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The Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit

The University of Montana

Graduate Students


Current students:

David Ausband

Kristin Barker

Sarah Bassing

Nathan Crum

Shannon Forshee

James Goerz

Mark Hurley

Allison Keever

Sarah Sells

Jeff Stetz

Rick Astley



Past students:

Lara Brongo earned her BS in Environmental and Forest Biology (concentration in Wildlife) in 2000 from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  She began her graduate work at Auburn in fall 2001 and completed her MS in Wildlife Science at Auburn University in December 2003.  Her research evaluated changes in population growth rate for a protected population of black bears over a 22 year period, how changes in survival and reproduction contributed to changes in the growth rate, and how baited trapping in the vicinity of bait station sampling can bias estimates of relative abundance.  Her work resulted in 3 manuscripts, 2 of which have been published and the third is under review for publication in peer-reviewed journals. 

Chris Hammond earned his BS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana in 2004 and his MS degree in 2008. His research used patch occupancy modeling to investigate landscape-scale patterns in establishment of breeding common loons among available lakes in northwest Montana.

Laura Hanson earned her BS in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis in 2001. She earned her MS in Wildlife Science at Auburn University in 2006; her research was on the demography response of a feral hog population subjected to experimental lethal control. Laura's work showed that intensive removal of feral pigs resulted in compensatory increases in recruitment, primarily through emigration. She also showed that any removal program that did not focus intensively on juveniles could hope, at best, to only slow population growth.

Ben Jimenez earned a BS in Natural Sciences from the University of Puget Sound in 2000 and a MS in Wildlife Biology in 2011 from the University of Montana.  Ben's research focused on the effects of forest roads on black bears at the urban/wildlands interface.  His research took place within the Coeur d'Alene river watershed of Northern Idaho.  Ben is currently working as a Research Biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  He is the lead technician on multi-year Bitterroot elk ecology project looking at factors affecting cow and calf survival, such as body condition, forage quality, predation, and human disturbances.

Barbara McCall earned a BS in Wildlife Resources from the University of Idaho in 2002 and earned a MS in Wildlife Biology in 2009 at the University of Montana. Barb's research focused on using genetic tools to understand demography of a population of black bears living in the Idaho panhandle.

Melissa Reynolds earned her BS in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 2000 and earned a PhD in Wildlife Science at Auburn University in 2005. She is interested in understanding how forestry practices affect habitat for black bears, whether and how bears respond to these changes in habitat, and how spatio-temporal patterns in habitat affect quality and use. Melissa was selected as one of Auburn University's top 10 outstanding doctoral students for 2004-2005. She successfully defended her dissertation in May 2006.

Lindsey Rich earned her BS in Wildlife Biology (2005) from Colorado State University and an MS Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana in 2010.  Lindsey assisted in the development of monitoring protocols for wolves in Montana and studying spatial behavior of wolf packs under different ecological and management scenarios.  

Nick Sharp earned his BS in Biology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2001.  He began work toward his MS in Wildlife Science at Auburn University in 2001 and graduated in 2004. Nick's research used intensive population modeling to evaluate how small mammal characteristic of the longleaf pine ecosystem respond to management for fire and fire alternatives. Nick's work employed novel analytical methods to explore stand- and landscape-scale influences and source/sink dynamics on the populations he studied.

Bill Sparklin earned a BS in Environmental Biology as well as a BS in Applied Geography from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and a MS in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana, studying the behavior, distribution, and habitat relationships of a manipulated feral hog population.

Natural Sciences Room 205

Missoula, MT 59812