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

Student Kelly Weintraub, Dana Herman Wildlife

HSU Wildlife Master's students Kelly Weintraub and Dana Herman received best poster awards at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Western Section of The Wildlife Society in Sacramento in January. Kelly's presentation summarized her research on the nesting ecology of tri-colored blackbirds in the San Joaquin Valley and Dana's presentation reported the results of her work on the reproductive success of the threatened snowy plover in Humboldt County.

Submitted: February 6, 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 25, 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 Micaela Szykman Gunther Wildlife

Associate Professor in Wildlife Micaela Gunther co-authored a paper with colleagues from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute entitled, "Inbreeding Avoidance Influences the Viability of Reintroduced Populations of African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)."

This research, published in the online journal PLoSONE, matched genetic data with behavioral observations to determine that African wild dogs employ a mechanism to avoid inbreeding. Combined with the isolation of wild dog populations, inbreeding avoidance can rapidly lead to the extinction of small and reintroduced populations of this endangered species.

Submitted: June 8, 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

Student Phil Choan, Aaron Spidal, Sam Aguilar, Amy Trost and Brian Fagundas Wildlife

HSU Wildlife students Phil Chaon, Aaron Spidal, Sam Aguilar, Amy Trost and Brian Fagundas have won the 2011 National Wildlife Quizbowl at the Annual Meeting of The Wildlife Society. Teams from across the nation competed, and the competition was fierce with several "down to the wire" matches. Second place went to Virginia Tech, Purdue captured third, and the University of Montana came in fourth.

HSU is unique at this meeting of 1300 wildlife professionals because it has such a large number of undergraduates attending the meeting.

Submitted: November 9, 2011

Faculty Micaela Szykman Gunther and colleagues Wildlife

Micaela Szykman Gunther and colleagues had a paper published in Conservation Genetics:

Spiering, Penny A., Szykman Gunther, Micaela, Somers, Michael J., Wildt, David E., Walters, Michelle, Wilson, Amy S. and Maldonado, Jesus E. 2011. Inbreeding, heterozygosity and fitness in a reintroduced population of endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). Conservation Genetics, 2011(12): 410-412.

Submitted: March 31, 2011

Faculty Mark A. Colwell Wildlife

Wilson, C.A., & M.A. Colwell. Movements and fledging success of Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) chicks. Waterbirds 33:331-340.

Submitted: January 14, 2011

Faculty Mark A. Colwell Wildlife

Co-authored several recent papers, including:

Colwell, M.A., N.S. Burrell, M.A. Hardy, K. Kayano, J.J. Muir, W.J. Pearson, S.A. Peterson, and K.A. Sesser. 2010. Arrival times, laying dates, and reproductive success of Snowy Plovers in two habitats in coastal northern California. Journal of Field Ornithology 81:349-360.

Muir, J.J., & M.A. Colwell. 2010. Snowy Plovers select open habitat for courtship scrapes and nests. Condor 112:507-510.

Mullin, S.M., M.A. Colwell, S.E. McAllister & S.J. Dinsmore. 2010. Apparent survival & population growth of Snowy Plovers in coastal northern California. Journal of Wildlife Management 74:1792-1798.

Wilson, C.A., & M.A. Colwell. Movemen

Submitted: January 14, 2011

Student Sam Aguilar, Phil Chaon, Brian Fagundes, Dave Spangenburg and Amy Leigh Trost Wildlife

Humboldt State University’s highly successful Wildlife Quiz Bowl Team won the 2010 National Wildlife Quiz Bowl Oct. 5 in Snowbird, Utah, marking HSU’s ninth victory in 11 years in the national and regional contests.

In the latest 17-team national competition, Humboldt State blanked Michigan Tech 135-0, beat Texas A&M;120-55, trounced the University of Wyoming 110-15 and downed Penn State 95-20.

The tournament was part of the National Wildlife Conference in Snowbird, and the HSU team comprised five undergraduates: Sam Aguilar (Wildlife major), Phil Chaon (double major, Wildlife and Zoology), Brian Fagundes (double major, Wildlife and Geography), Dave Spangenburg (Geography major, Wildlife minor) and Amy Leigh Trost (Wildlife major).

