Lisa Schulte Moore

Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Background: My goal is to make a difference and have fun doing it. 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 14 years, though I spent the early part of my career studying forests of the Upper Midwest. I am also co-owner of my family farm near Eau Claire, Wisconsin. For more info, see my brief resume (pdf).

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.

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),  Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2014), and member of the University of Minnesota Duluth's Academy of Science and Engineering (2017). I am also a member of the “Rapid Response Team” of the Ecological Society of America, and on the board of trustees of the Iowa Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. I previously served on the editorial board for the journal, Landscape Ecology (2010-2015).

Strengths: Learner, Achiever, Focus, Futuristic, Analytical

Personal Interests: Pete, Freddy, Raymond, and Spencer - particularly when we get 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


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


Jordan GiesePicture of Jordan Giese with a Dove

Ph.D. Student in Wildlife Ecology

Working dissertation title: The impacts of prairie strips and other agricultural land uses on grassland birds and pollinators 

Co-Advisor: Matt O'Neal

Background: From growing up in eastern Nebraska, I have always been interested in the relationship between wildlife and agriculture. My first field research experience at the University of Nebraska involved nest survival of songbirds on conventional and organic farms. After graduating, I moved to Texas to pursue a M.S. in wildlife biology. My research there examined nest survival and predation of White-tipped Doves (a south Texas gamebird) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley along the US-Mexico border. I have also been heavily involved with projects on Mourning Doves, White-winged Doves, Northern Bobwhite, Green Jays, and Clay-colored Thrush. I have enjoyed presenting this research at several regional, national, and international wildlife conferences. In Texas, I spent time as an adjunct faculty member at Tarleton State University teaching Wildlife Conservation and Management for non-majors. I have also taught lab sections of GIS and Wildlife Management Techniques. 

Research Interests: Within the STRIPs project, I’m investigating the impact of prairie strips on avian density and occupancy. I will be examining the impacts of landscape characteristics on avian communities with an emphasis on surrounding land cover of STRIPS sites. I am also the lead biodiversity researcher on the Pigs and Prairies project in northern Missouri. I will be exploring the impact of prairie restoration around a large hog farm on birds and wild bees. 

Personal Interests: I attempt to fish and camp as much as possible. I enjoy sports immensely and play basketball, softball, and tennis whenever I get the chance. I began college as a sports journalism major and will watch about any sporting event on television, especially Nebraska football (sorry Cyclone fans).

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


Matt StephensonMatt Stephenson

Ph.D. Student in Wildlife Ecology

Working dissertation 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 in Sustainable Agriculture

Working thesis title: TBD; something about People in Ecosystems / Watershed Integration (PEWI).

Background: I holds a B.S. in Computer and Information Science and an M.S. degree in Information Technology from the University of Maryland University College. I have spent much of my life abroad, but return to northern Minnesota every summer for its beauty, clean water, and to speak German. 

Research Interests: How can our society design, test, and assist with the implementation of diverse, integrated agricultural systems? What conclusions has research settled on, and how can we communicate that to farmers through methods of empowerment and support rather than dictation? If holistic and agroecological research depends heavily on situational context, how can researchers include farmers in the scientific process to both establish stakeholder buy-in and access their contextual knowledge? These questions attracted me to Iowa State University, where I am currently a graduate research assistant working on the People in Ecosystems Watershed Integration (PEWI) project. PEWI's ability to facilitate both directed and independent learning has the potential to significantly weaken long-standing barriers to sustainable practice adoption, a possibly that provides both excitement and drive to my work.

Personal Interests: Beyond research and classrooms, I enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, going for walks in the woods, cooking, and playing volleyball and tennis.

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


Emily Zimmerman

Ph.D. Candidate in Sustainable Agriculture

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


Other Research Assistants

Uma Abu

B.S. Student in Software Engineering, ISU 

Ryan Hance

B.S. Student in Animal Ecology and Forestry, ISU

Elizabeth Li

B.S. Student in Software Engineering, ISU 

Alexander Schulz

B.S. Student in Aerospace Engineering, ISU 

Mehul Shinde

B.S. Student in Computer Engineering, ISU 

Brandon Silker

B.S. Student in Animal Ecology, ISU