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Kathy Zeller

Graduate Student (PhD)


Kathy is currently a PhD student in Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts. Kathy earned her MS from the Environmental Studies Department at the University of Montana in 2003 and her BS from the Biology Department at Tufts University in 1997.

Kathy's dissertation research is focused on designing wildlife corridors. Currently, corridors are modeled across a resistance to movement surface where the landscape is quantified in terms of the difficulty different landscape features pose to a moving organism. For example, natural habitat may confer a low resistance for a species, but human-developed areas, roads, etc. may confer a high resistance. There are myriad methods for estimating resistance to movement, but no work has been done to test the accuracy of their results. Therefore, there is no guidance for conservation practitioners developing resistance surfaces. If sub-par methods are used, the resulting corridors may not be functional for the species of interest and precious conservation resources may be applied to areas that may not truly conserve connectivity for a species. Kathy's work is a methodological comparison of estimating resistance to movement and modeling corridors. She is using data from mountain lions in southern California in collaboration with Drs. Walter Boyce, Holly Ernest, and Winston Vickers, and black bears in northern Idaho in collaboration with Dr. Sam Cushman and Jesse Lewis.

Kathy's PhD work has resulted in the following publications:

  • Zeller, KA, K McGarigal, and AR Whiteley. 2012. Estimating landscape resistance to movement: a review. Landscape Ecology 27:777-797. (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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