The Team

Faculty

Photo of Scott Mills

Dr. L. Scott Mills

Ph.D., Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz
M.S., Wildlife Ecology, Utah State University
B.S., Zoology, North Carolina State University

 

Graduate Students

Photo of Tshewang Wangchuk

Tshewang Wangchuk, Ph.D. Candidate and Executive Director, Bhutan Foundation
M.S., Ecology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Norway)
B.S., Plant and Wildlife Management, University of Maryland, College Park
Research Interests: Monitoring snow leopard populations in remote Himalayan terrain, felid conservation and protected area management.

Photo of Marketa Zimova

Marketa Zimova, Ph.D. Candidate
M.S., Wildlife Biology, University of Montana
B.S., Biology, Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic)
Research Interests: I am broadly interested in the effects of environmental change on wild populations and their adaptation to novel stressors; specifically, phenological mismatches due to climate change. My graduate research combines field methods, statistical modeling and downscaled climate data to understand the consequences of mismatch for seasonal camouflage in color molting species. 

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Jennifer Feltner, Ph.D. Candidate
Graduate coursework, Ecology, San Diego State University
Post-bacc coursework, Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University
B.A., Chinese Language and Literature, Dartmouth College
Research Interests: My research interests include the ecology and population dynamics of large mammals, community-level interactions, the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on species, spatial ecology and wildlife conservation. My PhD research focuses on intraguild competition and predator-prey dynamics following large carnivore recovery in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

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Alex Kumar, Ph.D. Student
M.S.,Wildlife and Conservation Biology, North Carolina State University
B.S., Biological Sciences and Natural Resources, Cornell University
Research Interests: Collectively, my research focuses on coupling field data with quantitative analyses to answer applied conservation questions, ideally with a theoretical twist. For example, my dissertation focuses on the drivers of dampened cyclic dynamics of snowshoe hares, a topic of broad interest to basic and applied ecology. Some of my other research interests involve the effects of anthropogenic stressors (timber harvest, climate change) on the population dynamics and phenology of wildlife (mainly mammals). My ultimate research goals are to use long-term population data to identify vulnerable species and determine management actions that will maximize their probability of long-term persistence.

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Brandon Davis, M.S. Candidate
Post-bacc studies, Wildlife Biology, University of Montana
B.S., Environmental Health, East Carolina University
Research Interests: My research interests include conservation biology, evolutionary ecology, predator – prey interactions, population genetics and wildlife management. I am also interested in developing more efficient non-invasive sampling methods to detect elusive species. My MS research focuses on the seasonal coat color molt. More specific, my research focuses on the predation risk associated with camouflage mismatched weasels and how the seasonal coat color molt differs between sympatric species (i.e., snowshoe hares and weasels) exposed to the same environmental conditions.

 

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Tashi Dhendup, M.S. Candidate and Forestry Officer, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment
B.S., Forestry, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, India
Research Interests:  I am interested in studying population ecology and spatial-temporal interactions of carnivores using non-invasive techniques of camera trapping and genetic sampling. For my MS project, I will be focusing on Tigers in central Bhutan.

Undergraduate Students

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Lindsey Barnard
Research Interests: I am a non-traditional undergrad in the wildlife biology program at University of Montana. I plan on getting my PhD in behavioral ecology and working as a researcher with captive wildlife. I am interested in the animal psyche, social structures, and communication. In the Mills lab I am the official "hare whisperer". Prior to joining the lab I was a vet tech, and I am able to apply much of what I learned in veterinary medicine to making sure the captive snowshoe hares are happy and healthy. I will also be performing a senior thesis on snowshoe hare behavior. 

