Dr. Samuel Wasser
Dr. Samuel Wasser is acknowledged worldwide as a pioneer of non-invasive wildlife monitoring methods, including the genetic, endocrine and detection dog techniques used by the Center.
After obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1981, Dr. Wasser received consecutive Career Development Awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. In 2001, Dr. Wasser was awarded the Endowed Chair in Conservation Biology by the University of Washington Board of Regents.
Dr. Wasser has participated in a number of conservation programs around the world, in collaboration with state, federal, and international organizations. He was coordinator of the Smithsonian Institution’s Wildlife Conservation and Management Training Program for African Nationals. He also co-edited the book Biogeography and Ecology of the Rain Forests of Eastern Africa, describing one of the most biodiverse “hot-spots” in the world.
His work is internationally respected by scientists, environmental activists, and government and non-government wildlife managers. This places Dr. Wasser in a unique position to negotiate the kinds of conservation solutions needed in our rapidly changing world.
Heath received his B.Sc. from the University of Tennessee in 1996. He began working as a dog handler and orienteer with the Center for Conservation Biology in 2001. Heath now serves as the Program Coordinator for the Center’s Conservation Canine program. Heath is the primary dog trainer and handler for the Center, where he works alongside his best bud, Gator.
Bud Marks received his B.Sc from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 2004. He worked as an intern on the Northern Spotted Owl study in conjunction with the Center for Conservation Biology and went on to become a CK9 handler in December 2005. Bud has served on numerous projects most notably seeking out fishers with his favorite dog, Frehley.
Elizabeth Seely received her B.Sc from the University of Washington in 2007 with a major in Physiology and a minor in Aquatic Sciences and Law, Society and Justice. She began with Conservation Canines in 2008 as an orienteer for the oil sands study in Alberta, Canada. She currently is a CK9 handler for the CCB and works along side many of the CK9s on a variety of studies from northern spotted owls to southern resident killer whales with Tucker.
Jennifer Hartman received her B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005 with a degree in English Lit. and History minor. She pursued her love of nature and conservation as an intern with the CCB’s Spotted Owl project from 2006-2008. She became a dog handler for the Center’s Conservation Canine Program in 2009, where she conducts research alongside her two best CK9 friends, Max and Scooby.
Bob Walter obtained his B.Sc. in Forest Management from Washington State University in 1972. He worked as a naturalist and Chief of Operations at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park for five years, and as Director of Education at the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County for 27 years. He currently serves on the Pierce County Animal Services Advisory Panel. Bob joined CCB’s Conservation Canine program in 2009 as a facility manager and volunteer coordinator at the dogs’ home base at UW’s Pack Forest in Pierce County.
Rebecca Nelson Booth conducts hormone and DNA analyses on the wide variety of animal species studied by the CCB. She is dedicated to combining her love and passion for wildlife and the environment with lab techniques and experiments that facilitate conservation.
Before joining the Center for Conservation Biology, Rebecca worked at Western Fisheries Research Center assisting in the study of Chinook salmon immunology and disease. Rebecca received her A.S. in Biotechnology from Shoreline Community College in 2001, a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Washington in 2004, and has been working in the CCB lab since September 2003.
Celia joined the Center for Conservation Biology as an undergraduate volunteer in June of 2004, assisting in the genetic tracking of poached elephant ivory. She became a Center employee in August 2004 and went on to optimize methods to extract DNA from ivory. She has played an important role in creating the geographic-based map of elephant gene frequencies, used to assign large ivory seizures to their places of origin.
An appreciation and love for nature guided Celia to pursue a career in conservation. She enjoys being a participant in the inspirational mission of the Center and to work on a project that has had real impacts on the ivory trade.
In 2005, Celia graduated from the Department of Biology at the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science. She was a Howard Hughes Biology Fellow as an undergraduate and participated in research programs in the labs of Drs. Benjamin Hall and Roger del Moral.
