March 19, 2014


GORE digital boardMembers of my lab conduct applied social science research on environmental problems that are inherently interdisciplinary. Although a lot of academics are notoriously “siloed” in a way that precludes holistic problem definition, delineation of research objectives, data collection, and interpretation of results, members of my lab work to overcome these shortcomings. I recognize interdisciplinary scientists  have challenges communicating and sharing knowledge with each other because of different terminologies and epistemologies that can require substantial investments in time and social capital to overcome; I mentor my students to confront and overcome these challenges. Previous lab members have focused on a wide array of human dimensions of fisheries and wildlife conservation issues; increasingly, students research conservation criminology-related topics, including building capacity to reduce blue water crime, wildlife poaching, and improving fisheries management rules.

My lab is extramurally funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, US Department of Agriculture, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Fulbright Program; they have worked in Michigan, Madagascar, Namibia, Singapore, Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Russia.


Current Lab Members

shapeimage_3Jessica Kahler, Ph.D. Candidate

Jessica studies the relationship between risk perception, vulnerability, and compliance associated with human-wildlife conflict in Indonesia.


Ronak Sripal, Ph.D. Student



Ethan Shirley, MS/JD Student

Ethan Shirley is a J.D. candidate concurrently pursuing a Master’s in Fisheries and Wildlife. He has worked for eleven years in the Brazilian Pantanal executing educational projects about sustainability and conservation in the region. His research will look into environmental education in the Pantanal and its effects on compliance  with environmental laws and policies. He also has worked extensively on woolly mammoth paleobiology. In his free time he plays guitar and piano very badly.


divider-line-3Former Lab Members

Dr. Michelle L. Lute, PhD Student

Michelle studied the interface between conservation ethics, risk perception, and conservation stewardship within the context of wolf management in Michigan.

Dr. Heather Triezenberg, Postdoctoral Research Associate


Heather developed a risk communication program and evaluated its impacts on stakeholders’ risk perceptions associated with bovine tuberculosis in Michigan. She is now the Extension Specialist and Program Coordinator for Michigan Sea Grant Extension.


Bret Muter

Bret  explored social network effects on public perceptions of risk associated with Double-crested cormorants in the Great Lakes Basin. He is now the Program Manager for the Stewart Udall Parks in Focus Program.



Allyson Hughes, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Allyson explored the transmission risk of bovine tuberculosis between livestock and white-tailed deer in Michigan.


Lisa Fishbeck, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Lisa worked  on a cross-cultural content analysis on media coverage of sharks.




Term-based Graduate Research Assistants

Roy Fenoff, PhD student

Jeremy Carter, PhD

Rachel Boratto, PhD student

Mark Gibson, PhD student

Adam Buchard, MS student

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