Publications and achievements submitted by our faculty, staff, and students.

Student Yuliana Rowe, Angelica Munoz, Thien Crisanto and Laura Hernandez Wildlife

Yuliana, Thien, Laura, and Angelica were invited to present independent research at Washington D.C. at the ERN Conference in STEM (Emerging Researcher’s National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in late February. Yuliana Rowe was awarded 2nd place in Ecology, Environment, and Earth Sciences for her presentation on “The effects of climate-induced forest disturbances on spiders in Michigan.”

Submitted: March 7, 2016

Student Eric Jennings, Micaela Szykman Gunther Wildlife

Eric Jennings, past undergraduate in the Department of Wildlife, had his honors thesis published in Northwest Science, coauthored with his mentor, Micaela Gunther. His work examined the “Effects of high temperatures and sun exposure on Sherman trap internal temperatures.”

Submitted: March 3, 2016

Faculty Jeff Black & Will Goldenberg Wildlife

Natural Born Hustlers, a new series co-produced by the BBC and PBS features research by HSU Wildlife Professor Jeff Black and alumnus Will Goldenberg. Black and Goldenberg are featured in a segment about Steller’s jays. For 17 years, Black has led a study into the jay populations on campus and their deceptive behavior. The birds are known to mimic predator sounds like red-shouldered and red-tail hawk calls. Goldenberg, who currently lectures in HSU’s film progrma, helped the BBC film the birds in action.

Natural Born Hustlers is a three part series, and begins on Wednesday, Jan., 13 at 8 p.m. on PBS. Check local listings for more information. Episode 2, the Hunger Games, which features the Steller’s jays, airs January 20.

More information is available at

Submitted: January 11, 2016

Faculty Mark Colwell, Dana Herman Wildlife

Dana Herman (now working for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Sacramento) and Mark Colwell published a paper on Snowy Plover lifetime reproductive success showing that a small proportion of the Humboldt County population contributed disproportionately to population growth. Plovers that bred on gravel substrates of the Eel River produced appreciably more young than those on sandy, ocean-fronting beaches. Their work was featured in the 28 Aug 2015 issue of the eWildlifer (, published by the The Wildlife Society.

Submitted: August 28, 2015

Student Matt Brinkman, Stephanie Leja Wildlife

Matt Brinkmann and Stephanie Leja received first and third place, respectively, in the student competition for best oral papers at the Western Section of The Wildlife Society meeting in Santa Rosa in late January 2015. Stephanie also received third place in the poster competitions. Both students work with Dr. Mark Colwell on Snowy Plovers.

Submitted: March 3, 2015

Student A. Preston Taylor Wildlife

Wildlife Program graduate A. Preston Taylor successfully published his senior honors thesis in the internationally renowned Journal of Behaviour. He collected unique video data on the rubbing behavior of black bears in northern California forests. This paper is available for viewing online at the Brill publisher site (Taylor, Allen and Gunther 2015, DOI: 10.1163/1568539X-00003270).

Submitted: February 24, 2015

Faculty Wildlife Department Wildlife

The Oregon Zoo Foundation has awarded Humboldt State’s Wildlife Department $3,984 to investigate the den-attendance of fishers and the potential impacts of timber harvest on fisher den ecology. The grant is part of the Future for Wildlife program, which protects threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems.

Submitted: September 11, 2014

Student Club Molly Shea Wildlife

Molly Shea (‘16, Wildlife) recently represented HSU at the Collegiate Sports Sustainability Conference in Boulder, Colorado, where the Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program was presented with an award for its high diversion rate in the 2013 Game Day Challenge. The Game Day Challenge is a national competition to promote waste reduction at university and college football games. Shea is coordinator for R.O.S.E., the Reusable Office Supply Exchange on campus.

Submitted: August 18, 2014

Faculty Tim Bean Wildlife

Wildlife Professor Tim Bean has received $15 thousand from Save the Redwoods League to develop a landscape-level map of habitat suitability for white-footed voles. His research wil provide an understanding of the white-footed vole habitat requirements in redwood systems at the landscape and home range scale and knowledge of occupied areas to aid further research.

Submitted: May 2, 2014

Faculty Mark Colwell, Luke Eberhart-Phillips, Wendy Pearson Wildlife

Mark Colwell and his former graduate students, Luke Eberhart-Phillips and Wendy Pearson, recently published three papers addressing various aspects of the population and reproductive biology of the Snowy Plover. This federally listed species has a small population in Humboldt County, which Colwell and his students have studied for 13 years.

