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Samuel Cushman

Graduate Student (PhD)


Sam Cushman earned his PhD from the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Program at the University of Massachusetts in 2003, where he studied the influence of heterogeneity of ecological systems in space and time on the distribution and abundance of organisms. He received his MS from the Department of Terrestrial Ecology at Western Washington UniversityUniversity in 1997, where he studied landscape vegetation patterns in Russia using remote sensing. He received his BS from the Department of Ecology at Evergreen State College in 1995. He is currently a research scientist with the USDA Rocky Mountain Research Station in Flagstaff, Arizona. Amherst.

Sam's PhD research in the Landscape Ecology Lab focused on examining how the heterogeneity of ecological systems in space and time influences the distribution and abundance of organisms and the action of ecological processes. He was involved with a number of research projects investigating different aspects of this theme, including studying the influences of habitat factors at multiple spatial scales on the distribution and abundance of forest birds, the causes of spatial structure in the patterns of snags in coniferous forests, the spatio-temporal dynamics of elephant distributions in Botswana, the effects of landuse change and road building on the distribution and connectivity of vernal pool breeding amphibians, as well as some theoretical studies, such as the information content and stability of statistical measures of ecological pattern. These many and disparate projects all emerge from a common root – the question of how variation in space and time affects ecological processes, and under what conditions it becomes nontrivial.

Sam's PhD work resulted in the following publications:

  • Cushman, S.A., K. McGarigal, and M. Neel. 2008b. Parsimony in landscape metrics: strength, universality, and consistency. Ecological Indicators 8:691-703. (pdf)
  • Cushman, S. A., and K. McGarigal. 2004a. Hierarchical analysis of forest bird species-environment relationships in the Oregon Coast Range. Ecological Applications 14:1090-1105. (pdf)
  • Cushman, S. A., and K. McGarigal. 2004b. Patterns in the species-environment relationship depend on both scale and choice of response variables. Oikos 105:117-124. (pdf)
  • Cushman, S. A., and K. McGarigal. 2003. Landscape-level patterns of avian diversity in the Oregon Coast Range. Ecological Monographs 73:259-281. (pdf)
  • Cushman, S. A., and K. McGarigal. 2002. Hierarchical, multi-scale decomposition of species-environment relationships. Landscape Ecology 17:637-646. (pdf)

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Kevin McGarigal
Department of Environmental Conservation
University of Massachusetts
304 Holdsworth Natural Resources Center
Box 34210, Amherst, MA 01003
Fax: (413) 545-4358; Phone: (413) 577-0655

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