Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Mr. Alex Silvis

Coring trees in Kentucky.


  • MS The Ohio State University 2011
  • BS Wittenberg University 2008


Prior to joining the VCFWRU, I worked for the Ohio State University and the USDA Forest Service. I have a broad background in ecology, and have been involved with projects on a variety of topics and subjects, including wood turtles, caves, and prescribed fire. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D.

Research Interests

Together with Dr. W. Mark Ford and Dr. Eric R. Britzke, I am researching the effects of a hierarchical and spatially differential roost site disturbance on the fission-fusion dynamic of northern bat (Myotis septentrionalis) maternity colonies. As part of this research we have identified northern bat colonies on the Fort Knox military reservation and subjected them to various roost site disturbance treatments. We are currently in the process of assessing how these disturbance treatments have affected colony non-random social assortment and space use. Our goal is to use these results to improve bat management and to assist in the recovery of bat populations following white-nose syndrome. Additional topics that have been or will be addressed in this project include colony relatedness, characteristics of day-roost cavities, and the relationship of forest stand successional characteristics to northern bat day-roost preference.

Teaching Interests

I enjoy teaching, and have served as a teaching assistant for wildland fire management and mammalogy courses. In the Spring of 2014 I co-taught a course on R programming methods for data analysis in natural resources. Additionally, I have participated in a number of non-technical outreach programs designed to enhance appreciation of wildlife and other natural resources.

Research Publications

  • Austin, L., A. Silvis, W.M. Ford, K.E. Powers and M. Muthersbaugh. 2017. Bat Activity Following Restoration Prescribed Burning in the Central Appalachian Upland and Riparian Habitats. Natural Areas Journal 38:183-195
  • Diggins, C.A., A. Silvis, C.A. Kelly and W.M. Ford. 2016. Home range, den selection, and habitat use of Carolina northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus). Wildlife Research 44:427-437(
  • St. Germain, M.J., A.B. Kniowski, A. Silvis and W.M. Ford. 2017. Who Knew? First Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) Maternity Colony in the Coastal Plain of Virginia. Northeastern Naturalist 24:N5-N10.
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  • Analysis and Programming in R for Fish and Wildlife Conservation (2014)

Technical Publications

  • Kniowski, A., S. Gehrt and A. Silvis. 2012. Migratory flight paths of Lasiurine bats along Lake Erie. Technical Report. Submitted to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. 40pp.
  • E. Toman, D.M. Hix, P.C. Goebel, S. Gehrt, R. Wilson, J. Sherry, A. Silvis, P. Nyamai, R. Williams. In Review.
    Synthesis of knowledge for hazardous fuels reduction in mixed red pine and eastern white pine forests in the
    Northern Lake States. Newton Square, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station General Technical
  • E. Toman, D.M. Hix, P.C. Goebel, S. Gehrt, R. Wilson, J. Sherry, A. Silvis, P. Nyamai, R. Williams, S. McCaffrey. 2011. Fuel treatments in mixed-pine forests in the Great Lakes Region: A comprehensive guide to planning and implementation. Final Project Report (project number 09-2-01-22). Joint Fire Science Program. Columbus, OH: The School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University. 14 p.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 10

Phd Students: 4

Post Docs: 3

University Staff: 2

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 13

Scientific Publications: 72

Presentations: 118


Contact Information


Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  2. U.S. Geological Survey
  3. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  4. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  5. Wildlife Management Institute