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Kate Cleary

Kate Cleary

Ph.D. Candidate

Advisor: Lisette Waits
Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences

Research Interests:

My PhD research employs a landscape genetics approach to determine functional connectivity of the San Juan-La Selva biological corridor in Costa Rica for nectivorous and frugivorous bats.  I use a combination of established field methods and innovative genetic techniques to assess functional connectivity at both the community and species level. My genetic work focuses on two frugivorous bat species, Artibeus jamaicensis and Carollia castanea; since these species are important seed dispersers in the SJLS, preserving functional connectivity for them will also preserve connectivity for the many plants they disperse.

As an NSF IGERT student, I also have a strong interdisciplinary component to my research.  Our IGERT student team includes three plant ecologists and a sociologist; over the past two years we have worked with an interdisciplinary faculty team to develop an overarching interdisciplinary question on how agricultural intensification in the SJLS corridor affects social and ecological resilience. My disciplinary research is a key piece of this larger interdisciplinary project.

Before beginning my PhD, I earned my MSc in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University through the Peace Corps Master’s International Program.  During my time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, I completed my Master’s thesis on the composition and distribution of bird communities in a forest reserve owned by the Maya Q’uiche community of Totonicapán.  I also worked in the protected area El Aprisco, where I taught environmental education and produced a formal guide to the birds of Totonicapán.


Cleary, K. 2010. Species richness, density, habitat relationships, and conservation of the bird community of the high-altitude forests of Totonicapán, Guatemala.  Published online at CSU library and at Peace Corps Masters International website.

Cleary, K. 2009. Las aves de los bosques comunales de Totonicapán. A formal guide to the 94 bird species found in the forests of Totonicapán, with names of each bird in Spanish, English, and Maya K’iche.