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

Faculty T. Luke George Wildlife

Dr. Luke George, emeritus faculty in Wildlife, along with other authors published an article describing how the disease West Nile Virus is affecting bird populations. "Persistent impacts of West Nile virus on North American bird populations" was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (PNAS). Read the abstract online at

It is also worth noting that some of the data in the paper came from bird banding operations at the Wright Wildlife Refuge, a small refuge on the edge of Eureka where many HSU students have worked over the years. Numerous graduate students have run bird banding operations there, and they and faculty have trained scores of undergraduates to handle and measure birds using standardized bird netting and monitoring processes. It's one of many sites in a network of field research sites called MAPS (monitoring avian productivity and survivorship).

Submitted: December 10, 2015

Faculty Mark Colwell Wildlife

Mark Colwell gave a paper summarizing his research on Snowy Plovers at the 40th meeting of the International Wader Study Group in Iceland.

Submitted: October 5, 2015

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 Jeffrey Black and Frank Shaughnessy Wildlife

Two Humboldt State University faculty members recently spoke at the Humboldt Bay Eelgrass Management Workshop Oct. 6 and 7 at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center in Eureka.

The free, public event was intended to improve understanding of marine eelgrass ecology, management, restoration, and regulations in Humboldt Bay and elsewhere. Eelgrass plays an important role in coastal ecosystems, where it helps build and provide habitat for a variety of species.

HSU Wildlife Professor Jeffrey Black discussed the role of Humboldt Bay and eelgrass as part of the Pacific Flyway, the north-south route for migratory birds. Botany Professor Frank Shaughnessy discussed eelgrass, water quality and its upland uses. Shaughnessy and his students are currently conducting numerous research projects related to eelgrass in Humboldt Bay.

Other workshop speakers included representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District, and H.T. Harvey & Associates, an ecological consulting firm hosting the event.

Submitted: October 2, 2014

Faculty Micaela Szykman Gunther, former graduate student Shannon Murphie and colleagues Wildlife

Wildlife Faculty member Micaela Szykman Gunther has co-authored a paper with her former graduate student Shannon Murphie and colleages Rob McCoy and Brian Murphie from Makah Tribal Forestry and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The paper entitled "Influence of hair loss syndrome on black-tailed deer fawn survival' was part of Murhpie's Master's thesis and will be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Submitted: September 29, 2014

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

Faculty Luke Eberhart-Phillips, Brian Hudgens, Mark Colwell Wildlife

Former graduate student Luke Eberhart-Phillips, Brian Hudgens (adjunct faculty) and Mark Colwell co-authored a paper on the dynamics of the Snowy Plover population that breeds along the U.S. Pacific coast. The plover is listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Colwell has been studying the local population with his students for 15 years.

Submitted: September 6, 2014

Faculty Barbara Clucas Wildlife

Wildlife faculty member Barbara Clucas has published a paper in the academic journal "Urban Ecosystems" titled "How much is that birdie in my backyard? A cross-continental economic valuation of native urban songbirds." The study presents the first attempt at estimating the economic value of enjoying common native urban songbirds in Seattle, Wash. and Berlin, Germany.

Submitted: August 21, 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 19, 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 Mark Colwell Wildlife

Mark Colwell delivered an invited plenary talk on the challenges of conserving threatened species at the 5th Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group meeting in Santa Marta, Colombia on 20 September 2013.

Submitted: September 28, 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 9, 2013

Student Lauren Wendt Wildlife

Lauren Wendt ('09, Wildlife) received the "Torch Award" by the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association. The award honors top young officers in the U.S. and Canada. Lauren works as a conservation officer for the Idaho Department of Fish & Game.

Submitted: February 23, 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 6, 2013