Conservation Research Laboratory: People

Director: John L. Koprowski

Dr. John Koprowski joined the project as director in 2000 and is also Professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Science at the University of Arizona where he teaches courses in General Ecology, Applications of Behavioral Ecology to Conservation Biology, and Small Mammal Conservation and Management. His research interests are focused on the conservation and behavioral ecology of vertebrates, most recently the ecology of rare tree squirrels and an uncommon social carnivore, the coati. Since joining the Red Squirrel Monitoring Project, John has addressed the dearth of information regarding Mt. Graham red squirrel demographics and space use by instating an intensive radio telemetry component which currently employs two full time research assistants. In addition, John has brought on several graduate students - many of whom are studying Mt. Graham red squirrels and whose research has contributed a great deal to what is known about this isolated subspecies. For more information about John and his current research projects and graduate students, please visit John's personal website. Read about John's academic lineage here.

Wildlife Biologist, Senior: Vicki Greer

Vicki has been with the Red Squirrel Monitoring Project since its inception in 1989. She received a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Science and a B.A. in Ecology from the University of Missouri.
She supervises team biologists and technicians, oversees the population censuses of squirrels on the monitored areas, manages many long-term databases for the project, prepares reports for cooperating agencies as well as manuscripts for peer-reviewed
journals and presentations at professional conferences.
Before coming to Arizona to chase squirrels professionally, she studied pileated woodpecker behavior and home ranges in Missouri, limnology in Alaska, and breeding biology of mallards in North Dakota.

Wildlife Biologist, Senior: Melissa Merrick

Melissa joined the monitoring project as a wildlife biologist in 2005. She received her Master's degree at Idaho State University with a post-baccalaureate certificate in geotechnoloiges. She is responsible for the project's spatial data sets, processing telemetry data, analyzing squirrel space use, hiring and keeping track of the telemetry research assistants, and carrying out field work on Mt. Graham. Melissa completed her PhD testing hypotheses related to Mt. Graham red squirrel natal dispersal and habitat selection in 2016. More here.
In her spare time she can be found helping with report writing, applying for funding, leading and assisting with conservation research projects, and preparing manuscripts for publication and presentation at meetings. Her research interests include physiological ecology, behavioral ecology, spatial ecology, population dynamics, and wildlife conservation. She has experience working with small mammals, birds, and beetles, and modeling habitat suitability, spatial statistics, and groundwater pollution.

Graduate Students

Current Grad Students

Kendell Bennett, Brian Blais, Colin Brocka, Allie Burnett, Kira Hefty, Colin Brocka, Tim Jessen, Max Mazzella, Shambhu Paudel, Marina Morandini, Ivan Mauricio Vela-Vargas, Stuart Wells, Neil Dutt



Sam Abercrombie, Maria Altemus, Seafha Blount-Ramos, Debbie Buecher, Hsiang Ling Chen, Carol Coates, Nichole Cudworth, Jonathan Derbridge, Sandra Doumas, Andrew Edelman, Kirsten Fulgham, Nate Gwinn, Sarah Hale, Shari Ketcham, Allyssa Kilanowski, Rosa Palmer, Kate Leonard-Pasch, Melissa Merrick, Rebecca Minor, Karen Munroe, Brett Pasch, Nicolas Ramos-Lara, Geoffrey Palmer, Erin Posthumus, Mags Rheude, Amanda Veals, David Wood, Meghan Yurenka, Claire Zugmeyer