I recently defended my PhD in the Palen lab and spent the summer doing a short postdoc over the summer working with two awesome Doris Duke Conservation Scholars (check out Imani and Bryan‘s blogs about the summer). Now, I’m joining Conservation Science Partners in Fort Collins, CO as a postdoctoral scientist.
I’m interested in how we can use life-history data to both forecast declines and the potential for recovery within a population or a species. For my PhD research, I took a demographic modeling approach to elucidate specific points within the life-cycle of a population that are particularly vulnerable to decline, or on the flip side, can be targeted for improvement through conservation measures. My work covers a wide spectrum of current conservation issues, from how to recover a population on the brink of extirpation, to how climate change will affect currently stable populations of montane amphibians. The common thread that ties my research together is providing a strong, quantitative framework for decision-making (present and future) that is grounded in the biology of a species.
Since 2010, I have worked with the B.C. Oregon spotted frog recovery team to evaluate the tradeoffs between various recovery strategies for this highly imperiled species. Specifically, I have focused on the potential of two common population supplementation strategies, head-starting and captive breeding, to reduce the extinction probability of a declining population. Using demographic data I have collected over the past three years on Oregon spotted frogs (Rana pretiosa) in B.C., I devloped models that include both a biological and economic component to recovery, with the ultimate goal of providing the recovery team with a suite of viable options to stem the decline of the species in Canada.
In addition to my endangered species work, in 2013 I jumped on board with Maureen Ryan and Wendy to explore the effects of climate change on montane amphibians in the Pacific Northwest. I am working on a thread of this large, collaborative project with the goal of forecasting the response of Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae) to changes in climatic regime. I collected baseline data on landscape-level larval mortality of R. cascadae induced by pond-drying, and coupled these data with long-term demographic data to “add up” the effects of climate change on different life-history stages of this species.
Kissel A.M., Palen W.J., Govindarajulu,P. 2017. A decision-theory approach to cost-effective population supplementation for imperiled species. Ecological Economics 142:194-202.
Kissel A.M., Palen W.J., Govindarajulu P., Bishop C.A. 2014. Quantifying ecological life support: the biological efficacy of two alternative supplementation strategies for imperiled amphibian populations. Conservation Letters. doi: 10.1111/conl.12093
Popescu V.D., Kissel A.M., Pearson M.M., Palen W.J., Govindarajulu P., Bishop C.A. 2013. Habitat selection by Oregon spotted frogs, Rana pretiosa, in British Columbia. Herpetolgical Conservation Biology. 8(3):688-706.
Corn P.S., Muths E., Kissel A.M., Scherer R.D.. 2011. Breeding chorus indices are weakly related to estimated abundance of Boreal chorus frogs. Copeia 2011:3, 365-371 PDF