KCRL student Sam Abercrombie wins best poster at the 13th annual RISE symposium

KCRL Master’s student Sam Abercrombie participated in the 13th annual RISE Symposium on Saturday 08 October 2016, in the Marley Building on the University of Arizona (UA) campus (http://www.tucson.ars.ag.gov/rise/index.htm) and received the Best Poster award for his efforts. The objectives of the symposium are to share recent results of scientific research in semiarid environments, with an emphasis on work conducted at the USDA-ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) and the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER), and to encourage future research and outreach activities.  A recent UA News story https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/rise-symposium-highlight-range-research described the legacy of student engagement and research collaborations that have emerged from the previous 12 symposia.

Sam’s winning poster titled “Small Mammalian Herbivores Decrease Herbaceous Plant Cover in Shrub Invaded Grassland”, highlights his Master’s research at the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed where he is documenting how small mammals influence vegetation communities in this arid ecosystem.

Congrats Sam!


13th Annual RISE Symposium Best Poster Awardee Sam Abercrombie (right) and contest benefactor Malcolm McGregor (left).

Two new KCRL publications on Kangaroo rats and the endemic Mearns’s squirrel

Two great new publications highlighting research by KCRL alums have just been released.

KCRL alum and Catalina Foothills High School science teacher Kirsten Fulgham’s research on Kangaroo rat foraging behavior on a colony of reintroduced black-tailed prairie dogs has just been published in The Southwestern Naturalist.  Kirsten received her Master of Science in Natural Science for Teachers, a great program at the University of Arizona.

Read more here:

Fulgham, K. M. and J. L. Koprowski. 2016. Kangaroo rat foraging in proximity to a colony of reintroduced black-tailed prairie dogs. The Southwestern Naturalist 61:194-202.

A new species account on the Mearns’s squirrel (Tamiasciurus mearnsi) has just been published by Dr. K, Mike Steele, and KCRL alum Dr. Nicolás Ramos-Lara.  Nicolás did his PhD research on the endemic Mearns’s squirrel in the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir in Baja California Norte, Mexico.

Read more here:

Koprowski, J. L., M. A. Steele, and N. Ramos-Lara. 2016. Tamiasciurus mearnsi (Rodentia: Sciuridae). Mammalian Species 48:66-72.


189 pages on the Sciuridae in the Handbook of Mammals of the World

HMW-06_0More than you may want to know about squirrels, chipmunks, marmots and prairie dogs…KCRL members John Koprowski, Emily Goldstein (postdoctoral researcher), Kendell Bennett (doctoral student) and Calebe Mendes (visiting doctoral scholar) recently coauthored the 189 page section on the Sciuridae in Handbook of the Mammals of the World published by Lynx Edicions (http://www.lynxeds.com/hmw/handbook-mammals-world-volume-6). The section provides a species account for all 292 recognized species in the Family Sciuridae and includes a range map and a wonderful artist’s painting of each species on more than 10 plates in additional to copious references and a general overview of the species….now its on to the next project!

Two new publications in Mammalian Species


KCRL members have published two new species accounts in Mammalian Species! The Caucasian Squirrel, Sciurus anomalus, was the subject of an account authored by KCRLs John Koprowski, alum Sandy Doumas and Israeli colleague Leah Gavish. KCRL alums and current members Allyssa Kilanowski, Tim Jessen, Melissa Merrick, Nate Gwinn and John Koprowski also produced the account for Microsciurus flaviventer, the Amazon dwarf squirrel.

Read the accounts at:

Jessen, T. G., A. K. Kilanowski, R. Nathan Gwinn, M. J. Merrick, and J. L. Koprowski. 2016.Microsciurus flaviventer (Rodentia: Sciuridae). Mammalian Species 48:59-65.

Koprowski, J. L., L. Gavish, and S. L. Doumas. 2016. Sciurus anomalus (Rodentia: Sciuridae). Mammalian Species 48:48-58.

KCRL PhD students participate in first successful translocation of narrow-headed garter snakes

A fantastic collaborative conservation effort among AZGFD, Phoenix Zoo, USFWS, NAU, and the University of Arizona is underway!

On August 17th, the first translocation of captive bred narrow-headed gartersnakes was performed by a collaborative team of conservation experts, including KCRL PhD students Brian Blais and Stuart Wells (Stuart is also the Director of Conservation and Science at the Phoenix Zoo). This occasion marks the first time that the species has been released in the wild from a captive breeding program, and is a big step toward the recovery of the species. Brian will be monitoring these snakes post release (using radio telemetry) to understand space use, habitat needs, diet, survival and more – all of which we know very little.

Way to go team!


Garter snake release team. Photo by George Andrejko/AZGFD


Narrow-headed garter snake. Photo by Amy Burnett/AZGFD

KCRL welcomes 6 new graduate students!

KCRL is very pleased to announce 6 new graduate students joining us this fall to begin conservation research projects on species as diverse as garter snakes, Andean bears, tiger salamanders, ground squirrels, and tree squirrels!

Please give a warm welcome to the newest members of Team KowPow!

Brian Blais: captive bred narrow-headed garter snake translocation

Colin Brocka: Sonoran tiger salamander dispersal

Allie Burnett: Harris’s antelope ground squirrel ecology

Kira Hefty: Big Cypress fox squirrel occupancy

Mauro Vela-Vargas: Andean bears in Columbia

Stuart Wells: Mt. Graham red squirrel captive breeding and release

We will be posting more details about their projects here and on our webpage in weeks to come, stay tuned!