Our People


Faculty


Kristine O. Evans

Kristine O. Evans

Kristine is an Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture at Mississippi State. Her interests broadly focus on species-habitat interactions in important Southeastern ecosystems. This includes work in native prairies, coastal beaches and dunes, open pine systems, managed pine systems, estuaries and marshlands, and bottomland hardwood systems. Her disciplinary interests include landscape ecology, avian ecology, agro-ecology, applied conservation biology, at-risk species, species distribution modeling, standardized population monitoring, large-scale conservation planning and behavioral ecology.

She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in landscape ecology, animal behavior, conservation biology, and communications. Kristine is a native of Toledo, OH and had a passion for wildlife conservation, particularly birds, since a very young age. She obtained her B.S. from Ohio University in 2000, then went on to study sampling methodologies and population genetics in northern bobwhite as part of her M.S. work at Mississippi State University, graduating in 2004. After some time working on an oil spill recovery team in Delaware and living in Appalachian North Carolina she returned to Mississippi State to coordinate a national monitoring program for bobwhite and grassland birds, earning her Ph.D. in 2012.

She then went on to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of a regional inventory and monitoring team for the National Wildlife Refuge system, then worked at geomatics coordinator for the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative based out of the Geosystems Research Institute at Mississippi State. She returned to the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture in 2017 to help launch the Conservation Biology concentration in the department. In her spare time, she enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors with her family, traveling, attending sporting events, writing and painting.

Email: kristine.evans@msstate.edu


Garrett M. Street

Garrett M. Street

Dr. Garrett Street is a quantitative ecologist specializing in habitat selection, animal movement, and landscape effects on behavior. He received his Master’s degree in Population & Conservation Biology from Texas State University under Dr. Floyd “Butch” Weckerly, and his PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of Guelph under Dr. John Fryxell. After his post-doctoral research at the University of Minnesota under Drs. John Fieberg and James Forester, he joined the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University in August 2015, where he co-founded the Quantitative Ecology and Spatial Technologies (QuEST) Laboratory.

Dr. Street uses statistical and simulation modeling, laboratory microcosms, biotelemetry, and Geographic Information systems to assess how processes at fine scales (e.g., habitat preference, thermoregulation, foraging) influence patterns at broad scales (e.g., distributions, abundance, and population dynamics) from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. His recent work focuses on understanding animal fitness and body condition under energetic constraints (i.e., metabolism, movement, and foraging), linking animal behavior to habitat selection and species distributions, modeling animal movement across bioclimatic and spatiotemporal gradients, and the role of animals in shaping the global carbon budget.

Email: gms246@msstate.edu

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Guiming Wang

Guiming Wang

Guiming Wang is a professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University. Guiming does research on wildlife population ecology and spatial ecology, with a focus on the spatiotemporal dynamics of wildlife populations and communities using spatial statistics, machine learning, and long-term monitoring data.

Email: guiming.wang@msstate.edu

Staff


Alexander "A.J." Binney

Alexander “AJ” Binney

Extension Program Assistant

Email: ab3031@msstate.edu


Carlos Ramirez Reyes

Carlos Ramirez Reyes

I am a conservation scientist interested in finding landscape and wildlife patterns, and investigating the different mechanisms that produce changes in them. My research activity often involves large-scale analysis and the consideration of the human influence on the ecological systems. Because of these socio-ecological elements, I often work in an interdisciplinary environment. I use GIS and remote sensing analysis constantly. My goal is to provide relevant spatial information that can inform species and ecosystem management, and to generate strategies to overcome ecosystems deterioration.

In QuEST lab, I am generating a suite of potential distribution maps for rare species in the Southeastern US. This project is a collaboration between MS State University and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Outside of the office, I will gladly share meals with friends, hike, bike, and explore new places and cultures.

Email: c.ramirez@msstate.edu

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Jiangdong (Chuck) Liu

Jiangdong (Chuck) Liu

Hi, I am Chuck. I currently served as the GIS Analyst for the Gulf of Mexico Strategy Conservation Assessment project (SCA). My work mainly focus on developing spatial component of the prioritization conservation planning tool as well as developing and distributing the prioritization layer incorporating conservation planning tool valuations and future threats of sea-level rise and urbanization in a geospatial visualization environment.

I had both my Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Geographic Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My experience mainly focused on the field of Geospatial service, concentrating on Web Development and Spatial Data Management. I have experiences on creating, managing spatial data in different levels and sources, as well as providing suitable visualization for the datasets.

