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Mentors

Below are some of the mentors for REU-Raptor Research. Some mentors may not have openings each year, and some may have several openings for REU-Raptor Research participants in a given year. Research mentors with expertise in raptor biology but not listed below may also participate.

List of Mentors

  • Sarah Schulwitz holding a bird

    Dr. Sarah Schulwitz

    Program Director for The Peregrine Fund’s American Kestrel Project

    Research Interests: Artificial nest boxes are popular tools intended to aid secondary cavity nesting birds such as owls, kestrels, and songbirds. The Peregrine Fund’s American Kestrel Partnership (AKP) works with citizen and professional scientists across North America who install and monitor nest boxes to contribute data to a centralized database. Unfortunately, many citizen scientists are inconsistent with their installation, monitoring, and box relocation regimes. My research focuses on aspects of nest box programs for conservation and management of birds of prey.

    Research Interests: Artificial nest boxes are popular tools intended to aid secondary cavity nesting birds such as owls, kestrels, and songbirds. The Peregrine Fund’s American Kestrel Partnership (AKP) works with citizen and professional scientists across North America who install and monitor nest boxes to contribute data to a centralized database. Unfortunately, many citizen scientists are inconsistent with their installation, monitoring, and box relocation regimes. My research focuses on aspects of nest box programs for conservation and management of birds of prey.

  • Dr. Poessel

    Dr. Sharon Poessel

    Affiliate, Raptor Research Center, Boise State University, and U.S. Geological Survey Wildlife Biologist

    My research interests are focused on movements, behavior, habitat use, and spatial ecology of wildlife.  I am currently studying a variety of birds, with a particular focus on California condors.  I am interested in understanding flight patterns, movements, foraging behavior, and distribution of this critically endangered species, with the goal of promoting condor conservation.

    My research interests are focused on movements, behavior, habitat use, and spatial ecology of wildlife.  I am currently studying a variety of birds, with a particular focus on California condors.  I am interested in understanding flight patterns, movements, foraging behavior, and distribution of this critically endangered species, with the goal of promoting condor conservation.

  • julie

    Dr. Julie Heath

    Professor, Department of Biological Sciences and Raptor Research Center, Boise State University

    Research Interests: My lab addresses questions about how birds survive and reproduce in human-dominated environments. We use physiological and behavioral ecology approaches to understand interactions between global change and bird populations. Much of the research in my lab has focused on avian reproduction and migration. Studies that aid in our understanding of the links between habitat conditions and the physiological or behavioral mechanisms that are driving population declines can help inform wildlife management and aid in the conservation of declining species. See Julie Heath’s recent publications here.

    Research Interests: My lab addresses questions about how birds survive and reproduce in human-dominated environments. We use physiological and behavioral ecology approaches to understand interactions between global change and bird populations. Much of the research in my lab has focused on avian reproduction and migration. Studies that aid in our understanding of the links between habitat conditions and the physiological or behavioral mechanisms that are driving population declines can help inform wildlife management and aid in the conservation of declining species. See Julie Heath’s recent publications here.

  • david-anderson

    Dr. David Anderson

    Program Director for The Peregrine Fund’s Gyrfalcon and Tundra Conservation Project

    Research Interests: I am the Program Director for The Peregrine Fund’s Gyrfalcon and Tundra Conservation project.  My goal is to learn how climate change may affect the breeding biology and population status of Gyrfalcons throughout the Arctic through a series of cascading effects that ripple through the entire tundra ecosystem.  This is a new program, and we are starting field studies in western Alaska on Gyrfalcon diet, and factors related to population biology like productivity, occupancy, and nest site selection. See Dr. Anderson’s Peregrine Fund web page here.

    Research Interests: I am the Program Director for The Peregrine Fund’s Gyrfalcon and Tundra Conservation project.  My goal is to learn how climate change may affect the breeding biology and population status of Gyrfalcons throughout the Arctic through a series of cascading effects that ripple through the entire tundra ecosystem.  This is a new program, and we are starting field studies in western Alaska on Gyrfalcon diet, and factors related to population biology like productivity, occupancy, and nest site selection. See Dr. Anderson’s Peregrine Fund web page here.

