Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Dr. Melanie Culver

Research Publications

  • John A. Erwin, Karla Vargas, Brian R. Blais, Kendell Bennett, Julia Muldoon, Sarah Findysz, Courtney Christie, James R. Heffelfinger, Melanie Culver. 2018. Genetic assessment of a bighorn sheep population expansion in the Silver Bell Mountains, Arizona. Peer J, DOI 10.7717/peerj.5978
  • Fitak RR, Rinkevich S, and M Culver. 2018. Genome-wide analysis of SNPs is consistent with no domestic dog ancestry in the endangered Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi). Journal of Heredity, 109(4):372-383. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esy009.
  • Dominguez-Contreras JF, Munguia-Vega A, Ceballos-Vasquez BP, Arellano-Martinez M, Garcia-Rodriguez FJ, Culver M and H. Reyes-Bonilla. 2018. Life histories predict genetic diversity and population structure within three species of octopus targeted by small-scale fisheries in Northwest Mexico. PeerJ 6:e4295
  • Ochoa, A, Onorato, DP, Fitak, RR, Roelke-Parker, ME and M. Culver. 2017. Evolutionary and functional mitogenomics associated with the genetic restoration of the Florida panther. J. Heredity, 1-7, doi:10.1093/jhered/esx015
  • Ochoa A, Wells SA, West G, Al-Smadi M, Redondo, SA Sexton SR, Culver M. 2016. Can captive populations function as sources of genetic variation for reintroductions into the wild? A case study of the Arabian oryx from the Phoenix Zoo and the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, Jordan. Conservation Genetics 17(5)1145–1155
  • Cassaigne I, Medellin RA, Thompson RW, Culver M, Ochoa A, Vargas K, Childs JL, Sanderson J, List R, Torres-Gomez A. 2016. Diet of pumas (Puma concolor) in Sonora, Mexico as determined by GPS kill sites and molecular identifies scat, with comments on jaguar (Panthera onca) diet. Southwest Naturalist 61(2)125-132 dog: 10.1894/0038-4909-61.2.125
  • Culver M and A. Ochoa Hein. 2016. Jaguar taxonomy and genetic diversity for southern Arizona, U.S. and Sonora, Mexico. Final Report submitted to USFWS (contract F12PX02072).
  • Erwin JA, Fitak RR, Dwyer JF, Morrison JL, Culver M. 2016. Molecular detection and prevalence of bacteria in the families Rikettsiaccae and Anaplasmataccae in northern crested caracaras (Caracara cheriway). Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 7(3):470-4 doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2016.01.015
  • Culver M. 2016. Jaguar Surveying and Monitoring in the United States. Final Completion Report for USFWS Contract Number F11PXO5778.
  • Edwards T, Vaughn M, Rosen P, Melendez Torres C, Karl AE, Culver M and RW Murphy. 2016. Shaping species with ephemeral boundaries, the distribution and genetic structure of desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) in the Sonoran Desert. J of Biogeography 43(3)484-497 doi: 10.1111/jbi.12664
  • Edwards T, Tollis M, Hsieh P-H, Gutenkunst R, Liu Z, Ksumi K, Culver M, Murphy RW. 2016. Assessing models of speciation under different biogeographic scenarios; an empirical study using multi-locus and RNA-seq analyses. Ecology and Evolution 6(2):379-96. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1865
  • Fitak RR, Naidu A, Thompson RW and M Culver. 2015. PumaPlex 1.0: a new panel of SNP markers for the genetic management of North American pumas. Submitted to Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management.
  • Vaughn EE, Morrison JL, Dwyer J, and Culver M. 2015. Development and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers for the crested caracara, Caracara cheriway. Conservation Genetic Resources, 7(1):1877-7252
