Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Desert Tortoise Recovery

Science Advisory Committee Members

Dr. Peter J. Hudson (external link) - Willaman Professor of Biology, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania – Dr. Hudson received his D. Phil. in the ecology of seabirds in 1979 from the University of Oxford. His work focuses on the ecology of wildlife diseases, including zoonoses. Dr. Hudson’s group uses a mixture of fieldwork, laboratory studies, and mathematical modeling to explore disease dynamics in three main study areas: 1) epidemiology and population dynamics, including how disease flows through wild animal populations, mechanisms that lead to disease persistence within populations, and the consequences of individual infections on host population dynamics; 2) identifying variation in transmission between infected individuals and the role of "superspreaders" in disease dynamics; and 3) parasite interactions (external link). Much of his work has implications for the control (external link) of wildlife diseases and of emerging (external link) zoonotic disease. Dr. Hudson teaches courses on the ecology of infectious diseases and advances in ecology. He has published over 170 peer-reviewed papers and books.

Dr. Earl D. McCoy (external link) - Professor of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida - Dr. McCoy received his Ph.D. in Biology at Florida State University in 1977. He has been at the University of South Florida since 1977. He has been the associate Chairman for the Department of Biology since 1992. He has also been a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia on several occasions. He is currently the primary investigator or a collaborator on several applied conservation biology research projects, including a large multi-disciplinary project examining the field epidemiology of the Upper Respiratory Tract Disease in the gopher tortoise. Dr. McCoy was a member of the Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan Assessment Committee and has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications, many of which focus on the ecology and conservation biology of gopher tortoises. He has also published extensively on the philosophy of science and the basis of experimental design in ecology, including the book Method in Ecology: Strategies for Conservation Problems. He is currently on the editorial board for 3 journals, including Ecology and Ecological Monographs.

Dr. Katherine Ralls (external link) - Senior Scientist, D January 23, 2014 Zoological Park, Washington, D.C. January 23, 2014 University in 1965. She has broad interests in the behavioral ecology, genetics, and conservation. Her work on inbreeding depression in captive mammals helped lay the foundation for the genetic and demographic management of captive populations now routinely practiced by major zoos worldwide. In the mid-1980s, she worked with Michael Soulé and other scientists to found the Society for Conservation Biology. She is also known for her research on endangered and threatened mammals in the western United States, particularly California sea otters and San Joaquin kit foxes. She has served on numerous scientific advisory committees for federal agencies involved in conservation efforts. This practical experience led to her interest in developing methods to make better (more robust and scientifically defensible) policy and management decisions under the all-too-common conditions of limited data and great uncertainty. Dr. Ralls is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received the Merriam Award from the American Society of Mammalogists and the LaRoe Award from the Society for Conservation Biology.

Dr. J. Michael Reed (external link) - Associate Professor of Biology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts – Dr. Reed earned his Ph.D. studying population biology and viability of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker from North Carolina State University in 1989. In addition to his position in the Department of Biology, he is also Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Population Health at Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. He works on a wide variety of conservation related research problems. Most of his research focuses on identifying characteristics of species that put them at risk to human-caused threats, understanding why (or how) these characteristics put a species at risk, and determining how best to reduce the risk. He has been working, in particular, on the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on extinction risk and population viability, as well as on the importance of animal behavior in extinction risk and conservation. His and his students’ work has involved birds, amphibians, moss, and butterflies. He has worked in forests and wetlands, evaluating habitat loss and fragmentation as well as the impacts of grazing, logging, and suburban sprawl on biodiversity. He has also worked in riparian-desert ecosystems and the effects of habitat loss and degradation. Dr. Reed has published over 80 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Robert J. Steidl (external link) - Associate Professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Science, University of Arizona, Tucson – Dr. Steidl is a vertebrate population ecologist whose research interests focus on conservation biology and applied quantitative ecology. Specifically, he and his students study a range of issues that center on quantifying the effects of human activities on wildlife populations, especially rare and endangered vertebrates. He also works to develop efficient approaches for reliably monitoring the status and trends of vertebrate populations at landscape and regional scales. He teaches graduate-level courses in applied statistics, research design, and population analysis and his service activities include Co-chair of the Science Technical Advisory Team for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and member of the Mt. Graham Red Squirrel Recovery Team.

Last updated: April 16, 2014