Lab Alumni

Graduate students

  • Julie (Betsch) Weckworth, PhD 2018
    Dissertation:   Ecology, epidemiology, and evolutionary genetics of Canine distemper virus spillover in African lions
    Post-graduate position: Research Wildlife and Disease Ecologist, National Genomics Center, Rocky Mountain Research Station, US Forest Service, Missoula MT
  • Tshering Tempa, PhD 2017
    Dissertation: The ecology of montane Bengal tigers in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan
    Post-graduate position: Chair of Department of Conservation Biology, UWICE, Bumthang, Bhutan
  • Alex Kumar, MS 2015
    Thesis: Effects of dynamic forest structure on vital rates, behavior and the seasonal molt of the snowshoe hare
    Post-graduate position: PhD Student, University of Montana, Missoula MT
  • Marketa Zimova, MS 2013
    Thesis:  Camouflage mismatch in seasonal coat color due to decreased snow duration
    Post-graduate position: PhD Candidate, University of Montana, Missoula MT
  • Tammy Mildenstein, PhD 2012
    Dissertation: Conservation of endangered flying foxes I the Philippines: effects of anthropogenic disturbance and methods for monitoring
    Post-graduate position: Assistant Professor of Biology, Cornell College, Mount Vernon IA
  • Jesse Newby, MS 2011
    Thesis: Puma dispersal ecology in the central Rocky Mountains
    Post-graduate position: Wildlife Technician, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Missoula MT
  • Ellen Cheng, PhD 2010
    Dissertation: Climate Change, gene flow, and the legendary synchrony of snowshoe hares
    Post-graduate position: Post-Doc, Mills Lab, NCSU and Wildlife Biologist, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation of the Environment (UWICE), Bumthang, Bhutan
  • Heather Johnson, PhD 2010
    Dissertation: Escaping the extinction vortex: Identifying factors affecting population performance and recovery in endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep
    Post-graduate position: Research Wildlife Biologist, Alaska Science Center, USGS, Anchorage, AK 
  • Tshering Tempa, MS 2008 (non-thesis)
    Degree Focus: Teaching Wildlife Biology in Bhutan
    Post-graduate position: PhD student, University of Montana, Missoula MT and Chair of Department of Conservation Biology, UWICE, Bumthang, Bhutan
  • Sue Cox Griffin, PhD 2007 (co-advised with Mark Taper)
    Dissertation: Demography and ecology of a declining endemic: the Olympic marmot
    Post-graduate position: Fort Collins, CO
  • Julia Witzcuk, MS 2007
    Thesis: Predation by invasive coyotes on declining endemic Olympic marmots
    Post-graduate position: Adjunct, Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warszawa, Poland
  • John Citta, PhD 2005 (co-advised with Mark Lindberg)
    Dissertation: Metapopulation ecology using mountain bluebirds as a model system
    Post-graduate position: Biometrician, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Fairbanks AK
  • Carly Lewis, MS 2005
    Thesis: Landscape structure effects on snowshoe hares in fragmented forests
    Post-graduate position: Wildlife Biologist, Lolo National Forest, USFS, Missoula MT
  • Paul Griffin, PhD 2003
    Dissertation: Source-sink dynamics of snowshoe hares in a fragmented landscape
    Post-graduate position: Wildlife Biologist, USGS Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, CO
  • Jenny Pierson, MS 2003
    Thesis: Effects of thinning and prescribed burning on birds and small mammals
    Post-graduate position: Research Fellow, Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University
  • Michael Schwartz, PhD 2002
    Dissertation: The influence of gene flow and landscape location on genetic variation in two threatened carnivores: the Canada lynx and San Joaquin kit fox
    Post-graduate position: Research Ecologist, US Forest Service, Missoula, MT
  • Tammy Mildenstein, MS 2002
    Thesis: Habitat selection of large flying foxes using radiotelemetry: targeting conservation efforts in Subic Bay Philippines
    Post-graduate position: Assistant Professor of Biology, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA
  • Reesa Yale Conroy, MS 2002
    Thesis: Do highways influence connectivity in small mammals
    Post-graduate positon: Wildlife Researcher, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Wellington, CO
  • David Tallmon, PhD 2001 (co-advised with Fred Allendorf)
    Dissertation: Genetic, demographic, and ecological effects of habitat fragmentation
    Post-graduate position: Associate Professor of Biology & Department Chair, Natural Sciences, University of Alaska, Southeast, Juneau, AK
  • Kevin Lair, MS 2001
    Thesis: The effects of forest fragmentation and forest edge on Columbian Mouse and Southern Red-Backed vole demography
    Post-graduate position: Owner, Wild Birds Unlimited, Bend, OR
  • John Citta, MS 1998
    Thesis: An evaluation of demographic sensitivity analysis models
    Post-graduate position: Biometrician, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Fairbanks, AK

Post-Docs

  • Diana Lafferty, 2015-2017
    Research: Assessing linkages among snowshoe hare coat color molt
    phenology, anti-predator behavior, stress physiology and climate change.
    Current position: Assistant Professor, Northern Michigan University
  • Eugenia Bragina, 2015-2017
    Research: Population and habitat modeling of wildlife species at Fort Bragg, NC.
    Current position: Course director, WCS Russia
  • Rebecca Taylor, 2009-2011
    Research: Modeling sage grouse population dynamics to inform management decisions.
    Current position: Research Statistician, USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK
  • Richard Fredrickson, 2007-2010
    Research: Evaluating tradeoffs between disease risk and demographic benefits for translocating an endangered bighorn sheep.
    Current position: Missoula, MT
  • Cindy Hartway, 2006-2010
    Research: Sensitivity analysis to inform efficient recovery actions for endangered species on military lands.
    Current position: Research Associate, University of Montana, Missoula, MT
  • Matt Kaufmann, 2004-2006
    Research: A critical evaluation of the trophic cascade hypothesis for wolves and elk
    Current position: Unit Leader, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Assistant Professor of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
  • Karen Hodges, 2000-2003
    Research: Snowshoe hare population dynamics and response to silvicultural treatments
    Current position: Associate Professor, Biology, University of British Columbia Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada

Visiting/Collaborating Graduate students

  • Dick Moberg, MS Student, 2014-2018
    Home university:  Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden   
    Research: Color molt phenology of arctic foxes 
  • Faraz Akrim, PhD Student, 2016-2017
    Home university:  Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
    Research: Application of non-invasive genetic sampling to understand diet composition of sympatric carnivore species
  • Robin Sandfort, PhD Student, 2015
    Home university:  University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
    Research: Ecology and management of the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in an Austrian mountain forest ecosystem

Undergrads

(If you are a former Mills lab undergrad who completed a senior thesis with Dr. Mills but do not see your name/project listed here, please E-mail us.)