  • Edwards T, Berry KH, Inman RD, Esque TC, Nussear KE, Jones CA and M Culver. 2015. Testing taxon tenacity of tortoises: Evidence for a geographical-selection gradient at a secondary contact zone. Ecology and Evolution, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1500
  • Klimova A, Munguia-Vega A, Hoffman JI, and Culver M. 2014. Genetic diversity and historical demography of two endangered captive pronghorn subspecies from the Sonoran Desert. Journal of Mammalogy, DOI: 10.1644/13-MAMM-A-321
  • Dominguez-Contreras JF, Munguia-Vega A, Ceballos-Vasquez BP, Arellano-Martinez M, Culver M. 2014. Characterization of microsatellite loci from two-spotted octopus Octopus bimaculatus Verrill 1883 from pyrosequencing reads. Conservation Genet Resour 6:465 doi:10.1007/s12686-013-0128-x
  • Fitak RR, Koprowski JL, and Culver M. 2013. Severe reduction in genetic variation in a montane isolate: the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis). Conservation Genetics, DOI 10.1007/s10592-013-0511-x
  • Munguia-Vega A, Klimova A, Culver M. 2013. New microsatellite loci isolated via next-generation sequencing for two endangered pronghorn from the Sonoran Desert. Conservation Genetic Resources. DOI 10.1007/s12686-012-9749-8
  • Munguia-Vega A, Rodriguez-Estrella R, Shaw WW, Culver M. 2013. Localized extinction of an arboreal desert lizard caused by habitat fragmentation. Biological Conservation 157:11-20.
  • Quijada-Mascarenas A, van Riper III C, James DJ, Lopez-Hoffman L, Sharp C, Gimblett R, Scott ML, Norman LM, Medellin R, Callegary JB, List R, Wallace CSA, Holm P, Glenn E, Leenhouts J, Esque T, Culver M, Webb R, Steidl RJ, Villarreal ML, Nagler P, Lackner W, Sturm M, Castillo-Gamez R, and Ceballos G. 2012. An ecosystem approach for developing an environmental monitoring program for the US/Mexico Border Region. In: de la Parra C.A., A. Cordova & E. Petersn (Eds) The Border Wall: Venues, Mechanisms and Stakeholders for a Constructive Dialogue Between the United States and Mexico. INE/El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Mexico. -
  • Highton R , Hastings AP, Palmer C, Watt Rs, Hass CA, Culver M, and SJ Arnold. 2012. Concurrent Speciation in the Eastern Woodland Salamanders (Genus Plethodon): DNA Sequences of the Complete Albumin and Partial 12s Mitochondrial Genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 71:127-141
  • Naidu A, Fitak RR, Munguia-Vega A, and M Culver. 2012. Novel PCR primers for complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequencing in mammals. Molecular Ecology Resources
    12(2):191-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2011.03078.x
  • Culver M, Schwartz M. 2011. Conservation Genetics and Cougar Menegement. In: Managing Cougars in North America. Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Cougar Working Group and Jack H. Berryman Institute Press, pp 91-109.
  • Culver M, Fitak R, Herrmann H-W. 2011. Genetic Methods for Biodiversity Assessment. In: Biological Diversity: Frontiers in Measurement and Assessment, pp 208-218. Oxford University Press.
  • Naidu A, Smythe LA, Thompson RW, and M Culver. 2011. Genetic analysis of scats reveals minimum number and sex of recently documented mountain lions. J of Fish and Wildlife Management 2(1)
  • Nicholson KL, Krausman PR, Munguia-Vega A, and Culver M. 2011. Spatial and temporal interactions of sympatric mountain lions in Arizona. European Journal of Wildlife Management, DOI: 10.1007/s10344-011-0528-8 Abstract | 
  • Ramirez J, Munguia-Vega A and M Culver. 2011. Isolation of microsatellite loci from the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbuenae). Conservation Genetic Resources, 3:327-329.
  • Culver M. 2010. Lessons and insights from evolution, taxonomy, and conservation genetics. In: Cougar Ecology and Conservation. Maurice Hornocker and Sharon Negri eds. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
