Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Wyoming People

Federal Staff

Dr. Anna Chalfoun holding a Brewer's Sparrow

Anna Chalfoun Assistant Unit Leader Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/anna-chalfoun Tel: (307) 766 - 6966

Anna holds a BA degree in Biology from Smith College, an MS in Wildlife Biology and Conservation Biology from the University of Missouri, and a PhD in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana, mentored by Dr. Tom Martin. After a brief post-doctoral period with Dr. Craig Benkman at the University of Wyoming in 2007, Anna joined the faculty at the University of Wyoming as a Research Scientist in 2008. She was hired as the Assistant Unit Leader for Wildlife at the Wyoming Unit in 2011. Anna’s work has focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying animal habitat selection at multiple spatial scales, the contexts under which habitat choices are adaptive, life history strategies including parental care behaviors, and the influence of anthropogenic habitat change on non-game wildlife.

Dr. Matthew Kauffman

Matthew Kauffman Unit Leader Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/matt-kauffman Tel: (307) 766 - 6404

Dr. Kauffman grew up in rural southern Oregon, the son of a horse logger and an elementary schoolteacher. He received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Oregon in 1992 and his Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2003. Kauffman is a wildlife biologist with a broad organismal background. He has worked across a number of ecological disciplines, blending traditional fieldwork with ecological models to address conservation and management issues.

Dr. Annika Walters

Annika Walters Assistant Unit Leader Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/annika-walters Tel: (307) 766 - 5473

Annika joined the Wyoming unit in 2011. Prior to that Annika was a post-doctoral researcher at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has a BA in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University and a MS and PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from Yale University. Annika's research has focused on aquatic ecosystems and how these ecosystems are altered by natural and anthropogenic disturbance.

University Staff

Samantha Dwinnell

Samantha Dwinnell Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/samantha-dwinnell

Like most wildlife researchers, Samantha Dwinnell is an adventurer at heart. After receiving a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota – Duluth in 2007, Sam embarked on the expected departure from the flat prairies of the Midwest to the granite slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Her broad interests in wildlife ecology and desire for exploring different systems carried her through seven years of working on a variety of wildlife research projects throughout the Intermountain West. Among her experiences, the most notable in molding her career were those affiliated with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. She began her career with the WY Coop in 2008 as a field technician assisting with research investigating the effects of energy development on songbird communities in western Wyoming. She then segued into another position within the WY Coop where she assisted with research studying the influence of backcountry recreation on habitat selection of bighorn sheep in Grand Teton National Park. Projects like these allowed Sam to develop her research interests in applied ecology while simultaneously satiating her need for adventure.

Sophie Miller

Greg Nickerson

Gregory Nickerson Website: http://www.migrationinitiative.org/content/who-we-are

Greg is a writer and flimmaker for the Wyoming Migration Initiative. He works to inform and educate the public about migration research, with a special focus on researching the human stories surrounding wildlife migration. Originally from Big Horn, Wyoming, he's a lifelong hunter of migratory elk in the Meeteetse and Wapiti area, and has worked as a mule deer and elk guide for the Darwin Ranch in the Gros Ventre Mountains. His first documentary for Wyoming PBS chronicled the art of Thomas Moran and the photography of William Henry Jackson on the 1871 Hayden expedition to Yellowstone, which led Congress to set aside the area as America's first national park. In 2013, he won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy as an associate producer with History Making Productions for a film about the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. From 2010-2015 he was a contributor and staff journalist for the online news site WyoFile.com, where he covered Wyoming state government and the University of Wyoming, including several stories on UW's migration research on mule deer and bighorn sheep. Greg holds a M.A. in history of the American West from the University of Wyoming and a B.A. magna cum laude from Carleton College.

Bill Rudd

William Rudd

Kimmie Takaki

Students and Post Docs

Ellen Aikens

Ellen Aikens Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/ellen-aikens

Ellen is currently working on her PhD through the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming.

Samantha Alford

Gabe Barrile

Gabriel Barrile Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/gabe-barrile

Gabe graduated from Bloomsburg University, PA in 2013, majoring in Biology. His undergraduate research focused on life-history trait evolution in Fowler’s toads (Anaxyrus fowleri ) on several Atlantic Coast barrier islands. Additionally, Gabe compared time-budgeting behavior between captive and free-ranging black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi ). After graduation, he taught marine ecology to middle and high school students at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station near Wallops Island, VA.

