Lisa Schulte Moore

Associate Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Background: My passion is ecology for people, prosperity, and the planet. My depth training and experience is in landscape ecology and natural resource management, particularly as applied to agricultural, forest, and avian ecology, although I also draw strongly upon the social sciences in my work. Iowa has been home for over a decade, but I spent the early part of my career studying Great Lakes forests. I am also co-owner of my family farm near Eau Claire, Wisconsin. For more info, see my brief resume.

Research Interests: I study human-landscape interactions. More specifically, my research addresses the ecological and social facets of sustainable land management through the lens of coupled human and natural systems. Several current projects address the strategic integration of perennials into agricultural landscapes to meet multifunctional societal goals. Other projects address the establishment of establishment of restoration baselines and impacts of restoration practices. I use a combination of historical investigation, field studies, modeling, and both quantitative and qualitative inquiry. While my research spans local (1-10 km2) to regional scales (10,000-100,000 km2), my focus is on informing landscape (10-10,000 km2) management. The strength of my research lies in synthesis and integration; I make use of extensive collaborative networks to bolster the disciplinary breadth and rigor of my work.

Strengths: Learner, Achiever, Focus, Futuristic, Analytical

Honors: Iowa State University Early Career Award in Teaching (2007), Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (2007), Stanford University Leopold Leadership Fellow (2013), and Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2014). I am also a member of the “Rapid Response Team” of the Ecological Society of America, on the editorial board of Landscape Ecology, and on the board of trustees of the Iowa Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.  

Career Goals: To make a difference and have fun doing it.

Personal Interests: Pete, Freddy, Raymond, and Inga - particularly when I get them outdoors.

Potential Students: Would you like to pursue a graduate program through the lab? For information on my suggested application process, mentoring philosophy, and expectations of graduate students in my lab, please visit the “Joining the Lab” page.

Contact: Email; 515-294-7339; 142 Science II


Carrie ChennaultCarrie Chennault

Ph.D. Student in Sustainable Agriculture

Working thesis title: The impact of People in Ecosystems/Watershed Integration, a simple ecosystem services tradeoffs model, on student learning.

Co-Advisor: John Tyndall

Honor: ISU Brown Graduate Fellow

Background: I earned my BA in The Plan II Honors Program and my BBA in Accounting, both from The University of Texas at Austin.  My undergraduate thesis looked at the range of business sectors in which women entrepreneurs participated over the course of American history as a basis for a comparison of women entrepreneurs currently in these sectors.

Research Interests: I am passionate about the interplay of social justice, equity, and human well-being factors with property/ownership rights and business activity.  How we understand and prioritize these issues as a society will affect the sustainability of our planet and species. Through my graduate research, I hope  to address how society evaluates trade-offs between current levels of agricultural production and long-term availability of natural capital in an economic framework, including how the philosophical underpinnings of economics as an academic discipline shape society's inherent understanding of those trade-offs. Creating broadened or alternative lenses through which people and institutions view ecosystem services benefits may serve as a potential path for landscape ecologists, agroecologists, and conservationists to more effectively communicate the individual and larger social impacts of land use decisions.

Personal Interests: When I am not in the lab, I enjoy exploring my new home here in Iowa.  I especially like trips to the farmers market in the summer to stock up on fresh produce and visit with the farmers who grow my food. In the winter, I spend my time mostly indoors at the gym, reading fiction literature, cooking delicious hearty winter soups, and spending time with friends.  My favorite athletic/wellness activities are swimming, cycling, and Pilates.

Contact: carriemc <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Julia DaleJulia Dale

M.S. Student in Wildlife Ecology

Working thesis title: Estimating the effect of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contour strips on grassland birds

Co-Advisor: Bob Klaver

Background: I earned my B.S. in Biology and Psychology from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. While an undergraduate, I was a member of the Honors Program, and my senior honors thesis focused on building mutually beneficial partnerships with wildlife. Since graduation, I have held temporary wildlife positions in Colorado and Iowa, and have worked with a variety of taxa including birds, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, and both small and large mammals.

Research Interests: My interests center on wildlife ecology in our changing landscape. I am concerned with how humans can continue to derive benefits from our natural resources while mitigating the damage done to wildlife and our environment at large. I am specifically interested in how agriculture and conservation can, and must, work together. Through my research at Iowa State, I aim to explore how birds adapt to anthropogenic landscape changes.  

Personal Interests: In my free time, I can be found camping, canoeing, birding, skiing, and hiking. I also enjoy gardening, spending time with my pet chickens, and indulging in good cup of coffee and a good book. 

