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Karen Beard, Professor

Karen Beard

My field of specialization is conservation biology. My research usually focuses on species interactions and subsequent impacts on ecosystem processes, especially focused on the issues of invasive species and climate change. I am especially excited about a few projects I’m starting. I have been working with a group of graduate students at USU on the traits that make herpetofauna invasive. The results of some of this work will be part of a Special issue on Reptile Conservation in Biological Conservation.  I am also in the throws a 3-year NSF-funded research project on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta on the effects of changes in migratory bird timing and the start of the growing season on ecosystem functioning. Finally in the past year I have started a new project on the effects of changing precipitation patterns in Utah and have new students continuing research on the impacts of an invasive frog in Hawaii. 

Current Graduate Students

Ryan Choi, PhD Student

Ryan Choi

Ryan is studying the impacts of climate change on ecosystem function in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. He is focused on how phenology of sub-arctic tundra plants and the seasonal arrival of migratory Pacific black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) affects ecosystem functioning at our Tutakoke River field site.

Leandro Do Nascimento, PhD Student

Leandro Do Nascimento

Leandro is studying the effects of land use change and habitat heterogeneity on biodiversity in the Amazon Basin. He is going to focus on using acoustic diversity as a proxy for biodiversity.

Lindsay Carlson, MS Student

Lindsay CarlsonLindsay is also working on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. She is studying the effects of climate change on compeitition between two dominant plants at our Tutakoke River field site.

Martin Holdrege, MS Student

Martin Holdrege

Martin is studying how changes in precipitation will influence a shrub-steppe communities and an agricultural ecosystem in Cache Valley.  He is leading a large manipulative rainfall experiment in two sites and measuring plant and soil responses to these manipulations.

Robyn Smith, MS Student

Robyn Smith

For her research, Robyn studied the interactions between the avian community and coqui frogs in Hawaii.  She conducted a landscape-scale survey and an isotopic diet analysis.

Shane Hill, MS student

Shane Hill

Shane is studying predators of coqui frogs and determining how invasive coquis influence introduced mammal populations, nest predation rates and what animals scavenge and consume frogs.

Current Undergraduate Researchers

Sydney Sprouse

Sydney is an USU undergraduate researcher working on root biomass patterns across Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Thomas DeMasters

Thomas is an USU undergraduate working in the Y-K Delta, Alaska.  He'll be investigating the role of different components of herbivory on CN cycling.  He received an URCO and QCNR funding to support this work

Past Students

PhD Students:

Rodrigo B. Ferreria, Post-doctoral Researcher, Universidade Vila Velha (UVV), Espirito Santo - Brazil
Emily Kalnicky, Director of Science Education and Research, Phipps Conservatory
Eric O’Neill, Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Master’s students:

Nicole Nolan, Environmental Consulting in Washington
Pascale Warren, Environmental Program Specialist, Dept of Environmental Conservation, Fairbanks, AK
Ryan Choi, PhD student at USU
Christina Olson, Environmental Consulting in the Philipines
Nathania Tuttle, Research Scientist, USDA, Fresno, California
Hans Sin, Non-game Wildlife Biologist, Cal Fish and Wildlife, San Diego, California
G. Page Kyle, Research Scientist, Joint Global Change Research Institute, University of Maryland
Echo Rexroad, Environmental Consulting in Texas

Recent undergraduate researchers:

Arthur Wallis, worked in Hawaii, teaching English in Japan
Hope Braithwaite, worked in the YK Delta
JJ Cieslewicz, worked in Hawaii