Evan Booher

Angela Brennan

Carl Brown

Carl Brown Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/carl-brown

Carl graduated from the University of Montana in 2009, majoring in Wildlife Biology and International Relations. Field projects worked over the last six years have focused on Common Loons, Trumpeter Swans, small mammals, ungulates, and disease throughout Montana and Wyoming. This fall marked the end of a spring banding and summer survey season on Black Rosy-finches in northwest Wyoming. This project was independent to the master program.

Lindsy Ciepiela

Lindsy Ciepiela Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/lindsy-ciepela

Lindsy is a M.S. student in the Zoology and Physiology Department at the University of Wyoming. She is originally from Colorado and received her B.S in Fish Wildlife and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University. Prior to attending the University of Wyoming Lindsy worked throughout Colorado and Alaska with much of her research focusing on movement dynamics of salmonids and catostomids.

Samantha Dwinnell

Samantha Dwinnell Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/samantha-dwinnell

Like most wildlife researchers, Samantha Dwinnell is an adventurer at heart. After receiving a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota – Duluth in 2007, Sam embarked on the expected departure from the flat prairies of the Midwest to the granite slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Her broad interests in wildlife ecology and desire for exploring different systems carried her through seven years of working on a variety of wildlife research projects throughout the Intermountain West. Among her experiences, the most notable in molding her career were those affiliated with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. She began her career with the WY Coop in 2008 as a field technician assisting with research investigating the effects of energy development on songbird communities in western Wyoming. She then segued into another position within the WY Coop where she assisted with research studying the influence of backcountry recreation on habitat selection of bighorn sheep in Grand Teton National Park. Projects like these allowed Sam to develop her research interests in applied ecology while simultaneously satiating her need for adventure.

Michael Hague

Michael Hague Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/michael-hague

Michael graduated from Georgia College in 2008, receiving a BS in Environmental Science. After graduating, he worked as a biological technician for 6 years, where he learned many applicable skills for both field work and study design. In 2014, he accepted a master’s position working in the Chalfoun laboratory at the University of Wyoming, based in the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

Embere Hall

Laura (Embere) Hall Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/embere-hall

Embere has a BS in Wildlife Ecology & Management and an MS in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. She is fascinated by the incredibly diverse ways in which organisms deal with environmental challenges. In particular, she researches the degree to which animals adjust to human-induced environmental change. Her current work examines the ecological effects of climate change, and how wildlife may respond to a changing environment through exploitation of unique habitats or behaviors. Results of her research will contribute to enhanced management programs that can minimize biodiversity loss under rapid climate change.

Matthew Hayes

Matthew Hayes Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/matthew-hayes

Matt is currently a research scientist and PhD student working with Kevin Monteith. Matt grew up in southern Michigan where his family owned an outdoors sporting goods store. From an early age he was introduced to wildlife through hunting and fishing. Shortly after 9/11 occurred, Matt enlisted with the Marine Corps and volunteered to join the infantry. Following deployments that took him from the Pacific to Baghdad, Matt completed his BS in wildlife biology in 2010 and his MS in 2012. Matt’s MS work involved trying to understand the interaction between beavers and riparian vegetation through time.

Brian Hickerson

Brian Hickerson Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/brian-hickerson

Brian is a masters student researching suitable reintroduction and refugia sites for hornyhead chub in the North Platte drainage and the effect of non-native salmonids on chub populations in the Laramie River. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2014 with a degree in Natural Resources with a Fisheries Conservation and Management Emphasis. In the past, Brian has worked in native fish management and research with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During his time with these agencies his work mostly focused on native trout conservation and researching distribution and morphology of gila, headwater, and roundtail chubs.

Katey Huggler

Katey Huggler

Brett Jesmer

Brett Jesmer Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/brett-jesmer

Brett is currently pursuing an Ph.D. in ecology at the University of Wyoming. He grew up in the St. Lawrence River valley of northern New York State and attended the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University (SUNY ESF). During his undergraduate work at SUNY ESF and post baccalaureate research at the University of California, Davis he developed a great breadth of research interests that span the broad ecological sub-disciplines of behavior, nutrition, and demography. While investigating the demographic responses of small mammals to a variety of forest management practices, Brett became interested in the relationship between precipitation, mast cycles, and body condition in predicting rodent population dynamics. These interests have carried over into his Ph.D. work where he is using non-invasive genetic techniques and vegetation monitoring to study the foraging and nutritional ecology of several moose populations exhibiting different demographic trends across Wyoming and Colorado.

