People

wct Wendy C. Turner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the University at Albany
State University of New York
Google Scholar profile

 

Current Lab Members

Spencer Bruce, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
Spencer holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as well as an M.S. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Policy. Spencer is interested in landscape genomics, and its application in solving complex problems related to disease and conservation. As a trained molecular biologist he is currently studying Bacillus anthracis on a global scale using modern techniques for whole genome sequence analysis and bioinformatics. He is also directing lab work associated with whole genome library preparation, sequencing, genome assembly and annotation.
Naima Starkloff Naima Starkloff
Ph.D. candidate, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
co-advised with Dr. Jeremy Kirchman at the New York State Museum
Naima’s primary research goal is to document how bird diversity varies across space. She has recently delved deeper to investigate how the diversity of the blood parasites that live within birds vary across host species and geography. She is also interested in the effects of climate change on host and parasite ranges. Naima’s Ph.D. research focuses on Catharus thrushes and their Haemosporidian parasites.
 yen-hua Yen-Hua Huang, D.V.M.
Ph.D. candidate, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
Yen-Hua is studying anthrax dynamics in herbivorous wildlife in Etosha National Park, Namibia. He is working on revealing the causes and mechanisms of inter-annual and intra-annual fluctuations of anthrax incidence. His research aims to evaluate the contributions to anthrax dynamics by environmental fluctuations, variation of host foraging behavior, and host movement patterns. To monitor animal foraging behavior and movement, his fieldwork involves camera traps and GPS collaring animals.
Samantha Hoff Samantha Hoff
Ph.D. student, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
Samantha is studying the ecology of the northern long-eared bat, a species experiencing drastic population declines due to the fungal disease white-nose syndrome. She is investigating the mechanisms allowing coastal populations to persist despite infection, including potential genetic differences in population structure, determining factors influencing occupancy, and addressing data gaps in hibernation behavior. Her field work involves acoustic monitoring, mist netting, and radio tracking.
Zoe Barandongo Zoe Barandongo
Ph.D. student, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
Zoe is interested in microbiology and molecular biology of Bacillus anthracis, and how pathogen diversity may alter anthrax outbreak dynamics.
Casey Pendergast
Master’s student at UAlbany
Casey is interested in the resiliency of nature and its ability to recover from disturbances. She is researching the response of the Northern long eared bat to near extirpation by the fungal infection white nose syndrome. Her work explores the feeding activity of coastal Northern long eared bat populations during the hibernation period. Specifically she will be using insect surveys, acoustic monitoring and fecal analysis to inform on the presence and abundance of prey items, and the frequency of any winter feeding.

Hendrina Joel
MSc student, Department of Biology, University of Namibia. Co-advised with Dr. John Mfune
Hendrina is developing a project to investigate the effect of large animal carcasses on anthrax transmission dynamics. She will be using video camera traps to monitor how animals interact with the carcasses of elephants, rhinos, and giraffes
Celeste Champagne
Undergraduate student, majoring in Biology at UAlbany
Celeste is studying how herbivorous wildlife respond to anthrax carcass sites in Etosha National Park, Namibia.  Specifically, how differences in foraging behaviors among individuals and species contribute to differences in exposure to the anthrax bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. She extracts behavioral and demographic data from camera trap photographs of plains zebra and blue wildebeest, and to determine how carcass sites, and animal age and sex, alter their individual foraging behavior.
Shontae Duke
Undergraduate student, majoring in Biology at UAlbany
Shontae is interested in endangered mammals. Her research in the Turner lab involves analysis of bat acoustic data to determine the distribution and activity of coastal northern long-eared bat on islands year-round.
Tia Westcott
Undergraduate student, majoring in Biology at UAlbany
Tia has always been interested in wildlife and after enrolling in Dr. Turner’s ecology course she became even more enamored with the subject. She is working with camera trap photographs/videos to understand how animal behavior affects transmission of Bacillus anthracis.
Rachel Billig
Undergraduate student, majoring in Biology at UAlbany
Rachel plays Varsity Field Hockey here at UAlbany. She is in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps and will commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. She comes from a farm in Pennsylvania where she enjoys horseback riding, motor sports, and outdoor activities. In the Turner lab she is investigating springbok foraging behavior at carcass and control grassland sites.

 

Lab Alumni

zoe Zoe Barandongo, MSc (2015)
Department of Biology, University of Namibia
Co-advised with Dr. John Mfune
Thesis: Dust bathing behaviours of elephants, zebras and wildebeest and the potential risk of inhalational anthrax in Etosha National Park
zeppe Zepee Havarua, MSc (2011)
Department of Animal Science, University of Namibia
Co-advised with Dr. John Mfune
Thesis: Seasonal foraging behaviour of the plains zebra and the African elephant in relation to the occurrence of anthrax in Etosha National Park.
peace Peace Imologhome, MSc (2011)
Department of Animal Science, University of Namibia
Co-advised with Dr. Godwin Kaaya and Dr. Irvin Mpofu
Thesis: The relationships among nutrition, soil ingestion and anthrax occurrence in zebra and springbok in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

 

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