Samrat Mondol is a Fulbright Fellow and postdoctoral student in the Department of Biology and Center for Conservation Biology. Samrat completed his PhD from the National Center for Biological Sciences in India after finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Genetics, Microbiology and Biochemistry and Master’s in Genetics. His dissertation research focused on tiger and leopard population genetics and demography, estimating their current and historic genetic diversity, population size, population declines, connectivity, relatedness and social structure.
Samrat is collaborating with our Center to validate and integrate noninvasive hormone analyses into a broader program that includes monitoring the distribution, abundance and physiological health of tigers and leopards across India, as well forensic applications to the illegal wildlife trade. The latter includes developing a user-friendly version of the Smoothed-Continuous Assignment Method (SCAT) our Center developed to assign poached material to its place of origin. Samrat also collaborates with other members of our team on method development applied to a wide variety of vertebrates.
Jennifer White is a graduate student researching landscape genetic patterns of jaguar and puma in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. She is interested in quantifying the relationship between geographic characteristics and spatially explicit genetic information. Her research focuses on wide-ranging carnivore species, such as the jaguar and puma, in patchy environments. By investigating the relationships between human land use, wildlife movement patterns, and phylogeography, Jennifer will create a spatial assessment of the Yucatan’s conservation priorities. Her dissertation work will be applicable to many other wildlife species faced with human encroachment on natural habitats.
Jennifer earned her B.A. degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania. She has worked as a field technician for many projects including: ocelot ecology in Belize, swift fox ecology in Colorado, plant-herbivore dynamics in Panama, herpetofauna biodiversity in South Carolina, plant biodiversity in Minnesota, and non-native plants in the Grand Canyon N.P.. Jennifer has also worked in the laboratory on several wildlife genetics projects with Michigan State University.
Jessica Lundin is an EPA STAR Fellow and a graduate student in the Center for Conservation Biology with a focus in environmental toxicology. Her research interests are to evaluate the presence and impacts of environmental contaminants through the biomonitoring of wildlife. Jessica’s research project dissertation will monitor and evaluate contamination in the Puget Sound ecosystem by using detection dogs to collect scat from the endangered Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW). The samples will be analyzed for biologic indices of health and for toxicant levels.
Jessica has a B.Sc. in biomedical science and earned a Master’s degree in epidemiology with an emphasis in environmental toxicology from the University of Minnesota in 2006. She has a background as a Research Scientist evaluating the association of environmental exposures such as perfluorinated compounds (PFOA), metals, pesticides and adverse health outcomes like disease and cancer.
Carolyn Shores is a graduate student in the biology department at the UW researching the effects of wolf recolonization on mesocarnivores, specifically Canada lynx, bobcat and coyote. She plans to use the non-invasive tools pioneered by the Center for Conservation Biology to study whether wolf recolonization aids recovery of the endangered Canada lynx population in Washington state by stabilizing coyote populations. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2010 with an Honors B.Sc degree in Biology. Her senior thesis examined the diet of gray wolves in the Alberta tar sands, working with Center director, Sam Wasser.
Carolyn’s prior field experience includes research on threatened small mammals in the North Cascades and Methow Valley of Washington state, trophic cascade ecology studies in Colorado and Alberta, lynx remote camera work in the San Juan mountains of Colorado, and wolf ecology in the Apennine mountains of Italy. She volunteered on the Canada lynx capture crew in Washington.
Emily is an M.Sc.BT graduate student in the biology department at UW. She is currently working on developing an aldosterone assay, an adrenal hormone involved in the regulation of salt, potassium, fluid, and blood pressure.
Emily earned a B.Sc. in Biology from UC Santa Cruz, and completed a senior thesis on community dynamics of sharks and rays in Elkhorn Slough Marine Estuary. She trained and worked under the Oiled Wildlife Care Network of UC Davis, performing wildlife intake and rehab during the Cosco Busan oil spill of 2007 in S.F Bay, CA. She has also been involved in marine biological pollution research, sea otter conservation, marine wildlife veterinary care and research including necropsy and pathology, behavioral ecology, and intertidal fish ecology.