  • Rebecca Venezia: Honors project: Physiological stress response in snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) to environmental enrichment
  • De'Aja Sanders: Honors project: Camera trap limitations: quantifying molt phenology in Lepus americanus
  • Lindsay Clontz: Project assistantNoninvasive measures of physiological stress are confounded by time and environmental conditions
  • Sarah Corbit: Project assistant: Repeatable differences in snowshoe hare behavior: animal personality may facilitate plastic responses to climate change
  • Kairsten Fay:  Project assistantGlobal coat color phenology
  • James Goerz: Honors thesisDescription of snowshoe hare mortality and survival sites
  • Skyler Suhler: Honors thesisPhotos and phenotypes: Using camera traps to quantify snowshoe hare coat color phenology
  • Brandon Davis: Honors thesisPlasticity of snowshoe hare flight response to a potential predation event
  • Jennifer Hernandez: Honors thesisAnalysis of potential cyclic dynamics for southern snowshoe hares
  • Julie Cunningham:  Honors thesisConnecting movement paths of snowshoe hares in snow to survival in fragmented habitats

Hall of Fame: Undergrads, Technicians and Volunteers

Our research could not have been accomplished without the countless hours numerous undergraduates, technicians and volunteers put into working on our projects. We greatly appreciate the contributions of all those listed below, as well as many others.

Snowshoe Hare Field & Lab Crew
2009-present

  • Payton Adams
  • Jennifer Alberts
  • Jason Beltskauffman
  • Seth Bergman
  • Chelsea Boyle
  • Ellen Brandell
  • Carl Brown
  • Benett Bursick
  • Morgan Campbell
  • Kyle Christopher
  • Lindsay Clontz
  • Cynnimin Coomey
  • Aurelia DeNasha
  • Tashi Dhendup
  • Jennifer Dupree
  • Kenneth Edmo
  • Eric Elkins
  • Savanna Fitzgerald
  • Gus Geldersma
  • Cheryl Gourley
  • Matt Henderson
  • Jennifer Hernandez
  • Ashlee Hevly
  • Summer Higdon
  • Blake Hoffman
  • Desiree James
  • Laura Jenkins
  • Kylie Jones
  • Emma Lancaster
  • Christina Leinmueller
  • Randi Lesagonicz
  • Landon Magee
  • Nicole McIntire
  • Jeremy Mcmurrin
  • Dick Moberg
  • Elena Murzyn
  • David Nikonow
  • Kaitlin Novak
  • Nicholas Oberle
  • Graeme Pletscher
  • Ahva Potticary
  • Dianne Quiroz
  • Alison Reck
  • Laura Redmond
  • Gregory Reed
  • David Remmend
  • Mackenzie Richards
  • Lauren Richardson
  • Hannah Riedl
  • Liam Rossier
  • Molly Runyon
  • Nicole Samsel
  • De’Aja Sanders
  • Karen Saul
  • Tucker Seitz
  • Evan Sims
  • Patrick Staunton
  • Jessica Stirling
  • Matt Strauser
  • Skyler Suhrer
  • Sean Sultaire
  • Sarah Twoteeth
  • Ashley Wachtel
  • Christina Wells
  • Tommy Williams
  • Sarah Whitcher
  • Rebecca Venezia

Marmot Crew
2004-2008

  • Stephen Amish
  • Alicia Boswell
  • Paul Griffin
  • Jason Hicks
  • David Hoover
  • Sarah Malick
  • Cody Massing
  • Shawn Meagher
  • Suzanne Nagi
  • Mike O’Brien
  • Stanislaw Pagacz
  • Alexander Powell
  • Beth Raboin
  • Sarah Seidel
  • Tucker Seitz
  • Sarah Sells
  • Kevin Sterling
  • Tanguy Valois
  • Lindsey Wander
  • Christina Wells

Snowshoe hare and Lynx Crew
1999-2004

  • Michael Black Wolf
  • Shauna Brosnan
  • Michelle Brown
  • Cole Burton
  • James Dwyer
  • Erin Fairbank
  • Julie Fuller
  • Suzanne Griffin
  • Sarah Guertz
  • Erin Inkley
  • Molly Jacky
  • Kevin Fairhurst
  • Kenda Kitchen
  • Amy Krause
  • Allison Landro
  • Luc Pouderoux
  • Don Merritt
  • Jesse Newby
  • Nathan Olson
  • Rachelle Owen
  • Ed Pappenburg
  • Kristina Pilgrim
  • Michael Sawaya
  • Christena Schiller
  • Kristena Smucker
  • Kate Soetaert
  • Kevin Sterling
  • Luke Stevens
  • Nathan Stone
  • Carl Waroquiers
  • Brian Wilson
  • Kendra Womack