Candidates for President-Elect
Dr. Ginny Seamster: I am currently employed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. I am an ecologist by training and am coordinating NMDGF’s Share with Wildlife (SwW) program and maintaining the Biota Information System of New Mexico. The SwW program annually funds wildlife research, education, and rehabilitation projects that focus on New Mexico fauna not supported through other sources. I have a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and a B.S. in Biology, both from the University of Virginia. I was born in Farmington, New Mexico and grew up in Santa Fe. I am especially interested in the conservation biology and ecology of mammalian predators, particularly felids. However, my ultimate goal is to do work that contributes to the conservation of key habitats, ecosystems, and biodiversity, especially in New Mexico. My graduate research involved a non-invasive genetic survey of the coyote population at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge and an evaluation of the effects of woody plant encroachment on coyote feeding ecology. Before starting my current position, I worked as a post-doctoral research scientist at New Mexico State University (NMSU) and a GIS Analyst in the Trust for Public Land’s Santa Fe office. While at NMSU, I started evaluating the effects of climate change on 20 species found in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. I also developed a pilot decision support system for NMDGF, which allowed for both text and spatial searches of department documents. Collaboration among state and federal agencies, non-profits, universities, and other entities is crucial to the success of landscape-scale conservation efforts. The Wildlife Society (TWS) provides excellent forums for individuals from different backgrounds to meet, share ideas, and set up collaborations on projects relating to the conservation and management of wildlife. I have been a member of TWS since 2010, have served as New Mexico chapter secretary for two years, and president-elect in 2016. I am very happy to have this opportunity to continue my involvement with the work being done by TWS in the southwest region and planning for the 2017 annual TWS conference in Albuquerque.
Dr. Melanie Culver, Dr. Melanie Culver – I am an Assistant Professor and Assistant Leader of the Arizona Cooperative Fisheries and Wildlife Unit at the University of Arizona, Tucson. My research focus, along with the students in my lab is conservation genetics. Lab members study the genetics of wild populations. Much of our research focuses on large predatory mammal species (puma and Mexican grey wolf, in particular). I am the current past president of the Arizona Chapter of The Wildlife Society. I enjoyed that role with the Society and the professionals/volunteers that helped our Arizona Chapter be successful last year. I am running for the Secretary position with the Southwest Section because I wanted to continue my involvement with TWS in a leadership capacity. It want to continue to revitalize TWS at the section level.
Dr. Sarah Fritts -- Currently, I am a research assistant professor at Texas Tech University studying a diversity of wildlife, from bats and birds to fish and invertebrates. Next fall I will move to San Marcos to begin a new journey as an assistant professor at Texas State University. I have been a member of The Wildlife Society since 2002, became an Associate Wildlife Biologist soon after that, and plan to become a Certified Wildlife Biologist next year. I'm also a member of the Texas State Chapter and the Southwest Section. In 2015, I was in the TWS Leadership Institute, which motivated me to take on more responsibilities in our professional society. Being a board member of the Southwest Section would allow me to continue to serve TWS and its members and learn about more the inner workings of this important conservation society. I'm already helping plan the 2017 TWS annual conference in Albuquerque and hope to continue participating and helping with the Women of Wildlife group.
Dr. Blake Grisham - I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resources Management at Texas Tech University.
According to The Wildlife Society’s Code of Ethics, members of The Wildlife Society have “a responsibility for contributing to an understanding of human society’s proper relationship with natural resources”. Professional societies facilitate communication between various aspects of our discipline to achieve our goal of understanding our relationship with natural resources. Involvement, and subsequent leadership, in The Wildlife Society is an integral component to successful natural resources management due professional development and growth via increased collaboration. As a graduate and undergraduate advisor, participating in The Wildlife Society and contributing to the goals of the Southwest Section is a high priority for me to help guide me through developing the next generation of natural resource professionals. In this position I encourage students to get involved with The Wildlife Society to contribute to their discipline as well as earn their rank as established professionals.
As an Arkansas native, the transition to the Southwest was surprisingly easy, as I quickly fell in love with prairie and desert ecosystems. As an elected representative of the Southwest Section, my goal would be to serve the current efforts of the regional section while developing partnerships to help protect the habitats of the Southwest. This position would be my first elected, leadership role, and I look forward to contributing to the goals of The Wildlife Society. Thank you for your consideration
Ryan O’Shaughnessy is an Assistant Professor and Research Scientist with the Borderlands Research Institute in the Department of Natural Resource Management. Ryan’s current research focuses on the effective management and restoration of pronghorn to the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas, interactions between aoudad and desert bighorn sheep, waterfowl and wetland ecology in arid environments, and the use of quail as indicators of rangeland quality. Further research interests include agricultural business relating to hunting in rural communities, game-species management and ecology, species distribution and habitat selection, foraging ecology, and human-wildlife conflict.
Before moving to Alpine, Ryan worked at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His dissertation tested the ideal free distribution in spring migrating waterfowl as well as exploring processes governing habitat selection by migrating ducks. He received his MS from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. His thesis examined competitive interactions of puku and lechwe antelope in the Chobe National Park of Northern Botswana. He completed his Bachelors with Honors at the University of the Witwatersrand where he studied diet selection and nutritional status of two populations of sable antelope in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. He also completed a BS in Zoology at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Ryan also runs three additional businesses in the far west Texas region – a quail hunting/guide service, aoudad hunting/guide service, and management of rental properties.