  • Jay_GIF

    Dr. Jay Carlisle

    Research Director, Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) and Associate Research Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Boise State University

    Research Interests: Jay’s research interests are focused on the stopover ecology, habitat needs, and conservation of migratory land birds in the West and in Latin America. He has authored and co-authored over 15 peer-reviewed publications, many of which focus on migration and stopover issues, as well as numerous technical reports. He also dreams of establishing a year-round research program that would include migration and wintering studies in Latin America.  In 2010, Jay and several colleagues at Idaho Department of Fish and Game began working to form the Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership (IBCP), an effort designed to contribute to the management, science delivery, outreach, and conservation of birds and their habitats in Idaho via enhanced collaboration and communication. Jay is now excited to be serving as the part-time coordinator for the IBCP. In his free time, Jay enjoys birding, soccer, hiking, biking, trying to speak Spanish, and international travel. See Jay Carlisle’s recent publications here.

    Research Interests: Jay’s research interests are focused on the stopover ecology, habitat needs, and conservation of migratory land birds in the West and in Latin America. He has authored and co-authored over 15 peer-reviewed publications, many of which focus on migration and stopover issues, as well as numerous technical reports. He also dreams of establishing a year-round research program that would include migration and wintering studies in Latin America.  In 2010, Jay and several colleagues at Idaho Department of Fish and Game began working to form the Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership (IBCP), an effort designed to contribute to the management, science delivery, outreach, and conservation of birds and their habitats in Idaho via enhanced collaboration and communication. Jay is now excited to be serving as the part-time coordinator for the IBCP. In his free time, Jay enjoys birding, soccer, hiking, biking, trying to speak Spanish, and international travel. See Jay Carlisle’s recent publications here.

  • todd-katzner

    Dr. Todd Katzner

    Affiliate Faculty, Raptor Research Center, Boise State University and U.S. Geological Survey

    Research Interests: Research in my lab group focuses on interactions between wildlife and human activity. For example, much of my research is geared towards understanding flight and movement behavior of raptors, so that we can use that understanding to predict risk to from development of wind turbines and other energy infrastructure. My team also studies questions related to distribution, abundance, health and behavior of wildlife on the landscape and how those patterns are influenced by human activity. Although we publish on many taxa, most of our work is focused on birds, especially large soaring birds of prey, avian habitat associations, annual movements, population dynamics, survey and monitoring, food habits and natural resources conservation.

    Research Interests: Research in my lab group focuses on interactions between wildlife and human activity. For example, much of my research is geared towards understanding flight and movement behavior of raptors, so that we can use that understanding to predict risk to from development of wind turbines and other energy infrastructure. My team also studies questions related to distribution, abundance, health and behavior of wildlife on the landscape and how those patterns are influenced by human activity. Although we publish on many taxa, most of our work is focused on birds, especially large soaring birds of prey, avian habitat associations, annual movements, population dynamics, survey and monitoring, food habits and natural resources conservation.

  • jim

    Dr. Jim Belthoff

    Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Interim Director of the Raptor Research Center, Boise State University, and Project Director for REU-Raptor Research

    Research Interests: Much of my research focuses on the biology, behavior, and ecology of owls and other birds. I’m interested in dispersal, migration, mating systems, territoriality, ectoparasites and disease ecology, and how habitat conversion to agriculture affects birds of prey. I have current projects related to the population biology, behavioral ecology, ectoparasites, and conservation of burrowing owls; roadway mortality and ecology of barn owls, ecotoxicology in ferruginous hawks, and the behavioral ecology of flammulated owls and western screech-owls. See Jim Belthoff’s recent publications here.

    Research Interests: Much of my research focuses on the biology, behavior, and ecology of owls and other birds. I’m interested in dispersal, migration, mating systems, territoriality, ectoparasites and disease ecology, and how habitat conversion to agriculture affects birds of prey. I have current projects related to the population biology, behavioral ecology, ectoparasites, and conservation of burrowing owls; roadway mortality and ecology of barn owls, ecotoxicology in ferruginous hawks, and the behavioral ecology of flammulated owls and western screech-owls. See Jim Belthoff’s recent publications here.

