Travis DeVault, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator / travis dot devault at uga dot edu / Google Scholar

Travis DeVault is the Associate Director for Research and Senior Research Scientist at the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL). He also has a courtesy faculty appointment in the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources where he advises graduate students. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ecology and systematics from the Department of Biology at Indiana State University and a PhD in wildlife ecology from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. Travis is a wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist; his research focuses on understanding and preventing animal-vehicle collisions and other human-wildlife conflicts. He also maintains a long term research interest in the ecology of vultures and other vertebrate scavengers. Outside of work, Travis is a jack of all trades and master of none. He’s an eclectic sort who enjoys fishing, hunting, kayaking and canoeing, hiking with his family, wrestling with his dogs, playing basketball, obsessing over Chicago Cubs baseball and Indianapolis Colts football, blues guitar, tinkering in his woodshop or on his Miata, and playing video games while consuming bourbon and scotch. Actually, he is pretty good at that last one.

Mary Chapman, M.S.

Project Coordinator / mary dot chapman at uga dot edu

Mary leads a study looking at heavy metals in birds that utilize a constructed wetland that receives industrial wastewater. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Science at Taylor University, Indiana. Her master's research looked at species richness of neotropical migrant birds at different forest corridor widths along an Indiana river adjacent to farmland. The goal was to determine how wide farmers would need to keep their corridors to provide habitat for a diverse array of bird species. Mary is interested in avian ecology and enjoys birding and hiking in her free time. She is working on passing her love of birds and nature on to her 5-year-old son.

Carson Pakula, B.S.

M.S. Student / carson dot pakula at uga dot edu

Carson received his B.S. in Biology from Central Michigan University where he studied black footed ferret genetics and the impacts of hiking trails on small mammal populations. He is currently an M.S. student at Warnell's School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Carson is studying the behavior of deer and wild pigs to help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. He is interested in behavioral ecology, wildlife conservation, and human-wildlife interactions.

Carson is co-advised by Dr. Gene Rhodes.

Shane Guenin, B.S.

M.S. Student / shane dot guenin at uga dot edu

Shane received his B.S. in Recreation, Parks, & Leisure Services from Central Michigan University where he studied wild rice genetics and the impacts of hiking trails on small mammal populations. He is currently an M.S. student at Warnell's School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Shane is studying risk assessment in ducks to better understand and help to reduce avian-vehicle collisions. He is interested in cognitive ecology, human-wildlife interactions, and natural resource policy.

Shane is co-advised by Dr. James Martin.

Courtney Werner, B.S.

M.S. Student / courtney dot werner25 at uga dot edu

Courtney Werner is an M.S. student at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, where she is investigating the presence of radionuclides and heavy metals in avian populations. Her research interests include wildlife health, ecotoxicology, and environmental stewardship. Courtney received her B.S. in Evolutionary Anthropology from Duke University, where she focused on macroecology of infectious diseases in mammals. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing and playing old-time fiddle.

Jon Skaggs, M.S.

Lab Manager / jskaggs at uga dot edu / Github

Jon manages day to day DeVault Lab stuff and leads our bird monitoring fieldwork associated with the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. He recieved a B.S. in Ecology and M.S. in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development from UGA's Odum School of Ecology. His master's research developed and applied quantiative conservation planning techniques to a freshwater biodiversity hotspot, the Upper Coosa River System. Jon is interested in ecotoxicology, watershed ecology, and spatial analysis. He also likes to ride and wrench on bikes and get lost in the woods. Jon built and maintains this website; if you see something strange, or are interested in the site itself, please reach out.

Former lab members

Shayna Muñoz, B.S.

Research Technician / shayna dot munoz25 at uga dot edu

Shayna Muñoz recently received her B.S. in Forest Resources from UGA's Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. She is currently a research technician for the lab's Avian Heavy Metal project. In her free time, she is a fan of hiking, music, and true crime podcasts.