Contact: jmdale <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Matt StephensonMatt Stephenson

M.S. Candidate in Wildlife Ecology

Working thesis title: Impacts of prairie strips on nesting birds, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals

Co-Advisor: Bob Klaver

Background: Like many of my colleagues, I grew up camping, hiking, and canoeing around Iowa and the United States, which led me to a career in wildlife.  While an undergraduate at Iowa State, I served as a Biological Science Technican for a summer at the Valentine NWR in the Nebraska Sandhills.  After graduating with a B.S. in Animal Ecology (wildlife focus) in 2010, I spent several field seasons working for the Iowa DNR on the Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program (MSIM) doing surveys for birds, herptiles, mammals, odonates, butterflies, bats, and mussels in central Iowa.  I then served as an Iowa DNR AmeriCorps member assisting with the Iowa Wildlife Action Plan as well as many other projects, before beginning my Master's program at Iowa State in the spring 2015.

Research Interests: My background with the MSIM program has led to an interest in a wide variety of taxa, but my research is currently focused on avian nesting density and nest success as well as herptile and small mammal presence and snake population dynamics.

Current Project: I am studying the impact prairie STRIPS have on wildlife, specifically comparing measures of avian nest success and herp/mammal presence in agricultural settings with prairie STRIPS to those without.  I am also validating some newer survey techniques including the use of a thermal imager to find early season nests in sparsely vegetated landscapes and to the use of thermal data loggers to record nest temperatures to allow a reduction in frequency of nest visits.

Personal Interests: I enjoy bird watching, nature photography, travel, camping, hiking, canoeing, and collecting butterflies, moths, and dragonflies.  I also advise a medieval sword fighting club on campus and travel around the Midwest to fighting events several times a year.

Education: B.S. in Animal Ecology (wildlife focus) from ISU, 2010.  Currently pursuing a Master's degree in Wildlife Ecology at Iowa State with expected graduation Fall 2016.

Contact: mattstep <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Robert Valek

Ph.D. Student Sustainable Agriculture

Project: People in Ecosystems / Watershed Integration (PEWI)


Research Interests: 

Personal Interests: 

Contact: rvalek <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Emily Zimmerman

Ph.D. Student in Sustainable Agriculturef

Woking dissertation title: Payment for ecosystem services in the Big Creek watershed, Iowa

Co-Advisor: John Tyndall

Honor: ISU Plant Sciences Institute Fellow

Background: I received my B.S. in Biology and Global Resource Systems from Iowa State University in 2011 and an M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan in 2013.  As an undergraduate, I balanced my two majors by doing research in community ecology, specifically on biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, and in food systems, specifically on the evolution of human diets in the Mediterranean.  Spurred by my interest in biodiversity, my M.S. research focused on assessing the qualitative and quantitative relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function in natural, heterogeneous ecosystems across large spatial scales. For more info, see CV.

Research Interests: My research interests are focused at the intersection of conservation and the production of food, fuel and fiber.  Broadly, I am curious about the relationship between agricultural landscapes and the natural environment.  More specifically, I am interested in a landscape-level, systems approach to quantitatively and qualitatively understanding the relationship between land use and ecosystem services in multifunctional agricultural landscapes.  In addition to understanding the biophysical science, I also hope to understand how ecosystem services in multifunctional agricultural landscapes can be valued through a social and economic framework to engage stakeholders and encourage effective conservation practices.

Personal Interests: I am most at home outside; I enjoy many outdoor activities – kayaking, hiking, biking, skiing, but my favorite pastime is running.  I also like to travel, particularly to places with delicious food.  I spend a fair amount of time reading, drinking coffee, and cooking. 

Contact: emilyz <at> iastate <dot> edu; 515-294-2957; 38 Science II


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Assata Caldwell

B.A. Student in Biological & Pre-medical Illustration

Background: I was born and raised in Iowa.  I chose to go to Iowa State University to pursue design, but was later introduced to scientific illustration and loved it.  While studying here at Iowa State University, I have learned about both traditional and digital illustration.  I have been given the opportunity to participate in two Biological Pre-Medical Illustration galleries and have had the opportunity to show my work at a private gallery in Iowa City.

Personal Interests:  I love to do anything outdoors.  I love to hunt and fish, and having a place to do those things are very important to me.  These passions have led to my interest in natural resources.   I am a former Miss Iowa for Dream Girls USA and a former LULAC Queen for the League of United Latin American Citizens.  I enjoy competition and enjoy pageants.  I also love to run and weightlift.

Work interests:  I believe visual media is one of the best learning and communication tools.  My goal is to use my skills to better educate and better share information and ideas with others.  I hope to one day be published in a medical journal or medical textbook. 


Josesph Klingelhutz

B.S. Student in Environmental Science


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