allow humans and wildlife to co-exist within multi-functional landscapes.

Katie Piecora

Katie Piecora

MS Candidate in Natural Resource Sciences with a specialization in Applied Ecology

Research Projects

Pronghorn Spatial Ecology in Nebraska

Profile

Katie Piecora received a B.S. in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida in 2017. She spent the next 4 years working on a multitude of research projects targeting numerous species including black bears, bats, sea turtles, and a variety of ungulates. Her interests include spatial and landscape ecology, predator-prey dynamics, and resource selection. She joined the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement (AWESM) lab in spring 2021. Katie’s master’s research with the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will evaluate pronghorn survival in the Nebraska Panhandle with additional emphasis on identifying critical ranges, migration corridors, habitat use, and temporal-spatial distributions of pronghorn. She is looking forward to building a career focusing on large mammal ecology and conservation.

Morgan Register

Morgan Register

MS Candidate in Natural Resource Sciences with a specialization in Applied Ecology

Research Projects

Constraints to Precision Agriculture Adoption

Profile

Morgan Register is a Master’s student in the School of Natural Resources. She joined the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement (AWESM) Lab in fall 2020 researching farmers and farmland owners’ views on targeted conservation practices. She joins this lab with previous undergraduate experience dually studying Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology as well as Agricultural Sciences at NC State University. Her long-term goal includes working in the public interface to interconnect conservation efforts with private land. She strives to find ways to provide communication and education of our natural resources to individuals to encourage an environment for growth in the adaption of conservation practices. Her research interests include Agriculture, Human Dimensions, Wildlife Conservation, and Fisheries..

 

Meet Morgan

Grace Schuster

Grace Schuster

PhD Candidate in Natural Resource Sciences with a specialization in Applied Ecology

Research Projects

Bioenergy Crop Production: Implications for Grassland Bird Communities

Profile

Grace Schuster joined the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement (AWESM) Lab in spring 2020. She has worked on a variety of conservation research including work with the Prairie Corridor Project and Human Dimensions lab at UNL. She transitioned into a PhD position in the AWESM lab in fall 2021, where her research focuses on evaluating multi-species avian occupancy in potential bioenergy grasslands near North Platte, Nebraska. This research is funded by the Department of Energy. Her long-term goal is to enhance the relationship between landowners and conservation efforts by incorporating sociological and ecological research.

 

Meet Grace

Corrin Winter

Corrin Winter

MS Candidate in Natural Resource Sciences with a specialization in Applied Ecology

Research Projects

Constraints to Precision Agriculture Adoption

Profile

Corrin Winter is a Master’s student in the School of Natural Resources. They joined the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement (AWESM) Lab in fall 2020. Their thesis research focuses on bridging our understanding of farmer’s and landowner’s constraints to precision agriculture and conservation adoption. Their long-term goal is to find sustainable solutions to ecological problems by understanding all side’s point of views and interests. Creating viable solutions to positions traditionally viewed as juxtaposed. Their research interests are in human dimensions, law, socio-economics, and predator-livestock dynamics.

Undergraduate Students

Jay Cleveland

Jay Cleveland

Majors

Research Projects

Evaluating Urban Wildlife Communities

Profile

Jay Cleveland is an undergraduate Grassland Ecology and Management and Fisheries and Wildlife major specializing in conservation biology and habitat management. In spring 2021, he joined the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Management (AWESM) Lab. He will be working on The Urban Wildlife Information Network Project with a goal of providing and improving wildlife education in urban communities. This project aims to enhance the ability of people and wildlife to coexist in cities.

Kaitlyn Dozler

Kaitlyn Dozler

Major

Research Projects

White-tailed deer spatial ecology during hunting season in Nebraska

Profile

Kaitlyn Dozler is an undergraduate Fisheries and Wildlife major specializing in Wildlife Ecology and Management/Conservation Biology with a minor in Grassland Ecology and Management at UNL. In fall 2020, she joined the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement (AWESM) Lab. She is evaluating the impacts of hunting season on white-tailed deer spatial ecology in south-central Nebraska. A knowledge gap exists in our understanding of deer movements and resource selection prior to, during, and post rifle season in Nebraska. This information will be critical to land managers and biologists interested in improving deer management in highly fragmented agricultural landscapes. Her research interests are in wildlife spatial ecology and precision conservation.

 

Meet Kaitlyn

Zach Hess

Zach Hess

Majors

Research Projects

Habitat Selection for Territorial Male Pheasants

Profile

Zach Hess is an undergraduate Fisheries and Wildlife major specializing in Conservation Biology at UNL. He is also working towards attending Veterinarian School. In spring 2020, he joined the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement (AWESM) Lab. His undergraduate research is aimed at improving our understanding of ring-necked pheasant mating behavior and group structure in intensive agricultural landscapes. This information will be critical to land managers and biologists interested in improving pheasant populations in highly fragmented agricultural landscapes. His research interests are focused in the fields of Wildlife Veterinarian Medicine and Ecological Physiology.

Former Members

Jana Malene

Jana Malene

Wildlife Space Use in an Agricultural Landscape

Profile

Jana Malene was an undergraduate in Fisheries and Wildlife at UNL who joined the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement (AWESM) Lab in spring 2020. Her research focused on wildlife spatial ecology in highly fragmented agricultural landscapes where she evaluated bobcat, red-tailed hawks, and white-tailed deer movement ecology. Her interests include community dynamics and wildlife conservation and management. Jana graduated in December 2020.