Research

I am a carnivore ecologist, author, and photographer. I was born and raised in central Vermont, and I have lived throughout the American west and New Zealand. I was awarded my Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from Victoria University of Wellington in 2014, for my dissertation entitled The Ecology and Behaviour of Pumas (Puma concolor) in Northern California. I also completed post-doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the Santa Cruz Puma Project.

I am currenty an assistant research professor with the Illinois Natural History Survey and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. I am also the curator of the University’s mammal collection, and an associate editor for journal of the IUCN Felid Research Group.

Sea Otter in Monterey Bay

My research focuses on the ecology and behavior of carnivores. My current research focused on:
a) population estimation and dynamics of carnivores
b) scent marking behavior in solitary felids
c) interspecific interactions among carnivores
d) the effects large carnivores have on their ecosystems

My graduate research focused on pumas, including their feeding ecology, communication, and effects on the scavenger community. My current research focuses mainly on solitary carnivores, and I currently collaborating with projects focusing on:

  • Black bears and bobcats in Wisconin with Tim Van Deelen, Shawn Crimmins and Nathan Roberts 
  • Pumas in California with Chris Wilmers, Anna Nisi, and Justin Suraci
  • European lynx and brown bears in eastern Europe with Miha Krofel
  • The scavenger guild at numerous sites with Miha Krofel andChris Wilmers
  • Tigers and the carnivore community in Sumatra with Marsya Sibarini
  • The carnivore guild of the Apostle Islands with Tim Van Deelen
  • Caracals in South Africa with Laurel Serieys
  • Jaguars and pumas in Belize with Bart Harmsen and Rebecca Foster
  • Other project collaborations include the African carnivore guild in Tanzania and Kenya, clouded leopards in southeastern Asia, and fishing cats in India.

    I spend most of my spare time exploring wild areas, long-distance running, or photographing animals. I have published over 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles and many National Geographic posts. As a photographer, I strive to depict the natural world and its inhabitants in beautiful settings. I specialize in documentary and action photographs of North American wildlife. More photos can be found on my Photography Site and my first photography book was published in 2010.