Cathy was a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change interdisciplinary graduate education program. In May 2016, she successfully defended her dissertation and accepted a faculty position at Clemson University. Her interests include population ecology in freshwater systems, host-parasite dynamics, conservation physiology and quantitative ecology. She is interested in understanding how broad scale environmental alterations influence populations, particularly through sub-lethal effects occurring at the individual level.
Cathy’s Ph.D. research was focused on a long lived and fully aquatic salamander, the hellbender, that has declined across much of its range for unclear reasons. She investigated how land use influenced host density, physiology and exposure to parasites, and how these factors might interact to influence hellbender survival and reproduction.
Cathy earned a B.S. in environmental science from Georgetown College in her home state of Kentucky, and a M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from the University of Missouri. In addition to involvement in research on animal movements, resource selection, disease, monitoring and contaminant exposure, Cathy spent several years teaching informal outdoor science classes for the public and worked as a resource staff scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. She is particularly passionate about science communication and bridging boundaries between science, society and policy to achieve sustainable solutions.
Listen to Cathy talk about her research on hellbenders: