Current Graduate Students


Shannon Curry

Shannon’s educational background is in ecological anthropology and archaeology. Most recently she has worked in the field with conservation organizations including the National Park Service. Shannon’s research interests include the impact of anthropogenic habitat change and loss on wildlife health and overall ecological balance. Shannon’s thesis research will investigate wildlife disease incidence and its implications for human and wildlife health. Her research will also address human perceptions of wildlife and wildlife disease. With her work in wildlife ecology, Shannon seeks to contribute to a better understanding of human-wildlife dimensions. Ultimately, she hopes to remedy or improve issues with natural resource use, health, and conservation.


Albert Mercurio 

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/ .


Kristy Segal

Kristy 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 data analyis and writing her dissertation. She plans to graduate in the summer of 2014.

Catie_WelchCatie Welch

Catie's passion for wildlife brought her to UGA to work towards her Masters degree. Growing up in south Florida, she spent much of it outdoors, where her interest in wildlife, and specifically birds, was ignited. She followed her interests and pursued a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Florida Atlantic University where she focused on GIS, ornithology, and land management.  After graduation, Catie worked with the Florida Park Service on an ongoing study of the endemic, endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. She has also volunteered to assist in the research of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Florida Scrub Jays, and White Ibises.  Her Master's thesis is focused on understanding how urbanization affects White Ibises (Eudocimus albus) in South Florida. She is utilizing radio telemetry and band re-sightings to determine site fidelity and, more importantly, the proportion of time ibises spend in an urban environment. For more information, please visit the White Ibis Project website!


Jenny Bloodgood

Jenny's background is in Wildlife Biology. She received her BS and MS from Clemson. Her Master's thesis focused on the effects of climate change on bald eagle egg-lay dates. Most recently, she served as the Curator of Veterinary Services at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. She is now pursuing a DVM/PhD, with the PhD being in Integrative Conservation in Forestry and Natural Resources. For her PhD research, she hopes to study the interface of humans and wildlife and how different aspects of research can be applied across the spectrum.



Sebastian Ortiz

Sebastian 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 Gatrell


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.