  • Culver M, Driscoll C, Eizirik E, G Spong. 2010 Genetic Applications in Wild Felids. In: Felid Biology and Conservation. Oxford University Press, pp 107-123
  • Macias-Duarte, A., C. J. Conway, A. Munguia-Vega, and M. Culver. 2010. Novel Microsatellite Loci for the Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia. Conservation Genetics Resources 2:67-69.
  • Culver M, Varas C, Harveson PM, McKinney B, Harveson LA. 2009. Connecting wildlife habitats across the U.S.-Mexico border. In: Making Conservation Work Across the U.S.-Mexico Border. Edited by Laura Lopez-Hoffman, Emily D. McGovern, Robert Varady, and Karl W. Flessa. The Edge Environmental Science, Law, and Policy Series. The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp 83-99.
  • Munguia-Vega A, Rheude M, Culver M. 2009. Ten new microsatellite loci for the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis). Conservation Genetics Resources. DOI 10.1007/s12686-009-9101-0
  • Munguia-Vega A, Pelz-Serrano K, Goode M, Culver M. 2009. Eleven new microsatellite loci for the tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris). Molecular Ecology Resources, 9:1267-1270.
  • Pelz-Serrano K, Munguia-Vega A, Piaggio AJ, Neubaum M, Munclinger P, van Riper C III, Culver M, 2009. Development of nine new microsatellite loci for the American beaver, Castor Canadensis (Rodentia: Castoridae), and cross-species amplification in the European beaver, Castor fiber. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:551-554.
  • Munguia-Vega A, Rodriguez-Estrella R, Nachman MW, Shaw W, Culver M. 2009. Habitat loss and fragmentation in the Sonoran desert and its impact on the genetic structure and extinction risk of the Baja California endemic black-tailed brush lizard (Urosaurus nigricaudus). Sonoran Herpetologist 20:12-15.
  • Johnson, J.A., Tingay, R.A., Culver, M., Hailer, F., Clarke, M.L., Mindell, D.P. 2009. Long-term survival despite low genetic variability in the critically endangered Madagascar fish-eagle. Molecular Ecology, 18:54-63.
  • Munguia-Vega, A., Rodriguez-Estrella, R., Nachman, M., Culver, M. 2009. Polymorphic microsatellite loci for the sand pocket mouse Chaetodipus arenarius, and endemic from the Baja California Peninsula. Molecular Ecology Resources, 9:305-307.
  • Culver, M., P. W. Hedrick, K. Murphy, S. J. O'Brien, M. G. Hornocker. 2008. Estimation of bottleneck size in Florida panthers. Animal Conservation, 11:104-110.
  • Moncrief, N.D., R.A. Van Den Bussche, R.D. Dueser, N.E. Cockett, D. Loftis and M. Culver. 2008. Diagnostic genetic marker that differentiates eastern fox squirrels from eastern gray squirrels. J. Wildlife Management, 72(1):320-323.
  • Shaw, H.G., Beier, P., Culver, M., and Grigione, M. 2007. Puma Field Guide. A guide covering the Biological Considerations, General Life History, identification, Assessment, and Management of Puma concolor. The Cougar Network
  • Tingay, R. E., M. Culver and R. Watson. 2007. Using molecular sexing to assess field-based techniques for gender assignment in the Madagascar fish-eagle. J. of Raptor Res, 41(1)45-49.
  • Varas, C., C. Gonzalez Lopez, J. Ramirez, P. Krausman and M. Culver. 2007. Population structure of black bears in northern Mexico. In: Borders, Boundaries, and Time Scales, Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Research and Resource Management in the Southwest Deserts, Extended Abstracts: December 2006, pp. 80-82.
  • Varas, C., P. Krausman, J. Ramirez, S. Cunnimgham and M. Culver. 2007. Genetic variability in black bears in the Four Peaks area, Tonto National Forest, AZ. In: Borders, Boundaries, and Time Scales, Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on Research and Resource Management in the Southwest Deserts, Extended Abstracts: December 2006, pp. 78-80.