Bryan Lamont

Bryan Lamont Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/bryan-lamont-2

While working with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Bryan is pursuing a M.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Wyoming. While Bryan’s past professional endeavors are varied, his interests have always been focused on wildlife ecology and management and education. Bryan grew up in North Carolina and earned his first B.S. from Appalachian State University. After moving west to Colorado and working in the outdoor education arena he realized that working in the wildlife field is where his passion fell. As a result, he returned to school to earn a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. Following his wildlife schooling, he gained a great deal of wildlife experience working with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in Nevada, and through several wildlife research field positions working with bighorn sheep and mule deer. During this time Bryan solidified his desire to work as a state wildlife biologist managing terrestrial species.

Tayler LaSharr

Tayler LaSharr Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/tayler-lasharr

Tayler LaSharr is currently a MSc student in the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming. She grew up in Phoenix and attended the University of Arizona for her undergraduate degree. She graduated with a BSc in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Conservation Biology and a minor in Chemistry in May of 2015. During her time at the University of Arizona, she worked in an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology lab, studying life history tradeoffs in western and mountain bluebirds and effects of aggression in closely related species on habitat and range dynamics. After graduating from the University of Arizona, she worked as a technician on the fawn survival component of the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project before beginning work on her own MSc project in the fall of 2015.

Alex LeCheminant

Alexander LeCheminant Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/alex-lecheminant

Alex LeCheminant is a masters student in the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming.

Prior to attending the University of Wyoming, Alex received his bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Paul Smith’s College in 2012. As an undergrad, Alex worked for the Center for Adirondack Biodiversity, where he researched the potential implications of climate warming on mink frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) ecology and distribution. Since moving to Wyoming in 2013, Alex has spent the last three years working for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department where he has worked as a fisheries management technician, and most recently a spawn crew technician.

Elizabeth Mandeville

Elizabeth Mandeville

Alex May

Alexander May Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/alex-may

Alex May enjoys the trials and elation from wildlife research, having been seasonally employed for six years prior to beginning his Master’s project. He has worked with insects, cougars, marten, Kodiak bears, wolves, pika, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey, sage grouse, great blue heron, trumpeter swans, leopards, black bears, pronghorn, mule deer, and wolverines. Moose are now the central component of his fieldwork and computer menagerie. He enjoys that his project has both applied management and ecology components. Most of his preferred recreational activities are just differing means of conveyance to see animals.

Jerod Merkle

Jerod Merkle Website: http://jamerkleresearch.wordpress.com/

Jerod has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Arizona (2006), a M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana (2011), and a Ph.D. in Biology from Université Laval, Québec (2014). His research mainly focuses on understanding foraging ecology and predator-prey dynamics to help develop management plans that minimize human-wildlife conflicts. Jerod has contributed to research on gray wolves, coyotes, black bears, bison, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, moose, and caribou.

Anna Ortega

Benjamin Robb

Patrick Rodgers

Lindsey Sanders

Lindsey Sanders Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/lindsey-sanders Tel: (307) 766 - 2091

Originally from California, Lindsey received her B.S. from UC Berkeley in Environmental Science. Since graduating, Lindsey has worked on a variety of wildlife projects across the western US, including researching endangered piping plovers and least terns on the Missouri River, American pika habitat use in Wyoming’s Wind River mountains, Sierra Nevada red fox population distribution, and woodpecker habitat selection in burned forests of northern California.

Tayler Scherr

Richard Walker

Richard Walker Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/richard-walker

Richard is a doctoral student in the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming. His research interests cover a broad spectrum within the field of aquatic ecology, ranging from population and community ecology, conservation biology to ecosystem processes. His current research focuses on understanding the individual and interactive effects of multiple stressors on ecological responses in headwater streams. In particular, he is trying to better understand the effects of stressors associated with oil and natural gas development, livestock grazing, and natural variability in hydrology on fish physiology and immunology, as well as the quality and quantity of fish food resources, and the implications for freshwater fish populations.

Travis Zaffarano

Travis Zaffarano Website: http://wyocoopunit.org/people/travis-zaffarano

Travis earned his BS in wildlife and fisheries biology and management from the University of Wyoming in 2008. He spent several years contributing to research projects for both state management agencies and university research programs.

 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 19

Phd Students: 3

Post Docs: 4

University Staff: 5

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 18

Scientific Publications: 46

Presentations: 76

 

Contact Us

Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Laramie, WY 82071-3166 Phone: (307) 766 - 5415 Fax: (307) 766 - 5400 Our University Web Site

Unit Leader

Matthew Kauffman
Dr. Matthew Kauffman

Dr. Kauffman grew up in rural southern Oregon, the son of a horse logger and an elementary schoolteacher. He received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Oregon in 1992 and his Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2003. Kauffman is a wildlife biologist with a broad organismal background. He has worked across a number of ecological disciplines, blending traditional fieldwork with ecological models to address conservation and management issues.

Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

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