I am highly motivated to continue further with my professional development.

Email: Jiangdong.liu@msstate.edu

Grad Students


Jane Dentinger

Jane Dentinger

Originally from the San Francisco bay area in California, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 2013. Post-graduate I worked in a marine lab that studied the ecology of the seafloor before transitioning to terrestrial wildlife. Currently, I am a masters student under Dr. Street studying the movement ecology of feral swine, Sus scrofa. My project pairs accelerometer technology with GPS to obtain detailed information about feral pig behavior, energetics and space use at a fine-scale. Specifically, I'm using machine learning techniques to automate feral swine behavioral identification and classification to circumvent the need for direct behavioral observation of wild free-ranging pigs. My goal is to better understand how feral pig behavior, energetics and environment interact to produce the spatial distributions we observe.

Email: jd2381@msstate.edu


Ryo Ogawa

Ryo Ogawa

I am Ryo Ogawa, originally from Japan. I was studying agriculture in my undergraduate, but a wildlife conservation intern at Shiretoko peninsula during my sophomore made me interested in studying wildlife.

In 2014 I came to US and studied at University of Maine for non-thesis degree for two years. I moved to MSU to finish thesis master’s degree, and am currently a PhD student working under Dr. Guiming Wang. My dissertation project is American white pelican’s population dynamics, range modelling, and biomechanics of soaring-gliding strategies.

Email: ro278@msstate.edu


Ira Parsons

Ira Parsons

Ira Parsons is a graduate research assistant studying grazing ecology at Mississippi State University. His research interests vary broadly, but are best described as focusing on the intersection of animal nutrition, physiology and behavior, with an emphasis on understanding livestock production from an ecological perspective. This includes work in both confined and pastoral beef production systems, ranging from cow-calf to finish operations. His disciplinary interests include animal physiology, landscape ecology, forage ecology, agro-ecology, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which he uses to study land management, animal fitness and animal performance.

A native of Leavenworth, Kansas, Ira graduated from Kansas State University in 2015 with a B.S. in Feed Science and Management. Studying under Dr. Gordon Carstens, Ira joined the fighting Aggie Class of 2017, graduating from Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in Animal Science focused on Feeding Behavior and Feed Efficiency in confined beef cattle. He joined the QuEST lab in 2018 under Dr. Garrett Street and a diverse team comprised of wildlife ecologists and animal scientists interested in improving sustainability of beef production with the aid of precision technologies. Ira loves being outside with all animals, finding fulfillment in utilizing the animal husbandry skills he developed as a farm boy to conduct useful, unique and fascinating scientific studies.


Andrew Challen Shamaskin

Andrew Challen Shamaskin

Hello! I am a new Ph.D. student under Dr. Kristine Evans and Dr. Anna Linhoss (ABE), working on a strategic conservation assessment of the gulf coast region. I recently completed my M.S. (’18) in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture from Mississippi State University, and spent my thesis developing new methodologies for evaluating fishing regulations. I also hold a B.Sc. (’13) in Fisheries Science (Minor in Statistics) from Virginia Tech, where I focused on stream ecology and gained a foundation in natural resources.

I am passionate about integrating computer technology with natural resources, both to aid in making smarter decisions and to better communicate science. Though a lot of progress has been made in applying science to making decisions, complexities still hinder the communication of powerful concepts, which threatens the value of science altogether. I see the integration of math modeling and computer application development as a crucial step for conveying science and improving the interface between the public and science.

Aside from my academic and employment credentials, I spend a considerable amount of my free time engaged in outdoor activities, including fishing, SCUBA diving, hiking and camping. Each one of these activities allows me to observe and interact with aquatic and terrestrial life, and I derive an enormous amount of my understanding of the natural world from these experiences. My time outside is very important to me, both as a learning tool, and a source of enjoyment. While the value of these experiences is difficult to quantify, I cannot think of a more powerful driver of my motivation and dedication to my career goals in natural resources.

Email: andrew.shamaskin@gmail.com


Durham Norman

Durham Norman

I am a senior at Mississippi State working towards a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science. My goal is to eventually become a state biologist. My research project has me working with feral swine. I’ve done everything from trapping, to darting, to classifying behavior. Currently I am focusing on classifying as much behavior as possible as well as learning how to work with Program R.