  • Tingay, R. E., Dawson, D. A., Pandhal, J., Clarke, M. L., David, V., Hailer, F., and M. Culver. 2007. Isolation of 22 new Haliaeetus microsatellite loci and their characterisation in the critically endangered Madagascar fish-eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides) and three other Haliaeetus eagle species. Molecular Ecology Notes, doi: 10. 1111/j. 1471-8286. 2007. 01690. x
  • Culver M. 2006. Puma phylogeography and how genetics is applied to identifying the eastern puma. Proceedings of the Eastern Cougar Conference, 2004, pp. 114-116.
  • Culver, M. 2006. A Primer of Conservation Genetics. Richard Frankham, Jonathan D. Ballou, and David A. Briscoe. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK. Journal of Wildlife Management, 70(1):301
  • Palmer, G. C., M. Culver, B. R. Murphy, E. M. Hallerman and N. Billington. 2006. Genetic markers show distinct walleye stocks in Claytor Lake and the Upper New River, Virginia. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Haynes, L., Hackl, C. Z., and M. Culver. 2005. Wild cats of the sky islands: a summary of monitoring efforts using noninvasive techniques. In: Gottfried GJ, Gebow BS, Eskew LG, Edminster CB, compilers. Connecting Mountain Islands and Desert Seas: Biodiversity and Management of the Madrean Archipelago II, Proceedings RMRS-P-36, pp. 185-188.
  • Culver, M. 2005. Genetic Variation, Gene Flow and Population Identification for North American Pumas. In: The Eastern Cougar, Chris Bolgiano and Jerry Roberts (eds. ), Stackpole Books, pp142-149.
  • Jones, J. W., M. Culver, V. David, J. Struthers, N. Johnson, R. J. Neves, S. J. O'Brien, and E. M. Hallerman. 2004. Development and characterization of microsatellite loci in the endangered oystermussel Epioblasma capsaeformis (Bivalvia Unionidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 10:1-4.
  • Tingay, R., M. Culver, E. M. Hallerman, J. D. Fraser and R. T. Watson. 2002. Subordinate males sire offspring in Madagascar fish-eagle (Haliaeetus voiciferoides) polyandrous breeding groups. Journal of Raptor Research 36:280-286
  • Johnson,W., O'Brien,S.J., and Culver,M. 2001. Small Cats. In: The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Edited by David MacDonald. Barnes and Noble Books, New York, pp 32-37.
  • Culver, M., M. A. Menotti-Raymond and S. J. O'Brien. 2001. Patterns of size homoplasy at 10 microsatellite loci in pumas (Puma concolor). Molecular Biology and Evolution 18:1151-1156.
  • Warrillow, J., M. Culver, E. Hallerman and M. Vaughan. 2001. Subspecific affinity of black bears in the White River National Wildlife Refuge. Journal of Heredity 92:226-233.
  • Culver M, Johnson WE, Pecon-Slattery J and SJ O'Brien. 2000. Genomic ancestry of the American puma (Puma concolor). J. of Heredity, 91(3)186-197.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 9

Phd Students: 1

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 43

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 21

Scientific Publications: 48

Presentations: 95


Contact Us

Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Tucson, AZ 85721-0001 Phone: (520) 621 - 1959 Fax: (520) 621 - 8801 Our University Web Site

Unit Leader

Scott Bonar
Dr. Scott A. Bonar

Originally from Mt. Vernon Indiana, attended University of Evansville in Indiana (BS Science Education), then Ph.D. at University of Washington in Seattle. Managed inland fish research program at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for almost 10 yrs. before coming to the USGS Arizona Coop Unit.

Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Arizona Game Fish Department
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Arizona
  5. Wildlife Management Institute