People

Wendy C. Turner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the University at Albany
State University of New York
Google Scholar profile

Current Lab Members

Spencer Bruce, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
Spencer holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as well as an M.S. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Policy. Spencer is interested in landscape genomics, and its application in solving complex problems related to disease and conservation. As a trained molecular biologist he is currently studying Bacillus anthracis on a global scale using modern techniques for whole genome sequence analysis and bioinformatics. He is also directing lab work associated with whole genome library preparation, sequencing, genome assembly and annotation.
Website: https://www.spencerbruce.org/
Naima Starkloff Naima Starkloff
Ph.D. candidate, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
co-advised with Dr. Jeremy Kirchman at the New York State Museum
Naima studies how infectious diseases vary across environmental gradients and with host factors. She focuses on the effects of temperature, vector relationships, host phylogeny and host immunogenetics on the avian malarial parasites found in a clade of North American passerine birds. She is also a museum fellow and contributes to the ornithology collection at the New York State Museum. Naima intends to graduate in Spring 2020.
Website: https://nstarkloff.wixsite.com/nstar
 yen-hua Yen-Hua Huang, D.V.M.
Ph.D. candidate, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
Yen-Hua is studying anthrax dynamics in herbivorous wildlife in both Etosha National Park, Namibia and Kruger National Park, South Africa. He is working on revealing the causes and mechanisms of inter-annual and intra-annual fluctuations of anthrax incidence, which can be inferred to the dynamics of the transmission process. His research aims to understand the contributions to anthrax dynamics by environmental fluctuations, variation in host foraging behavior, and host movement patterns. To monitor animal foraging behavior and movement, his fieldwork involves camera traps, collaring animals, tracking animals and behavioral observation.
Website: https://www.yenhuahuang.org/
Samantha Hoff Samantha Hoff, M.S.
Ph.D. candidate, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
Samantha is studying the ecology of the northern long-eared bat, a species experiencing drastic population declines due to the fungal disease white-nose syndrome. She is investigating the mechanisms allowing coastal populations to persist despite infection, including potential genetic differences in population structure, determining factors influencing occupancy, and addressing data gaps in hibernation behavior. Her field work involves acoustic monitoring, mist netting, and radio tracking.
Zoe Barandongo Zoe Barandongo, M.S.
Ph.D. student, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
Zoe’s interest are microbiological, molecular and genetic factors that may affect the infectivity and virulence of Bacillus anthracis. She is studying how bacteriophages infecting B. anthracis strains may alter anthrax outbreak dynamics, and how virulence and persistence of Bacillus anthracis may vary among strains using whole genome sequencing and bioinformatic tools.
Amélie Dolfi Amélie Dolfi, M.S.
Ph.D. student, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
Amelie is interested in building models of epidemiology and population dynamics. Her work will focus on the interaction of Bacillus anthracis with its herbivorous hosts in two ecosystems varying in anthrax dynamic, Etosha National Park, Namibia and Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Kimberlie Vera Kimberlie Vera
Ph.D. student, UAlbany Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program
Kimberlie is interested in using quantitative ecology methods to investigate how Bacillus anthracis interacts with its herbivorous hosts in two different ecosystems with varying anthrax outbreak dynamics, Etosha National Park, Namibia and Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Casey Pendergast
EEB Master’s student at UAlbany
Casey is interested in the resiliency of nature and its ability to recover from disturbances. She is researching the response of the Northern long eared bat to near extirpation by the fungal infection white nose syndrome. Her work explores the feeding activity of coastal Northern long eared bat populations during the hibernation period. Specifically she will be using insect surveys, acoustic monitoring and fecal analysis to inform on the presence and abundance of prey items, and the frequency of any winter feeding.
Hendrina Joel
MSc student, Department of Biology, University of Namibia. Co-advised with Dr. John Mfune
Hendrina is investigating the effect of large animal carcasses on anthrax transmission dynamics. She is monitoring the carcass sites of elephants, giraffes and rhinos to assess the impact these carcasses have on soil and vegetation, the duration of these effects, and what role these species may play in anthrax transmission. She uses video camera traps to monitor how different species interact with the carcass remains.
Sunday Ochai, D.V.M.
Master’s student, University of Pretoria, co-advised with Dr. Henriette Van Heerden
Raymond Lopez
Undergraduate student, majoring in Biology at UAlbany
Sirazum Chowdhury
Undergraduate student, majoring in Biology at UAlbany

Lab Alumni

Celeste Champagne
Undergraduate student, B.S. Biology at UAlbany, 2019
Celeste is studying how herbivorous wildlife respond to anthrax carcass sites in Etosha National Park, Namibia.  Specifically, how differences in foraging behaviors among individuals and species contribute to differences in exposure to the anthrax bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. She extracts behavioral and demographic data from camera trap photographs of plains zebra and blue wildebeest, and to determine how carcass sites, and animal age and sex, alter their individual foraging behavior.
Shontae Duke
Undergraduate student, B.S. Biology at UAlbany, 2019
Shontae is interested in endangered mammals. Her research in the Turner lab involves analysis of bat acoustic data to determine the distribution and activity of coastal northern long-eared bat on islands year-round.
Tia Westcott
Undergraduate student, B.S. Biology at UAlbany, 2019
Tia has always been interested in wildlife and after enrolling in Dr. Turner’s ecology course she became even more enamored with the subject. She is working with camera trap photographs/videos to understand how animal behavior affects transmission of Bacillus anthracis.
Rachel Billig
Undergraduate student, B.S. Biology at UAlbany, 2019
Rachel plays Varsity Field Hockey here at UAlbany. She is in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps and will commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. She comes from a farm in Pennsylvania where she enjoys horseback riding, motor sports, and outdoor activities. In the Turner lab she is investigating springbok foraging behavior at carcass and control grassland sites.
zoe Zoe Barandongo, MSc (2015)
Department of Biology, University of Namibia
Co-advised with Dr. John Mfune
Thesis: Dust bathing behaviours of elephants, zebras and wildebeest and the potential risk of inhalational anthrax in Etosha National Park
zeppe Zepee Havarua, MSc (2011)
Department of Animal Science, University of Namibia
Co-advised with Dr. John Mfune
Thesis: Seasonal foraging behaviour of the plains zebra and the African elephant in relation to the occurrence of anthrax in Etosha National Park.
peace Peace Imologhome, MSc (2011)
Department of Animal Science, University of Namibia
Co-advised with Dr. Godwin Kaaya and Dr. Irvin Mpofu
Thesis: The relationships among nutrition, soil ingestion and anthrax occurrence in zebra and springbok in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

Comments are closed.