Email: dan128@msstate.edu


Craig Sklarczyk

Craig Sklarczyk

Hi, my name is Craig I am a master student at Mississippi State University. I grew up in Riverview, Michigan and attended Michigan State University where I got my bachelors degree in both Wildlife Management and Forestry. While at MSU (Michigan State) I work on numerous research projects including determining the biomass in trees, the effects of American Kestrel in blueberry fields, and mapping threated Yellow-Billed Cuckoo populations in Idaho. At Mississippi State I work under Dr. Kristine Evans researching size and adjacency of clearcuts on early successional avian species in managed pine forests. I am interested in learning about how forest management practices such as SFI standards contribute to biodiversity specifically, of bird species. Along with forest management practices I am also looking at some ecological theories and applying them to a managed pine landscape. In my free time I enjoy many outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and birding. In the future I hope to continue researching non-game species and sustainable forest practices.

Email: cas1333@msstate.edu


Holly Todaro

Holly Todaro

Hi, I’m Holly! I am a graduate research assistant working towards my Master’s in Wildlife, Fisheries, & Aquaculture here at Mississippi State. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology from Central Michigan University in 2016. From there I worked as a field technician for three years contributing to research focusing on various aspects of avian ecology and conservation. Currently I’m conducting my master’s research under Dr. Kristine Evans at Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee Wildlife Refuge studying bird response to habitat management and bird-habitat associations. My goal is that my research will be used in the conservation planning efforts for open pine bird species in Southeastern forest systems.

Email: ht543@msstate.edu

Undergrad Students


Jennifer Sublett

Jennifer Sublett

Jennifer is a Senior Undergraduate Student majoring in Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture science. She came from Pensacola, FL to Mississippi State University in Fall 2016.

She has taken over Isabella Durham’s research concerning fruit fly habitat selection, expanding on the different variables and trying to answer some of the questions that Isabella’s research brought to the surface. Her project involves manipulating fruit flies in an arena environment, modifying the food sources to provide both accurate and inaccurate displays of quality and observing the response over generations. She is finishing with data collection and analysis, and plants to present at the 2020 Spring Undergraduate Research Symposium. As an undergraduate, she is excited to be a part of the QuEST Lab and collaborate with like-minded scientists and professionals.

Jennifer also has interests in wildlife rehabilitation, fossil diving, and illustration, with plans to attend graduate school upon completing her undergraduate degree in Spring 2020.

Email: jms1884@msstate.edu

Affiliates


Adrian Lazaro-Lobo

Adrian Lazaro-Lobo

My name is Adrian Lazaro-Lobo and I am from Spain. I majored in Biology and completed a Master´s degree in restoration ecology. I am currently doing a PhD at MSU. I am mainly interested in how different biotic, abiotic, and landscape attributes affect the spatial and temporal distribution of exotic plant species.


Sharilyn Taylor James

Alumni


Conner Almond

Conner Almond

My name is Conner Almond and I am from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I completed my bachelor’s degree here at Mississippi State University, majoring in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science. I am currently working on my master’s degree studying the fine scale movements and habitat selection of the eastern wild turkey. I am mainly interested in how turkeys move across different landscapes here in Mississippi, specifically what habitats/resources they select in relation to what is available to them, how long they spend in those areas, and identifying those specific habitat characteristics important to turkeys. I hope to provide Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks with information to implement beneficial management techniques, as well as provide private landowners with management techniques to promote turkey numbers on their land. I’d like to pursue a PhD after my master’s and continue conducting research in the wildlife field. While I have been working on this current project I have gained an interest in movement ecology and I hope to be able to pursue that in the future. I hope to apply movement ecology to underrepresented species such as reptiles and amphibians and other non-game species and I enjoy the outdoors, traveling, and herpetology

Email: jca264@msstate.edu


Wesley (Wes) Burger

I am a Masters student with a major in Wildlife & Fisheries Science. I graduated from Mississippi State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Science, with a self-driven focus in GIS technology and remote sensing of the natural environment. My current Master’s research focuses on describing coastal dune structure in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, and how it relates to the habitat selection of the endangered subspecies of beach mice that inhabit these areas. My interest in this area stems from a deep love of the coast and all things related to the ocean.

Since I was old enough to be able to make the 6 hour drive to the coast I have made countless trips up and down the Gulf of Mexico on diving, camping, kayaking, and fishing trips. Upon graduation I intend to take my acquired skills and passions, and apply them to a career in the Peace Corps in Eastern Africa or the Central Indo-Pacific regions- using my scientific training to help regions in need optimize their potential to the best of my ability.

