Humboldt State University

William “Tim” Bean, Ph.D.

707 826 3658
tim.bean@humboldt.edu

Graduate Students

Porcupine Paw

I am actively seeking new graduate students. If you have demonstrable experience in the field, and experience or interest in using GIS and remote sensing to improve wildlife management, please e-mail an introductory statement and your CV. I currently have an active research program on giant kangaroo rats in central California, and am establishing additional research on spatial ecology in northern California, including work with porcupines, white-footed-voles and mountain beaver, as well as protected area effectiveness. I would be thrilled to work with other taxa, but I am primarily interested in working with students whose research interests require a spatial component to their work.

Pairsa Belamaric

Pairsa Belamaric

California’s north coast has long been home to the North American porcupine, but anecdotal evidence tells us populations are declining in this region. Being an understudied species in western coastal areas – very little is known about how porcupines use local resources or how extirpation may affect coastal dune systems. Previous work in the Bean lab has focused on resource selection and seasonal diet patterns of porcupines in Tolowa Dunes State Park. My research interests are broadly focused on the interactions between mammalian herbivores and plants. Specifically, what drives selection in herbivores and how foraging decisions shape plant community structure and composition. So moving forward in the Tolowa Dunes State Park study system, I hope to apply these interests and contribute to a better understanding of the direct and/or indirect effects porcupine foraging may have on coastal dune forest ecosystems.

Adam Mohr

Adam Mohr

Important spatial ecology questions remain unanswered for two subspecies of elk in California, the Roosevelt and tule elk. For my thesis work I’m studying how these unique elk populations balance the need for forage, water, predator avoidance, and respond to human land-use. I’ll be using a resource selection function framework to determine how these factors influence habitat selection and how habitat selection varies seasonally. My goal is to assist wildlife managers better understand how these elk populations use their environments and to map areas of high habitat suitability.




Jennie Jones Scherbinski

Jennie Jones Scherbinski

My interest in wildlife conservation has been clear ever since founding the Endangered Species Club in the third grade. After completing my undergraduate degree at University of Colorado, Boulder, I pursued my interest in endangered species while spending 6 years working for the California Condor Recovery Program. Working with the condors, only furthered my passion to work with imperiled wildlife and sparked a particular interest in finding adaptive ways for humans and wildlife to coexist and even benefit from sharing the landscape. For my thesis, I will be studying a very different endangered species, the Point Arena Mountain Beaver (PAMB). Despite being the most primitive living rodent, limited research has been done on mountain beavers and this California endemic subspecies is now threatened with extinction. My focus will be studying biological and ecological variables to help understand the best ways to manage a mixed use landscape for PAMB conservation. I am eager to study the habits of these elusive animals and hopefully contribute to their recovery.

Alyssa Semerdjian

Alyssa Semerdjian

After graduating from Cal Poly, SLO I worked for a couple of animal behavior studies before turning my attention to small mammal trapping projects. Small mammals make appealing study subjects due to their relatively large numbers and trapability. They play very important but understated roles in their environments and a multitude of ecological questions can be answered using them as subjects (plus they’re totally cute). I am thrilled to be working the giant kangaroo rats (GKR), an important ecosystem engineer in California’s central valley. For my Masters I will be re-mapping GKR’s species range and hopefully investigating the some of the factors that influence GKR populations and the surrounding small mammal community.

Sarah Schooler

Sarah Schooler

My undergraduate work at University of Washington (Graduated Cum Laude with a dual honors degree in Environmental Studies (BA) and Environmental Science and Resource Management (BS) with a minor in Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences) included wide-ranging research from the influence of stream modifications on bats to predation of grizzly bears on salmon. I followed my interests to Alaska to work on a long-term salmon research project, which jump-started my professional career. I have worked on many different projects studying sandhill and whooping cranes in Wisconsin, wildlife disease in Michigan, and salmon spawning in Eastern Washington. I am especially interested in animal behavior, spatial modeling, and population genetics especially when applied to large carnivores and predator-prey dynamics. I hope to continue after getting my Masters to a PhD in large carnivore movements and relatedness using genetics.

My research follows my interests to study the impacts of predation and predator communities on coffee berry borer in Kenya. I use ground-breaking spatial modeling techniques to more accurately determine natural pest control strategies for coffee farmers in Kenya in the future. I am also interested in involving farmers and Kenyan communities to inform my research. Additionally, I spent a semester working in the Wildlife Stockroom and I currently work as a graduate assistant helping in classes.

Ivy Widick

Ivy Widick

Thesis Topic: Assessing biotic and abiotic limits to species distributions under climate change scenarios and comparing niche overlap of isolated populations of an endangered rodent

I grew up in Southern Indiana and earned my Bachelor’s degree in wildlife at Purdue University. My undergraduate research focused on microhabitat use by Peromyscus species in an agricultural landscape. After graduating, I stayed at Purdue to work on various research projects in multiple departments including wildlife, forestry, and entomology.

I am currently studying the limitations to giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens) distribution under climate change scenarios and comparing niche overlap of isolated populations. My field sites are in the Ciervo Panoche Natural Area, but my analysis will incorporate populations to the South in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. I hope to inform future management of this endangered rodent by improving the predictive accuracy of species distribution models with the inclusion of local adaptation and biotic interactions.

Lab Alumni

Nathan Alexander

Nathan Alexander

I am primarily interested in researching small mammals and small mammal communities. I am particularly interested in how small mammals interact with their environment and how genetics can be a complementary study to understand connectivity and population division. I attribute this primarily to either “The Rescuers,” where there is an international mouse convention, “Fival Goes West,” about the dispersal of a mouse from the east, or “The Secret of Nimh” where there are complex dispersal strategies and movement through the environment.

For my Masters, I am studying the genetic structuring and connectivity of giant kangaroo rat (GKR; Dipodomys ingens) populations in the Ciervo Panoche Natural Area. In addition to comparing connectivity models, I am looking at how landscape features influence GKR movement. Hopefully, this will provide a useful step in understanding the metapopulation dynamics of this endangered species persisting in this uniquely complex habitat.

Cara Appel

Cara Appel

For my thesis research, I am studying resource selection of North American porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) in a coastal dune ecosystem. Porcupines are an understudied species—especially in temperate, coastal areas—and anecdotal evidence suggests that their populations are declining in California and elsewhere. Furthermore, from a theoretical ecology perspective, porcupines play an interesting role as facultative specialist herbivores, and studying their diet and habitat selection may help us understand more about limits to species distributions. For my field work radio-tracking porcupines at Tolowa Dunes State Park, you can find me variously climbing trees, perfecting my porcupine tail-grab technique, slogging through willow thickets, and eating thimbleberries.

Sharon Dulava

Sharon Dulava

After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, I began working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Inventory & Monitoring Initiative. I got to work with biologists and land managers in a wide array of habitats in California, Nevada, and Alaska. I plan to work with USFWS staff to evaluate the use of unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., drones) for monitoring nesting and migratory waterbirds on National Wildlife Refuges. I hope to develop an efficient, streamlined process for analyzing waterbird imagery that will allow wildlife managers to monitor species safely and cost-effectively all while minimizing the risk of disturbance.