PI: Greg Breed (far left)
Cody Deane (Ph.D. Student)
My interests lie in addressing a conundrum often faced by ecologists, "how do we know what we know?" I find myself drawn to many common questions in population ecology or movement ecology, but often I focus on how conclusions were reached, instead of the conclusion themselves. In ecology, there is a perennial conflict between parsimony, unexplained heterogeneity, and different statistical methods when addressing most questions. Moreover, I perceive a disparity between researchers who are developing new statistical methods, especially with Bayesian models, and other researchers who are trying to understand these methods while applying them to their data. Those that are developing the methods have an air of, 'trust us, it works fine,' while others trying to use these methods cross their fingers and wince when hitting the 'Enter' key to execute a model. For my dissertation, I am focused on applying Bayesian models to applied ecological questions, while developing new methods for validating, or increasing our confidence in, Bayesian model results. My long-term goal is to bridge the gap between those that are statistically inclined (i.e.; those that are developing new methods) and those that want to apply these models to applied questions in ecology.
Ben Legasse (Ph.D. Student)
Im interested in the ecology of plants and animals that occur in seasonally dynamic environments; how they respond to short-term, long-term, and cyclical changes in their environment, and how understanding such behaviors can benefit population monitoring and conservation. For my dissertation, Im investigating the migration ecology of Dunlin populations across their Holarctic range; how breeding and nonbreeding environments shape population migration patterns, and how internal factors, such as an individuals migratory flexibility, may enable populations to adapt to environmental change. When not behind a computer, I prefer to be afoot experiencing the forces that shape Alaska and its inhabitants.
Abigal Schiffmiller (M.S. Student)
Janelle Badger (Ph.D. Student)
I am generally interested in using statistical models to investigate how demography, trophic dynamics, and community interactions shape evolutionary change and life history patterns. For my dissertation, I am looking at the relationship between population dynamics, infraspecific competition, and individual variation in life history strategies in grey seals. Currently, I am developing mixed-effects mark-recapture models to describe how population density influences individual variation in multiple measures of reproductive success.
Stefan Awender (Ph.D. Student)
I have interests in complex systems science, nonlinear dynamics, and network structure and functioning with a focus on food web stability. Food webs are ecological networks in which the vertices represent trophospecies and the edges represent interspecific interactions, such as predator-prey relationships. Abstract or general food webs and one particular ecosystem, that which is found in the southern Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean, are studied here. Stability of food webs is impacted by (1) biological variables such as degree of predator mortality or enrichment from primary production, (2) network properties like modularity and stratification, and (3) special characteristics from specialization of individual and unique species.
Matt Cameron (Ph.D. Student)
My research interests lie in understanding how large mammals utilize the heterogeneous landscape which they inhabit, with a particular emphasis on understanding movement through GPS data. My PhD research is focused on the spatial ecology of caribou of the Western Arctic Herd, one of Alaskas largest migratory caribou herds. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the environmental drivers of major life-history events, such as parturition and migration, as well as understanding the demographic outcomes of space-use decisions. As a wildlife biologist with the National Park Service, I am involved in management and research of moose, grizzly bears, Dalls sheep and wolves as well as caribou.
Micheal Johns (Ph.D. - 2020)
Generally, I am interested in the spatial ecology and movement patterns of seabirds once they depart their respective colonies, and the ways in which oceanographic variability influences different breeding parameters. My research in the Breed lab addresses questions related to age-specific patterns of double brooding in a marked population of Cassin's auklets on Southeast Farallon Island in California, and how this unique behavior among Alcids influences lifetime reproductive success, survival, and population viability. When not immersed in R code, I enjoy photographing the northern lights, complaining about the cold, and dreaming of one day returning to the ocean.
Mike is a Research Biologist with Point Blue Conservation Science
Joe Eisaguirre (Ph.D. - 2020)
Joe's ResearchGate Profile
My dissertation investigated the mechanisms underlying the movement and behavior of migratory golden eagles. The primary focus is on the role weather plays in driving behavioral and space use patterns, but I also explored the effects of anthropogenic infrastructure, such as linear features and wind energy developments. I have developed a deep interest in the development of methods and models for analyzing animal movement data, so part of my work has been devoted to developing practical yet statistically rigorous tools for answering my research questions.
Joe is currently a Research Statistician with USFWS
Kath Daly (M.S. - 2018)
For her Master's, Kath used museum specimens to study the effects of temperature change on morphology and phenology of Alaskan butterflies. She explored whether seasonal temperature increases on the North Slope and Seward Peninsula have lead to divergent morphological responses between species with differing life history strategies. She also analyzed flight period trends over time to test whether butterflies have altered their seasonal flight periods to match warming trends in Interior Alaska near Fairbanks.
Kath is currently an Assistant Curator at the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History
Roxanne Beltran (Ph.D. - 2018)
For her dissertation, Roxanne explored the links between pupping and molting phenology in Antarctic Weddell seals. By evaluating the strategies that animals use to escape carry-over effects between life history events, Roxanne hopes to understand their resilience to disruptions from global change. Hoping to inspire the next generation of scientists, Roxanne co-created a K-12 classroom outreach program that reached 4,000 Alaskan students and co-authored a childrens book.