  • dusty

    Dusty Perkins

    Assistant Professor, Department of Life Sciences, College of Western Idaho and Affiliate Research Scientist, Boise State University

    Research Interests:  My research interests include conservation biology, effects of anthropogenic landscape change on wildlife, ecology, and population genetics. Most recently, I have worked with undergraduate researchers to evaluate the impacts of human activities and land management practices on the breeding ecology of several animal species. My work uses traditional biological field methods, GIS, and molecular approaches to address questions related to ecology, conservation and molecular ecology. I mentor REU participants (1) on osprey (Pandion haliaetus) projects to evaluate factors that affect habitat suitability in a managed reservoir system and human-dominated ecosystem in central Idaho, and (2) on studies within the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation area related to ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) behavior and ecology.

    Research Interests:  My research interests include conservation biology, effects of anthropogenic landscape change on wildlife, ecology, and population genetics. Most recently, I have worked with undergraduate researchers to evaluate the impacts of human activities and land management practices on the breeding ecology of several animal species. My work uses traditional biological field methods, GIS, and molecular approaches to address questions related to ecology, conservation and molecular ecology. I mentor REU participants (1) on osprey (Pandion haliaetus) projects to evaluate factors that affect habitat suitability in a managed reservoir system and human-dominated ecosystem in central Idaho, and (2) on studies within the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation area related to ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis) behavior and ecology.

  • greg

    Greg Kaltenecker

    Executive Director, Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO), Boise State University

    Research Interests: One of Greg’s objectives was to provide an exciting and real-life research and training opportunity for Boise State students while conducting long-term research and community outreach. Greg’s research passion is bird migration, and his lifelong pursuit is to educate the public about birds, science, and conservation. He believes that a strong public community presence is critical to being an effective scientist and the easiest way to accomplish conservation is through active public engagement. The most rewarding part of his life is sharing his passion with the local public, and introducing children to birds, nature, and the outdoors. In his spare time, Greg can be found enjoying the public lands of Idaho while fishing, hunting, and hiking. His thoughts and efforts focus on his family including wife Deniz and two daughters Ayla and Alara. He daydreams often of his favorite outdoor pursuit: saltwater fly fishing, and Greg and family vacation to the sea as much as possible to chase this passion.

    Research Interests: One of Greg’s objectives was to provide an exciting and real-life research and training opportunity for Boise State students while conducting long-term research and community outreach. Greg’s research passion is bird migration, and his lifelong pursuit is to educate the public about birds, science, and conservation. He believes that a strong public community presence is critical to being an effective scientist and the easiest way to accomplish conservation is through active public engagement. The most rewarding part of his life is sharing his passion with the local public, and introducing children to birds, nature, and the outdoors. In his spare time, Greg can be found enjoying the public lands of Idaho while fishing, hunting, and hiking. His thoughts and efforts focus on his family including wife Deniz and two daughters Ayla and Alara. He daydreams often of his favorite outdoor pursuit: saltwater fly fishing, and Greg and family vacation to the sea as much as possible to chase this passion.

  • Dr. Jim Smith

    Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Boise State University

    Research Interests: My laboratory focuses on molecular approaches to addressing evolutionary questions in animals and plants. Advances in the past 20+ years have enabled the use of DNA to rapidly answer many important biological questions in a cost-effective manner. Among these are questions relating to gene flow, population structure, species boundaries, source of migrants, and identifying species using DNA barcoding, all of which can be applied to raptor biology.

    Research Interests: My laboratory focuses on molecular approaches to addressing evolutionary questions in animals and plants. Advances in the past 20+ years have enabled the use of DNA to rapidly answer many important biological questions in a cost-effective manner. Among these are questions relating to gene flow, population structure, species boundaries, source of migrants, and identifying species using DNA barcoding, all of which can be applied to raptor biology.