Cat Sun

bears, management, and people, oh My!

study the spatial patterns and genetic diversity of wildlife populations


I study spatial and temporal patterns of wildlife populations  related to genetics, landscape characteristics, and resource use.  

 My work and research questions are motivated by the needs of wildlife management.  For example, the population of black bears in NY has grown in the last several decades,  and so management needs accurate and precise estimates of population size, distribution, and parameters including survival, growth, and colonization rates.  Over the range of black bears in the state, what data can we collect, how do we collect it, and what methods are necessary to analyze the data? Wildlife management is a multi-scale, multi-method endeavor, and my research assists in the generating the science behind robust management decisions.

I am also interested in engaging different stakeholders in the process of scientific research and management. I interact and work with high-school , undergraduate, and fellow graduate students as well as researchers, the general public through citizen science, and private landowners, hunters, wildlife biologists and managers. I believe that everyone can play a part in science and research, and that everyone should be invested in the health and conservation of nature. 

Current Research 

Population Size, Spatial Patterns, and Genetic Diversity of Black Bears in New York

Developing an Integrated Population Model of Black Bears in New York

Phylogeography of Black Bears in New York and the Northeast Region


Previous Research

A noninvasive, genetic, spatial-capture study of an expanding black bear population in southwestern New York.

Forest Floor Leaf Litter and Veery Nest Structure 

Putative Nemertean Species, Lineus ruber and L. viridis 

Quantifying the Effect of Non-Native Plants on Spider Abundance and Diversity