Dr. Melanie Davis

I am Assistant Unit Leader with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Oregon State University. Although most of my current research is centered on salmonid species, it was actually my love for herpetology that jump-started my scientific career. Growing up in central Ohio, I spent much of my time chasing snakes, salamanders, and frogs around my backyard. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to study a variety of species and systems, from anurans to ungulates to zooplankton. The common thread that ties my work together is the integration of quantitative methods, landscape-scale analyses, and species-habitat relationships. I am passionate about applied ecology and the ways in which it can positively influence management decisions and outcomes. When I’m not staring at R code and herding my students around, I enjoy going for hikes with my family, camping, writing, arts and crafts, and playing board games with friends. My biggest accomplishments in life are creating my son from scratch (mostly from a diet of chocolate milk and cantaloupe) and through-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

Current Members

Carina Kusaka – MS

I received a B.S. in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University, where I studied behavioral and movement ecology of reptiles. My graduate research in the Davis lab at OSU is focused on the tufted puffin, a Species of Greatest Conservation Need along the Oregon Coast. I am conducting spatial analyses to examine changes in the relationship between suitable breeding habitat and population viability of tufted puffins over time. Being born and raised in Hawai’i has helped me develop a passion for wildlife conservation, as well as a strong interest in finding ways to involve, retain, and support underrepresented groups in ecology. 

Anna Kennedy – MS

I grew up on the coast of Northern California and received a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects since then, including research on avian population biology and migration, coastal wetIand vulnerability to sea-level rise, and wetland plant communities.

My graduate research focuses on analyzing geomorphological and biological change in restored tidal wetlands of the Nisqually River Delta in Washington state. I will be conducting spatial analyses using remote sensing (LiDAR) and field survey datasets to quantify change and characterize the plant community. Additionally, I am interested in a spatial analysis of waterbird habitat use. This project is a partnership between the Davis lab in the Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at OSU, the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center, and the Nisqually Indian Tribe.

Aleah Dew – MS

I am working toward a Master’s degree here at the Oregon State University Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation. I am working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine whether eDNA can be used to effectively gauge relative abundance of target species including both native (Modoc sucker, Pit-Klamath brook lamprey, Pit roach, Pit sculpin) and endemic (Goose Lake redband trout, Goose Lake lamprey, Goose Lake tui chub, Goose Lake sucker) in the Goose Lake Basin down in Southeastern Oregon. I hope to relate abundance and distribution to site-specific environmental characteristics, with my goal being to forecast changes in aquatic community structure given projected increases in the frequency of drought events. This project aims to provide information on how native and non-native species distribution have shifted over time, and how they might change given future climactic conditions. In addition to graduate school duties, I have also been knitting a sweater with a hotdog on it.

Katie Kennedy – MS

I’m a MS student in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences. I plan to work with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to analyze and characterize remote sensing data and other spatial data of juvenile steelhead and adult coho salmon. I hope to develop models which will inform habitat management practices for these species, particularly under the potential conditions and changes due to climate change effects. 

Previous Members

Vanessa Ramirez – VIEW Intern, 2021




Nicholas Morvillo – Beginning Undergraduate Researcher, 2021