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My research focuses primarily on the ecology, conservation, and life history of amphibians and reptiles, predominantly turtles and pit-vipers.  My research spans a multidisciplinary approach to understanding these foci ranging from population ecology, demographics, spatial ecology, behavior, thermal biology, physiology, population genetics, and wildlife disease.  For my larger long-term projects, I integrate this multidisciplinary approach to achieve conservation goals oriented at recovery and maintaining viable populations of imperiled species.

My current projects are:

  • Life History, Ecology, and Conservation of the Eastern Massasauga
  • Reintroduction and Recovery Efforts for the Alligator Snapping Turtle
  • Demography and Viability of the Spotted Turtle
  • Critical Assessment of the Conservation and Recovery Needs of Herpetofauna in Illinois

My past major projects have included:

  • Community Structure and Composition of a Lentic System Turtle Community
  • Ecology and Conservation of the Eastern River Cooter
  • Ecology and Conservation of the Blanding’s Turtle
  • Assessment of Herpetofaunal Communities in the Kankakee Sands Habitats
  • Effects of Flow Rates on the Smooth Softshell in the Kaskaskia River

I am also involved with core work associated with the Illinois Tollway as the program leader for the Urban Biotic Assessment Program which is directed at measures to decrease the impact of road construction on threatened and endangered wildlife species.  This work includes general surveys, compiling mitigation, minimization, and avoidance measures, and assessing these measures pre, during, and post construction.  This work focuses in the heavily urbanized region of northeastern Illinois and includes surveys and monitoring of freshwater mussels, fish, amphibians, and reptiles (soon to include birds and mammals).  

In addition, I do survey work and studies for various forest preserve districts, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and other land management and local government entities. Most of the work is related to the conservation of amphibians and reptile species in greatest conservation need.  To that end, I maintain strong communications and ties to land management agencies in Illinois.

I currently sit on three Illinois Species Recovery Teams: Eastern Massasauga, Blanding’s Turtle, and Alligator Snapping Turtle and work closely with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and United States Army Corps of Engineers on an array of topics.  Finally, I am also a member of the IUCN's Freshwater Turtle and Tortoise and Viper Specialist Groups.

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