Email: wsb92@msstate.edu


Rachel Greene

Rachel Greene

Rachel is the coordinator for Mapping Future Forests, a project funded by U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities that maps potential forest retention in the southeastern U.S. and Caribbean through the end of the 21st century. Mapping Future Forests produces maps of potential forest retention using the best available data about currently protected forest, forest prioritized for conservation, reforestation, threats to forest retention, timber, and importance to water.

Rachel’s research interests include landscape conservation planning, effects of forest management on plant and wildlife communities, and fire ecology. Her research previously focused on how managed pine landscapes can contribute to open pine and gopher tortoise conservation goals. Rachel has enjoyed several field opportunities including plant and fire ecology positions in Florida’s longleaf pine and big scrub ecosystems as well as an expedition to Alaska to study effects of climate change on phenotypic plasticity in tundra tussocks. Rachel is a lifetime member of North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council. Rachel received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Stetson University in 2012 and a Master of Science in Forestry & Environmental Resources from North Carolina State University in 2014.

Rachel spends her weekends in her cut flower and vegetable garden with her trusty gardening companion—a German shepherd named Ro.

Email: reb498@msstate.edu


Gwen Jones

Gwen Jones

Gwen is a senior undergraduate student from Huntsville, Alabama in the Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture program. She has assisted behavioral data classification in Jane Dentinger’s project here in the QuEST lab. Presently, she is focusing on a project examining the effects of temporal variation on vulture responses to carrion supplementation. While preparing to apply to both veterinary and graduate programs, Gwen is focusing on becoming familiar with Python, ArcGIS, and R to eventually make use of statistical and geospatial software in future research.

Email: gmj88@msstate.edu


Carson Kitaif

Carson Kitaif

I’m originally from Southwest Mississippi, and I’m in my senior year of my undergraduate. My undergraduate research is focused on migratory arrival and departure dates in Rails. I am a field technician under the grazing ecology study here at MSU while also pursuing more avenues for field work involving mammalian and avian species. My research interests include carnivore and avian ecology, migration ecology in birds of prey, spatial ecology and predator-prey dynamics in international systems. I am hoping to pursue these opportunities as a master’s and Ph.D. graduate student.

Email: jk1483@msstate.edu


Ali Marchant

Ali Marchant

My name is Ali Marchant and I am an undergraduate here at Mississippi State University. I grew up in Michigan and am studying here in hopes of going onto graduate school to become a behavioral ecologist. After completing graduate school and getting my masters/PhD, I hope to work with conservation/preservation from a behavioral aspect, specifying in large mammalian carnivores.

I was a student intern at the USDA/APHIS/WS field station for almost two years, where we mostly focus on disease studies of feral swine and great egrets. I am now working at a lab at the Wise Center at MSU under Dr. Larry Hanson, working mainly in toxicology. I am also going to be doing my MS under Dr. Hanson after graduating in May of 2020.

I am currently working on getting a project together with Dr. Kristine Evans to study aggressive behaviors of male Betta splendens. This project will hopefully give more insight in ways to translocate solitary/territorial animals.

Email: alison.marchant98@gmail.com


Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer “Jen” Roberts is a graduate of the University of New Orleans where she received an MS in Earth and Environmental Science as well as Colorado State University where she received a BS in Biology with emphasis in Ecology. Jen is Coordinator of the Strategic Conservation Assessment of Gulf Landscapes Project which enables her to work with stakeholders from Texas to Florida to develop a voluntary decision support tool that integrates land conservation planning across the Gulf Coast. Jennifer is committed to providing stakeholders with data and tools that enable communities to make informed decisions that protect people, property and ecosystems from risks. In her former science-based roles Jen has worked as: Senior Environmental Planner for the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, Executive Director of Bayou Land Resource Conservation and Development Council, Watershed Coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Botany Instructor at Dillard University, and Research Associate for The Water Institute of the Gulf. Jen is a founding member of the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative, a Water Environment Federation Leadership Fellow and she serves on the Louisiana Environmental Education Commission.

Over the years Jennifer has honed her skills: ginning cotton, sieving, sorting and analyzing soil samples, hand rearing Sandhill crane chicks, and picking up litter and sweeping storm drains. Jennifer is co-author of the following booklets: The Joy of Water: A Homeowner’s Guide to Becoming Water Wise and Native Plants of Coastal Louisiana.

Email: Jennifer.roberts@msstate.edu

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