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

Shannon Schlater

Shannon got her BA in zoology and a minor in environmental studies from Ohio Wesleyan University. She was the setter and captain of the varsity volleyball team at OWU. Her love for large mammals took her to South Africa where she volunteered at The Rhino Orphanage. Also during her undergrad she interned at an animal rehabilitation center, worked on an aquatic invertebrate research project, and interned with USFWS on a crawfish frog project. More recently she worked with USGS in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on an invasive predator removal project in order to help conserve Hawai’i Elepaio. These projects exemplify her main interests, which concern how wildlife are affected by human-caused events and how we can help mitigate those effects. In the future she hopes to work on human-wildlife conflict projects, own several dogs, and continue to travel the world. She will be joining the Ranglack Lab in the Fall of 2017 studying the movements of whitetail deer, bobcats, and red-tailed hawks in an agriculturally dominated landscape.

Robert Ritson

Thesis: Bison Spatial Ecology


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.


Jourdan Ringenberg

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.


Miranda Reinson

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.

Undergraduate Researchers


Mic Rohde


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.


Makayla Lieb


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

Bryan O'Connor

Bryan grew up on the edge of the Sandhills in Greeley, NE and graduated from UNK in May 2017 with a degree in Wildlife Biology. His undergraduate research project focused on the factors influencing mule deer harvest in Nebraska. He plans to pursue a Masters degree and eventually work as a state or federal wildlife biologist.

Lindsey Smith

Lindsey is from Dakota Dunes, SD and plans to graduate from UNK in May 2019 with a degree in Sports Management. Her undergraduate research project focused on how bobcats use the increasingly fragmented agricultural landscapes in Nebraska. 

Carson Schultz

Carson is a senior at the University of Nebraska - Kearney pursuing a BS degree in Wildlife Biology. He is originally from Wood River, NE and enjoys hunting with friends and spending time outdoors. After graduation, he hopes to work different technician jobs around the country before returning to school for a Masters. His project focuses on the social heirarchy and behavior of bison at the Crane Trust.

Breana Dobesh

Bre is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Kearney pursuing a BS degree in Wildlife Biology. She is from Grand Island, Nebraska, and has always been interested in animals and the outdoors. After graduating from UNK, she hopes to get a job in conservation as a wildlife biologist. For her undergraduate research project, Bre is looking at the preferred hunting territory and diet selection of local Red-tailed Hawks in South-Central Nebraska. 


Clara Vinton

Clara grew up on a cattle ranch southwest of Mullen, NE and plans on graduating from UNK in December 2017 with a Biology Major and Business Minor. Her undergraduate research project focuses on the factors (age, sex, social dominance, etc.) that influence bison stress levels during 'working' operations at the Crane Trust. She plans to return to the ranch after graduation and work on artificial insemination in cattle.