Submitted: November 12, 2010

Student Breanna Powers, Matt Johnson, Joseph LaManna, Adam Rich Wildlife

A paper has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Northwestern Naturalist. The lead author is Breanna Powers, who was part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at HSU. Other authors include Matt Johnson (wildlife faculty), Joseph LaManna (wildlife graduate student), and Adam Rich (biologist with the US Forest Service). Their research examined effects of cattle grazing on gophers in high elevation meadows on the Sierra Nevada.

Submitted: September 10, 2010

Faculty Sharon N. Kahara Wildlife

Public lecture at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center during their "Celebrating American Wetlands Month" on May 20th 2010. Title of the talk was "Marsh Crowdsourcing! What you get when you cross wetlands, citizen scientists and cell phones".
The talk focused on the importance of monitoring wetland restoration projects and the pros and cons of citizen science data collection as a viable means to do this. Newer, more efficient public data collection methods are becoming available.

Submitted: August 20, 2010

Faculty Mark A. Colwell Wildlife

In October 2010, UC Press will publish Shorebird Ecology, Conservation, and Management, a text-referenced book authored by Mark Colwell of HSU’s Wildlife Department. The book is based on the course that Colwell has taught for 21 years at HSU and draws on his 30 years of research and management of shorebirds in North America.

Submitted: August 20, 2010

Faculty Matt Johnson, Brent Campos, Vitek Jirinec, Steve Railsback Wildlife

Wildlife professor Matt Johnson delivered an oral presentation at the International Ornithological Congress held in Brazil in August 2010. The presentation was co-authored by wildlife students Brent Campos and Vitek Jirinec, and Math adjunct faculty Steve Railsback. Their research involves modeling how bird movements across a landscape may influence the provisioning of ecosystem services in agricultural settings.

Submitted: August 19, 2010

Student Ryan Kalinowski, Matt Johnson Wildlife

Wildlife undergraduate student Ryan Kalinowski published his Honor's Thesis in the international ornithological journal, The Condor. His thesis and paper is entitled, "Influence of Suburban Habitat on A Wintering Bird Community in Coastal Northern California" and appears in the Vol 112, pages 272-284. His advisor Matt Johnson is a second author. Ryan is now a graduate student in the Natural Resources-Wildlife program.

Submitted: August 19, 2010

Faculty Micaela Szykman Gunther, Ho Yi Wan Wildlife Drs. Micaela Szykman Gunther and Ho Yi Wan received a $170,000 grant from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) to support a distribution study on the marten and fisher, two closely related members of the weasel family that are both species of special concern. The project aims to assess potential shifts in the species’ distributions after wildfires in Lassen County, and will support two Department of Wildlife graduate students. Findings will determine if certain management strategies or habitat types are more resilient to fire, potentially serving as refugia for martens and fishers.

Submitted: November 10, 2022

Student Frank Juma Ong'ondo, Frank Fogarty III, Peter Njoroge, and Matt Johnson Wildlife Wildlife graduate student Frank Juma Ong'ondo and his collaborators Drs. Frank Fogarty and Matt Johnson from Humboldt Wildlife, and Dr. Peter Njoroge from the National Museums of Kenya published a paper entitled "Bird abundance and diversity in shade coffee and natural forest in Kenya" in the journal Global Ecology & Conservation. Open access link here.

Submitted: November 4, 2022

Faculty Matt Johnson Wildlife Wildlife faculty member Matt Johnson has secured a new grant ($659,987) from the Agricultural Research Institute to investigate the use of nest boxes for bluebirds and swallows for insect pest control in winegrape vineyards. The 3-year project is in collaboration with researchers at UC Davis (Dr. Daniel Karp) and UC Riverside (Drs. Erin Wilson-Rankin and S. Houston Wilson), and it will fund a post-doctoral researcher and multiple undergraduate students from Cal Poly Humboldt, along with a PhD student at UC Davis. The research will occur in Napa Valley.

Submitted: November 4, 2022