Conservation Biogeography
Current Students and Postdocs

David C. Hille - Ph.D.

I am enthralled with the world of avian ecology, conservation biology, and biogeography. I currently apply these research interests in the context of the Neotropics of Central America, where I have spent a transformative portion of my life. I study the population trends and related conservation questions of the avian family Psittacidae (parrots, parakeets, and macaws) in the country of Nicaragua. In addition to knowing what is occurring with the populations of these 16 species I am interested in questions such as: What is the cause of the determined population trends? Does Nicaragua's protected areas system efficiently protect the species of highest conservation concern? Based on species distributions and conservation inadequacies, which regions of the country warrant the greatest conservation attention. My goals are to greater understand the population dynamics of these magnificent neotropical birds under constant anthropogenic threat and pressure and to investigate how conservation efforts and management strategies can best be implemented by local government agencies and NGOs. I have a B.A. in Biology from Northwest Nazarene University and a M.S. in Biology from University of Oklahoma.

Emily A. Hjalmarson - Ph.D.

I joined the lab in the fall semester of 2013 after completing my undergraduate studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. I am interested in spatial and landscape ecology, such as how organisms use their habitats and why certain species assemblage patterns exist in that environment. I have a passion for avian ecology both professionally and recreationally, along with a newly developed interest in the ecology of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata). My dissertation research involves questions of habitat use by Odonata across spatial extents, from geograpic to landscape to local, in Oklahoma. For the analyses, I am using a combination of GIS, spatial statistics, and modeling skill sets that I continue to build. I use these analyses to challenge predictions drawn from specific hypotheses about space use and resource partitioning among species of Odonata.

Diane V. Roeder (née Landoll) - Ph.D.Diane

I am interested in life history strategies in birds, particularly as they relate to breeding biology and paternity. I am currently working on life history and breeding strategies of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus).  My dissertation work centers on how extra-pair paternity is related to factors at each level of biological organization.  These factors include individual morphology and flight, breeding population characteristics, habitat, and environmental conditions (i.e. weather patterns). My goal is to build a model that sets extra-pair paternity in the context of each of these predictors together to determine how interactions among factors shape paternity behavior.  I am also partnering with graduate students from several other universities to address survival and breeding site fidelity, anti-predator behavior, and hybridization with the Western Kingbird (T. verticalis) and habitat selection at the edges of their distribution. I am member of the working group Aves Internacionales, which began as  a genus-wide, transcontinental comparison of life history and migration strategies in the genus Tyrannus.  If you would like to see in more detail what I am doing, please visit my website.

Maryanne Dantzler-Kyer - M.Sc.

After completing my undergraduate degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, I was excited to learn more about, and contribute to, the worlds of conservation and community ecology. I joined the lab in the fall of 2015 as a newcomer to all things avian. Currently, I am interested in habitat selection of Neotropical migrants, specifically patterns of selection between their breeding and wintering grounds. I plan to focus on determining if these birds select habitat with similar microclimate and vegetation structure in both locations (probably southeastern Oklahoma vs. northwestern Belize, but exact study sites remain to be established).

Amy E. Adams - Ph.D.

In Fall 2015 I joined the OU Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Ph.D program, co-advised by Dr. Michael Patten and Dr. Ken Hobson. I graduated from the University of New Mexico in Spring 2015 with a B.S. in Conservation Biology, summa cum laude. As an undergraduate, I became interested in what determines species distributions and abundances, which led to research and work experiences involving Great Barrier Reef dinoflagellates and invertebrates, Panamanian rainforests, New Mexican endangered species and forest-dwelling arthropods, and a Colorado grass-endophyte association. Currently I am interested the population ecology and nutrient contributions of insects (e.g. through frass), so I am working with Midwestern populations of a defoliating moth called Hyphantria cunea (Fall Webworm).

Nate DeAngelis - M.Sc.

My thesis research fits into the lab's Lesser Prairie-Chicken project. I hope to inform the Range-wide Conservation Plan for the species' recovery with a study of the mechanisms behind avoidance behavior, specifically around power lines. I will examine the roles of both ultraviolet radiation that leaks from the lines and sound disturbance from the lines, created by the near-perpetual winds of western Oklahoma. My findings could lead to new mitigation and conservation measures to ensure that further habitat loss is minimal.

Former Students and Postdocs


Claire M. Curry - Ph.D., 2014; post doc at University of Manitoba
David C. Hille - M.Sc., 2014
Daniel E. Dusang - M.Sc., 2011
Lauren A. Wilkerson - M.Sc., 2011


Christin L. Pruett; Assistant Professor, Tabor College, Kansas
Eyal Shochat; Academic Manager, Yeruham Center of Ecology and Ornithology
Lena C. Larsson; Assistant Director, Sutton Avian Research Center

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