Principle Investigator

Dr. Dustin H. Ranglack

Dr. Ranglack completed a BS (Wildlife Science, 2008) and PhD (Ecology, 2014) at Utah State University. His dissertation research focused on a bison-cattle conflict on public land in the Henry Mountains of S. Utah. He also worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Montana State University studying resource selection patterns in nine different elk herds in Montana during the summer and hunting seasons. He started as an Assistant Professor at UNK in 2016 and plans to continue his research on large mammal ecology and conservation with an applied focus. 

Click here for current CV.


Graduate Researchers

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Jourdan Ringenberg

Email: ringenbergjm@lopers.unk.edu

Jourdan grew up in Indiana and completed her B.S. in Animal Science at Purdue University.  After graduating, she worked in laboratory animal research, zoo animal welfare and conservation, and wildlife research in Wisconsin, Michigan, and California, respectively, before moving to Nebraska to work on her M.S. at UNK. Her research project is investigating how eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) respond to climate changes and environmental modifications in highly fragmented agricultural landscapes. Understanding rabbit movement and population dynamics in these areas will help begin to paint a picture of how wildlife species are reacting to climate and anthropogenic changes.

Amanda Medaries

Amanda grew up in Louisiana, but moved on to graduate with her bachelors in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation from Arkansas State University – Jonesboro. During her undergrad she worked on various different projects with professors and graduate students. These projects consist of a range of wildlife including feral hogs, wild turkeys, cattle, endangered woodpeckers, and different fish species which she was able to study for a semester in South Africa. Her research will use systems thinking and systems dynamics to examine the interaction between genes, environment, management, and socio-economics, using bison as a case study. With her combined passion of wildlife and teaching she hopes to one day be a professor with a lab of her own.

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Miranda Reinson

Email: reinsonmc@lopers.unk.edu

Miranda graduated from the University of Delaware B.S. in Wildlife Conservation in 2015. She then held various technician positions for 2.5 years after undergrad on several different research projects specifically with mammals. Such mammals ranging from giant pandas in China to elk and mule deer in Wyoming. Miranda’s interest include large mammal ecology and conservation, large mammal management, population ecology, and human-wildlife conflict. Her masters research is on the impacts of intensively cultivated landscapes on white-tailed deer and bobcat movement including habitat use.

Luke Rogers

Luke received a B.S. in wildlife biology and conservation from his hometown college, the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2018. His undergraduate time was focused on assisting state biologists with the restoration of wild wood bison populations in remote western Alaska. He also completed research on captive wood bison and hierarchy, with the goal of improving captive conditions prior to wild release efforts. Luke’s masters research at the University of Nebraska will be focused on conducting the first global census of the genus Bison, which will lead to an IUCN green list assessment for the genus.


Undergraduate Researchers

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Mic Rohde

Email: rohdeml@lopers.unk.edu

Mic is a senior level wildlife major and political science minor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. His interests fall under many categories. A few of them being mammals (both large and small), entomology, environmental policy, and ecology. He is from Kimball, NE and has worked with Dustin as a general wildlife technician on several projects working extensively with some of the graduate students. He hopes to continue his education after a period of different jobs, perhaps leading into education.

Aurora Fowler

Aurora grew up near Kearney, Nebraska and is currently a junior at her college in Florida. She is pursuing a BS in marine biology but her love for the natural world is all encompassing. From botany to entomology to oceanography, Aurora enjoys learning about a variety of branches of biology. She is currently working with Dr. Ranglack on a study of the ecology of bison wallows in cooperation with the Crane Trust in Alda, Nebraska. 

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Makayla Lieb

Email: liebml@lopers.unk.edu

Makayla is a junior at the University of Nebraska – Kearney pursuing a BS degree in Wildlife Biology. She is from Omaha, Nebraska and has spent a great majority of her childhood exploring Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. This initially sparked her interest in wildlife, along with living in Virginia for one year, frequently hiking in Shenandoah National Park. For her undergraduate research project, Makayla is conducting raptor mortality surveys along Interstate – 80 to determine if these deaths occur in “hot spots” due to their fragmented habitat in Nebraska.


Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Robert Ritson

Thesis: Bison Spatial Ecology

Contact: ritsonrj@lopers.unk.edu

Rob completed a BS (Wildlife and Fisheries Science, 2014) at The Pennsylvania State University. He spent a semester abroad in Tanzania with the School for Field Studies and completed a directed research project on the ecological correlates of game bird distributions. He has worked with a variety of species as a field technician including bats, snowshoe hares, sage grouse, and sharp-tailed grouse. He also spent two seasons on a crew conducting Canada lynx habitat research in southern Colorado and northwest Montana. His research interests include spatial ecology and population dynamics. He has completed two semesters at UNK towards his Master's degree. His thesis project is analyzing the spatial ecology of bison in six conservation herds including the Henry Mountains and Book Cliffs in Utah, American Prairie Reserve in Montana, the Texas State Bison Herd, the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma, and Medano Ranch in Colorado. His analyses include AKDE home range calculations, first-passage time analysis, and resource selection functions. He is also working on a project analyzing wildlife movements during the 2017 Great American Eclipse.

Shannon Schlater

Shannon completed her MS in biology at UNK in May of 2019. Her thesis research investigated the space use of Red-tailed Hawks across a highly fragmented, agricultural landscape. As a researcher, she is specifically interested in understanding the ecology of wildlife species in order to better mitigate the effects of an increasingly anthropogenic world. She plans to pursue a career as a wildlife biologist and continue to travel the world with her dog Crosby.

Undergraduate Students

Bryan O'Connor

Lindsey Smith

Carson Schultz

Breana Dobesh

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Clara Vinton

Tara Ziegelbein