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We are a research lab at Monmouth University, focusing in the fields of Wildlife Population Ecology, Conservation Biology and Herpetology.  


As an applied lab, we focus on one fundamental, but broad question: How will wildlife populations persist across landscapes dominated by humans?  

We are currently funded under 3 grants:

  1. National Parks Service - Evaluating nesting spatial ecology, reproductive vulnerabilities, and estimating the breeding population of Diamond-backed terrapin at Gateway Recreation Area (Sandy Hook Unit), Sagamore Hills National Historic Site and Fire Island National Seashore.

  2. National Science Foundation - To develop a Research and Mentoring Program (NSF RaMP) built around our research network, SPARCnet, to train postbaccalaureates in population ecology and professional development, as well as to train mentors in strong mentorship practices. Check out some press on this HERE

  3. The Wildlife Management Institute - As part of a regional conservation needs initiative focused on the Diamond-backed terrapin, we will study and develop how to use drones to study terrapin populations across the northeastern U.S. (emphasis on repeated count approaches)

Check out what our students are up to...

Recent News!

  1. MORE EXCITING NEWS. Dr. Sterrett has been awarded a grant, along with collaborator Dr. Patricia Levasseur, from the Wildlife Management Institute, to develop drone surveys for studying Diamond-backed terrapins. This work will begin in Summer 2024. 

  2. EXCITING NEWS. A National Science Foundation grant, led by Caitlin Fisher-Reid (Bridgewater State University), has been funded, which will help us develop a mentor and mentee program around SPARCnet, our salamander research network across the Northeastern U.S., to train postbaccalaureates  You can learn more about the award HERE.

  3. Adriana Simancas, a senior in our lab, was awarded best undergraduate poster at the 2023 Northeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation annual meeting. 

  4. Madison Patterson has joined our lab for Summer 2023 and will focus on her honor's thesis research, examining the mesopredator community that overlaps with a box turtle population in Monmouth County, New Jersey. 

  5. Long-time lab member, Chris Meehan, will be a Summer Scholars Program fellow for Summer 2023, which means he'll live in a living and learning community at Monmouth University and complete a study of habitat selection for Eastern box turtles in Monmouth County, New Jersey. 

  6. Former lab affiliate and current PhD student at Louisiana State University, Hannah Craft, got her first, first-authored paper at the Journal of Environmental Management on a paper focused on prioritizing vernal pools for protection across New Jersey. See publications page!

  7. In collaboration with state biologists, we published a cooperator series report on a long-term monitoring protocol for the declining Brook Floater (Alasmidonta varicosa). See report here:

  8. Richard Robinson presented his research on preliminary home ranges of Eastern Box Turtle in a suburban island to the Monmouth University Provost, President and other summer scholars program students and mentors. He was awesome!

  9. Richard Robinson is our Summer Scholars Program fellow for summer 2022. He will be starting our suburban Eastern Box Turtle project, in which we will be using radiotelemetry to understand how box turtles use small plots of land, essentially islands, in a matrix of suburban development.

  10. Lab member, Rebecca Berzins, wrote a perspective and summary piece titled, The Use of Technology in Wildlife Monitoring, about our work with drones and diamond-backed terrapins. 

  11. Featuring two Monmouth University students, Angelina Ireland and Sara Grouleff, a new SPARCnet pre-print is available, titled "Eastern red-backed salamanders: A comprehensive review of an undervalued model in evolution, ecology, & behavior". This manuscript is currently in review at Herpetological Monographs.

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