Albert uses research, instruction, and outreach to protect our planet's biodiversity. The driving force behind his professional career is to help us better understand how humans impact wildlife, explore solutions to these issues, and connect the public to science. His previous research has focused on amphibian health and biodiversity. More recently, he has explored how invasive species and disease affect turtles. His teaching research, as part of the Interdisciplinary Certificate in University Teaching, aims to understand how student driven learning can change perceptions of environmental issues. Finally, through outreach at Sandy Creek Nature Center, with the UGA Herpetological Society, and others he helps educate the public about science and nature. Interested in what Albert does? Please visit his website to learn more about his activities! https://sites.google.com/site/albertdmercurio/ .
In general, Gabrielle’s research interests relate to the conservation of endangered species, and ecotoxicology. She is currently investigating the effects of persistent environmental pollutants on the health and productivity of least terns (Sternula antillarum) on the Georgia coast. Specifically, she is interested in the sublethal health implications (e.g., immune suppression, reduced nestling growth rate), and with impaired reproductive performance (e.g., decreased nestling growth rate, decreased hatch or fledge rate), associated with elevated concentrations of heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the food web. Gabrielle is comparing breeding least terns in an estuary that has a long history of contamination from an EPA-listed "Superfund" industrial site, with breeding least terns at reference sites. She hopes that her findings will help to enlighten future management decisions (which do not currently take environmental contamination into consideration) that aim to appropriate, or create manmade, habitat for least tern breeding. She also hopes to demonstrate the utility of least terns as bioindicators of heavy metal and PCB contamination, which could facilitate the early detection of these pollutants in the food web so that further insult to other wildlife species, and to public health, could be prevented. Lastly, Gabrielle is devoted to innovating new approaches to predator management, in addition to testing existing predator management strategies, on the southeastern least tern population that she studies.
Kristy SegalKristy is a PhD candidate in the Odum School of Ecology, working with Dr. Ron Carroll in the Odum School and Dr. Sonia Hernandez. Her dissertation work focuses on amphibians in Costa Rica and how their health is affected by pesticide usage. Specifically, she is using a weight-of-evidence approach to assess the health status of Bufo marinus in agricultural habitats along a pesticide use gradient. In addition, she is collecting data on the entire amphibian community in these habitats. Her research involves aspects of ecology, ecoimmunology, ecotoxicology, and wildlife health to answer questions with real conservation implications. She hopes that the results of her research will be used to improve agricultural practices in Central America to better protect sensitive amphibian species. Kristy is motivated by the need for scientists to collect accurate and complete data on organisms living in human altered environments, to better inform conservation efforts. Currently, Kristy is completing sample analysis in the laboratory. She plans to graduate in the summer of 2014.
has a background on environmental studies and biology.
He was part of a study that compared the biodiversity
of the Everglades natural and agricultural lands and
human-made wetlands in South Florida. He also spent a
summer tracking mammals in remnant tracts of the
Atlantic rainforest in the state of Minas Gerais,
Brazil. Through these experiences he saw first hand
the interconnection between human activity and nature
as well as the power of the individual to influence
the outcome of these interactions. Sebastian is
pursuing a Ph.D in Integrative Conservation and
believes in using a multidisciplinary approach and
analyzing different points of view to find ways to
balance relationships between humans and the natural
world. He enjoys being in nature and sharing time with
family and friends.
Clym is a PhD student in the Warnell
School of Forestry and Natural Resources studying
Wildlife Disease. Clym has always been interesed in
diseases, especially the interface between human and
animal health. In the past, Clym has assisted with the
rehabilitation of dolphins, whales, and manatees in
Sarasota, Florida and has worked with dolphin
conservationists in Peru. During his Masters program
at UGA, Clym researched microhabitat use of North
Georgia freshwater fish. He is currently interested in
working on a KittyCam project taking place on Jekyll
Island. He is also interested in the effects of
domestic and feral cats on bird submissions to
wildlife rehabilitation centers. Clym is motivated by
the need to bridge the gaps between different
disciplines within the scientific community and work
towards a larger understanding of the most important
questions of global health.