Robert McCleery, Ph.D.
Dept. of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
University of Florida

After completing his BS in natural resource management from Cornell University, Dr. McCleery spent over two years living and working in Swaziland as an ecologist at Malolojta Nature Reserve.  Returning to the U.S. Bob worked on plover, fox, tortoise, grouse and numerous other wildlife projects before starting his graduate education. Bob received his MS and PhD in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University. Today as an associate professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at UF, Bob and his students work on the conservation of mammals and finding creative ways to create landscapes were both people and wildlife can thrive. Bob is the founder of the African Savanna Research Center in Mbuluzi Nature Reserve and he has been conducting research and training students in Swaziland since 2007.  He works closely with his friend and colleagues at the University of Swaziland and All-Out Africa.

McCleery lab website



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James Austin, Ph.D.
Dept. of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
University of Florida

Dr. Austin is a evolutionary biologist who is interested in the processes that generate diversity. In addition, his interests extend to more applied aspects such as the importance of understanding evolutionary history of species and lineages when making management decisions (e.g. when, or how to prioritize populations for listing), and in using genetic tools to better understand and distinguish between historical and contemporary influences on population dynamics. Examples of ongoing projects include i) evolutionary analyses of endemic and isolated populations of freshwater fishes, small mammals, and amphibians in Florida. In southern Africa he has been studying the conservation genetics of isolated, fenced populations of giraffe, and comparative landscape genetics of rodent species. Jim did his undergraduate training in biology in Victoria, British Columbia, where he developed his interest in wildlife research by spending summers working in remote place like the Cordillera forests of northern British Columbia, and the western coast of Vancouver Island, before doing his PhD at Queens University in Ontario.

Austin lab website

Robert Fletcher, Ph.D.
Dept. of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
University of Florida

Dr. Fletcher is a landscape and population ecologist, with a keen interest in birds and how individual behavior influences large-scale patterns and processes. The Fletcher Lab of Spatial Ecology and Conservation focuses on providing solutions to large-scale problems such as habitat loss and fragmentation, landscape connectivity with environmental change, and impacts of agricultural and energy production on biodiversity, as well as advancing our knowledge on dispersal biology, habitat selection behavior, metapopulation biology, and endangered species management. In southern Africa, Rob and his students have been studying how and why bird communities change across land-use gradients from both shrub encroachment and agricultural intensification.

Fletcher lab website



Ara Monadjem, Ph.D.
Dept. of Biological Sciences
University of Swaziland

Dr. Monadjem is a zoologist specializing in the ecology and conservation of the birds and mammals of Africa. His focus is currently on African small mammals (specifically bats and rodents), and large birds (vultures, eagles and storks). Ara specializes in field surveys where the objectives are primarily to obtain distributional information on rare and threatened species, and to provide accurate identifications of these species. He is also involved in predictive modeling of distributions, and studies of population dynamics. Ara has worked in very remote locations across the African continent including the rain forests of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Gabon and Uganda, and the savannas of Mozambique, Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Madagascar and Angola. His ultimate goals are: 1) to provide up-to-date and reliable scientific information on African mammals and birds that could be used in their long-term conservation; and 2) to share my enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, Africa's wildlife with students, colleagues and the general African public. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Swaziland, where he has been since 1993.

Monadjem at UNISWA

Chevonne Reynolds, Ph.D.
Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
University of Cape Town

Dr. Reynolds grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa where she attended school and university. She actually started her academic career as an organic chemist, completing both her undergrad and MSc in chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Feeling a change and some inspiration was in order; she enrolled for a conservation biology MSc program again at Wits University. The thesis focused on grassland bird communities with fieldwork in the majestic KwaZulu-Natal Drakensburg. Chevonne then went on to work for Organisation for Tropical Studies in the Kruger National Park, before moving to Cape Town to undertake a PhD at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. Her research interests are very broad, but in general Chevonne tries to use birds as tools for understanding ecological processes. Although primarily described as an ornithologist and avid birder, she has a widespread interest in natural history and considers it an important underpinning of good science.

ChevonneSatellite tracking

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Samantha Wisely, Ph.D.
Dept. of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
University of Florida

Dr. Wisely is a wildlife ecologist who studies how land use and land cover influences ecological processes. In particular, Sam is interested in how landscape change influences species distributions, community composition and the disruption of epidemiological dynamics at both regional and local scales. Changes in land cover can create habitat for novel invasive species as well as create no-analogue community compositions that can catalyze disease emergence. The Wisely lab is working to develop innovative ways to broadly survey pathogen communities such that we better understand pathogen hazards in the environment. The Wisely Lab also develops transmission risk models based on the ecology of vectors, hosts and the environment in which they live. Ongoing research involves the ecology and pathogens of feral swine in the southeast, The role of mesocarnivores in pathogen emergence in African savannah systems, the disease ecology of hemorrhagic disease in cervids, and the biogeography of blood-borne pathogens in globally migrating shorebirds. Her outreach and extension program focuses on creating awareness and knowledge about the hazards and risks of zoonotic diseases for wildlife professionals, sports-men and -women, and their health care providers.

Wisely lab webpage