Submitted: December 18, 2013

Faculty Jeffrey Black, Micaela Szykman Gunther and student Kristin Brzeski Wildlife

Wildlife Professors Jeffrey Black and Micaela Szykman Gunther recently co-authored a paper with student Kristin Brzeski in The Journal of Wildlife Management evaluating the status of river otters in Humboldt Bay. River otters have experienced dramatic population declines in the last century and relatively few studies have evaluated their status, especially in California. Black, Gunther and Brzeski evaluated the population of river otters in Humboldt Bay by extracting DNA from the animals’ scat. They analyzed the scat in the lab to create unique river otter “fingerprints.” They pooled that data with visual observations from a citizen science project and determined that the Humboldt Bay is home to a larger number of river otters than previously expected. It also has a higher density of the creatures compared to other coastal systems. To read the full paper, visit

Submitted: November 25, 2013

Student Phil Chaon, Alisa Muniz, Justin Purnell, Felicia Aragon, Andrew Wiegardt and Brendan Higgins Wildlife

Humboldt State University’s Wildlife Quizbowl Team placed second in the student Quizbowl of the National Meeting of the Wildlife Society in Milwaukee. The single elimination tournament included 17 teams. HSU won the first match against University of Montana 95-25. The team won its second match against University of Wisconsin, Madison, 125-10, and its third match against Michigan Tech 85-70. The team was narrowly defeated in the final round by the University of Minnesota, Crookston, 105 to 100. This year marks the 13th time HSU competed at the National Quizbowl, with nine wins to date.

The quizbowl team included Phil Chaon (captain), Alisa Muniz, Justin Purnell, Felicia Aragon, and Andrew Wiegardt (alternate player).

The national meeting also included students presented “research in progress” posters. Muniz placed in top 20 (among 100+ posters, most by graduate and doctoral students). Student Brendan Higgins won several awards for some of his photos, including best of show.

Submitted: October 10, 2013

Faculty Barbara Clucas Wildlife

Wildlife faculty member Barbara Clucas recently co-authored a study suggesting that crows can recognize human faces. For the study, Clucas and her team approached crows in Seattle while directly looking at them and while averting their gaze. The crows scattered earlier when they were being directly stared at, suggesting that they have adapted to living in urban areas. The full article was published in the April issue of the journal Ethology.

Submitted: September 16, 2013

Faculty Sharon N. Kahara and Steven R. Chipps Wildlife

Dr. Sharon N. Kahara and Steven R. Chipps’ paper “Wetland Hydrodynamics and Long-term Use of Spring Migration Areas by Lesser Scaup in Eastern South Dakota,” published in the journal Great Plains Research (2012), was selected to receive the Charles E. Bessey award for the best paper in natural resources.

Submitted: March 8, 2013

Faculty Mark Colwell Wildlife

Wildlife Professor Mark Colwell was named ‘Outstanding Mentor’ at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Western Section of The Wildlife Society in Sacramento in January.

Submitted: February 5, 2013

Faculty T. Luke George and Joe LaManna Wildlife

T. Luke George, graduate student Joe LaManna and scientists at the Institute for Bird Populations published a paper in the Auk (October 2012) examining factors influencing the annual survival of Swianson’s Thrushes in the Pacific Northwest. Using mark-recapture data collected at bird banding stations throughout the region (including a station near Eureka where many HSU students have been trained to band birds) they found that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an important driver of annual survival in Swainson’s Thrushes.

Submitted: January 10, 2013

Faculty Sharon N. Kahara, Walter G. Duffy, Ryan DiGaudio and Rosemary Records Wildlife

Sharon Kahara and Walter Duffy along with colleagues Ryan DiGaudio (PRBO Conservation Science) and Rosemary Records (Colorado State University) published a paper in the journal “Diversity.” The title of the paper is “Climate, Management and Habitat Associations of Avian Fauna in Restored Wetlands of California’s Central Valley, USA”. The paper reports the results of a two-year study of avian diversity on restored wetlands in California’s Central Valley. Restored wetlands support a large number of avian species; however, securing access to water in the drier southern valley is imperative to sustaining bird use and diversity.

Submitted: November 24, 2012

Student Yvan Delgado de la Flor Wildlife

Yvan Delgado de la Flor, class of 2013 with a major in Wildlife Conservation & Management, is working with a faculty mentor to study Biotic Change in Declining Hemlock Forests.

The 11-week Harvard Forest summer research program, with funding from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and several universities, has been running for more than 20 years. Working with a faculty mentor, each student completes an independent project during the course of the program. Students then present their work at the annual research symposium.

Submitted: July 11, 2012

Faculty Matthew Johnson Wildlife

Wildlife Chair Matt Johnson was nominated by the California State University to be featured on its (STEM)2 website, which highlights the science, technology, engineering and mathematics service-learning work of California State University faculty members. Johnson’s service-learning course engages students in a local wildlife research project relevant to local land managers. (STEM)2 is a grant-supported initiative in the CSU that promotes student success in STEM disciplines. For more information, visit

Submitted: May 7, 2012

Faculty Sharon N. Kahara Wildlife

Adjunct Wildlife Faculty Member Sharon Kahara co-authored an article in Great Plains Research titled “Wetland Hydrodynamics and Long-term Use of Spring Migration Areas by Lesser Scaup in Eastern South Dakota.” The research modeled spring wetland use based on surveys carried out over two decades. Results dispelled scaup preference for semipermanent wetlands and established the importance of permanent, hydrologically dynamic wetlands for long-term use and therefore conservation concern.

Submitted: April 25, 2012