Emily is passionate about education and has taught marine education at UCSC’s Seymour Center, and environmental education at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island, WA. She also loves her dog Sunny, a lot.
Lisa Hayward studies stress physiology. She is particularly interested in developing physiological measures from scat as relevant indicators of disturbance impacts. Currently she is collaborating with her post-doctoral advisor, Dr. Sam Wasser, as well as managers from U.S Fish and Wildlife and the U.S Forest Service, and motorcycle riders from the Blue Ribbon Coalition to examine the effects of off-road vehicle use on the physiology, behavior and reproductive output of the northern spotted owl. Lisa completed her dissertation work in the lab of John Wingfield on the effects of high maternal corticosterone in egg yolk on offspring development and phenotype.
Kathleen Gobush, Ph.D. completed her doctoral research with the Center for Conservation Biology in June 2008. Her research examined long term impacts of poaching on a population of wild elephants in Tanzania that was severely poached in the 1980′s. She investigated how elephant group composition impacts their competitive ability, reproductive output and stress physiology using non-invasive fecal hormone and molecular techniques. Kathleen was awarded several fellowships to support her graduate work: a University of Washington Alice and Byron Lockwood Graduate Student Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Pre-doctoral Graduate Fellowship and a NSF GK-12 Fellowship.
Kathleen graduated from Barnard College , Columbia University with a B.A. in Biology in 1996. She has backgrounds in field research and laboratory science and brought both skill sets to her doctoral degree pursuit. She studied the behavior ecology and reproduction of several wild species including the black lion tamarin in southern in southern Brazil , greater spear-nosed bats in Trinidad, and Tule elk in Norhern California. In maintaining her goal of promoting the conservation of endangered species, she now works as a research ecologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration focusing on the recovery of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal.
Carly Vynne’s principal research interest is in understanding the functional connectivity of landscapes from the perspective of wide-ranging mammals. As a graduate student in our lab, Carly is currently employing Center techniques to study maned wolves and other large mammals in the Cerrado of Brazil. Her Ph.D. research combines fieldwork, DNA and hormone analysis, and spatial modeling to understand the influence of a changing landscape on the plight of unique and endangered species of the South American savannas. Carly has received fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International, and the National Security Education Program.
Prior to entering graduate school, Carly worked at Conservation International (CI) as the Senior Manager for Biodiversity Analysis and Planning. Before starting at CI, Carly lived and worked in South Africa on a lion introduction project and was the Staff Scientist for a local Sierra Nevada-based NGO. Carly received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Middlebury College.
Katherine is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biology and the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington and is a Northwest Fisheries Science Center fellow. Katherine received a BA in Biology from Pomona College in 2004 and subsequently worked as a lab technician in the developmental biology lab of Clarissa Cheney at Pomona College studying Drosophila development. Her senior thesis was conducted in the lab of Daniel Martínez at Pomona Collage and described the expression pattern of a gene in hydra involved in nervous system development.
Katherine made a dramatic change in study systems to killer whales for her dissertation work. She has a keen interest in the use of non-invasive physiological monitoring tools and understanding how persistent organic pollutants disrupt the endocrine system. She is also interested in the interface between policy and science as it pertains to environmental issues and helps coordinate an Environmental Policy Seminar at the University of Washington.
Lynn Erckmann, Research Technologist
Lynn performs hormone radioimmunoassays for the Center’s laboratory. She is pleased to be able to play a part in studies that promote wildlife conservation, particularly with endangered species.
She joined the Center in June 2008. Prior to that, Lynn worked for 20 years for Dr. John Wingfield in the Laboratory for Environmental Endocrinology at the University of Washington, managing the lab, conducting hormone radioimmunoassays and overseeing the research birds. During the preceding 20 years she worked for Dr. Gordon Orians on bird behavior, plant-herbivore interactions, and performed chemical assays on plant secondary compounds. She has done extensive field research in Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Arizona, and Washington. Lynn received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Miami in 1964.