Jinelle Sperry


Adjunct Assistant Professor

P.O. Box 9005
Champaign, IL 61826
Phone: 217.373.4543 

2008 Ph.D.University of Illinois; Champaign, IL
2004 M.S. Humboldt State University; Arcata, CA
1999 B.S. University of Montana; Missoula, MT

Research Interests: My research has addressed a wide array of topics clustered around the core theme of community ecology and the effects of human-caused and natural disturbances on multi-species interactions.  Most of my recent work has focused on the ecological factors that influence predator-prey interactions between snakes and birds.


Brett DeGregorio


Brett's Webpage

PhD. 2015. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
MS. 2008. Indiana – Purdue University; Fort Wayne, IN
BS. 2005. University of Massachusetts; Amherst, MA

Research Project: My dissertation focused on how climate change
altered predator - prey interactions between snakes
and nesting birds. All of my research was conducted at the
Savannah River Ecology Lab in South Carolina. I defended my dissertation in Spring 2015 and have begun work as
a Wildlife Biologist for the Army Corps of Engineers, which will allow me to continue working closely with Dr Sperry. Our work focused on threatened and endangered species research on military installations.


Jason Gleditsch


Jason's Webpage

MS. 2012. Pennsylvania State University; University Park, PA
BS. 2009. Pennsylvania State University; University Park, PA

Research Interests: I am interested in the relationship between
bird communities and plant communities. Specifically, I am
investigating how this relationship effects the behavior,
ecology, and evolution of avian species and what role
species invasions have in these processes. In addition, I am
interested in examining how these two communities influence
each other through seed dispersal networks and what this means
for community assembly and conservation. Currently I am working
on a massive, broad scoping project taking place on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu trying to answer some of these questions with the exotic bird community there. This project includes collaborators from three other institutions and is a part of the DoD’s environmental science and technology program, SERDP.


Daniel Kovar


Daniel's Website

BS. 2008. Ohio University; Athens, OH

Research Interests: My primary interest is in avian ecology, although I am also interested in connections with other topics. I joined the Sperry-Weatherhead lab during the summer of 2013. I am currently conducting a study comparing the habitat use and nest survival of the endangered Black-capped Vireo to the similar and closely related, but common, White-eyed Vireo.



Valerie Buxton


Val's Website

M.S. 2014 − University of Illinois; Urbana-Champaign, IL
B.A. 2009 – University of Michigan; Ann Arbor, MI

Research Interests: My research interests broadly include behavioral ecology, landscape ecology, community ecology and conservation.  More specifically, I am interested in how species’ life history and environment interact to influence behavior. I am currently investigating the prevalence and use of social cues in frogs and toads and whether such cues can be used as a management or conservation tool. Though my current work focuses on anurans, I also am interested in how such topics apply to avian species.

Sean MacDonald


Sean's Website

2014 B.S. Humboldt State University; Arcata, California

Research interests: I am broadly interested in conservation, community ecology, ornithology, botany, and agroecology. My current research focuses on how non-native birds are interacting with endangered Hawaiian plant species on the Island of Oahu. More specifically, I am looking at if conspecific attraction could be a practical management tool for land managers on Oahu to increase seed dispersal of endangered Hawaiian plants by non-native frugivorous birds. I joined the Sperry Lab in the fall of 2015


Brittney Graham


Brittney's Website

2014 B.S. Miami University; Oxford, OH

Research interests: Broadly, my research interests are centered around behavioral and chemical ecology and their implications to conservation. More specifically, I'm interested in exploring the impacts that a variety of ecological and anthropogenic factors have on the evolution of chemical signaling and chemical reception capacities across taxonomic groups. I believe that unpacking the behavioral relevance of environmental chemical cues is essential to the improvement of conservation management and for the reduction of human-wildlife conflict globally. I'm currently investigating chemical communication in anuran species.



Former Lab Members

Dr. Patrick J. Weatherhead - Principal Investigator: Website
Dr. Than Boves - Postdoc: Website
Erika Dittmar - Master's student