Faculty Research

Dr. Jeff Breeden

Dr. Breeden’s current research focus includes the evaluation of habitat quality for threatened ungulate populations at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. He teaches the introductory GIS course at Tarleton. 

[email protected]

Dr. Hennen Cummings

Dr. Cummings is conducting research in aquaponics. He is investigating using Mexican scud and freshwater tiger prawn to consume fish feces, excrete plant available nutrients, and reduce bladder snails in aquaponics. He is investigating the use of composted fish feces on cucumber yield and root growth.  He is investigating using black soldier fly larvae (insect-based protein) and azolla (leguminous plant-based protein) as protein supplements for juvenile tilapia.  He is investigating growing freshwater tiger prawn in individual enclosures to reduce self-predation and increase the number of prawns that can be grown to maturity in a tank.

 [email protected] 

Dr. Hemanta Kafley

Dr. Kafley is expanding research in occupancy analysis of multiple species in Chitwan National Park and beyond in Nepal. Dr. Kafley is also establishing new research for understanding human-leopard conflict in human-dominated landscapes. He plans to deploy GPS collars on problem leopards (Panthera pardus) to model spatial distribution and identify movement pattern of the animals. The goal is to understand factors that render leopards problematic as they interact with human and livestock. He is also investigation human dimensions issues for leopard conservation in the landscapes beyond protected areas. Dr. Kafley is also leading a research project for assessing the status and distribution of kit fox (Vulpes macrotus) and developing predictive models for kit fox distribution in the Big Bend National Park in Texas.

 [email protected]

Dr. Eunsung Kan

Dr. Kan is currently conducting research in the following areas: Production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biomaterials from dairy and agricultural waste, removal of contaminants from dairy agricultural wastewater, reuse of wastewater for agricultural irrigation and energy production, capture and conversion of greenhouse gases to valuable products.

[email protected]

Dr. Heather Mathewson

Dr. Mathewson has a diverse research program that primarily focuses on how wildlife populations respond to anthropogenic changes in the environment. Her current research includes riparian and grassland restoration, phenotypic plasticity in house sparrows, microplastics in songbirds, efficacy of wildlife-friendly materials for erosion control, effectiveness of environmental DNA for monitoring populations, and human-wildlife coexistence in Botswana. Additional research is associated with management and conservation of bison, quail and doves, songbirds, and pollinator systems.

[email protected]

Dr. Donald McGahan

Dr. McGahan’s research examines the slowly renewable natural resource, soil, on which the majority of life planet depend. He uses multiple low and high technology tools to investigate how’s and whys to further understanding this diverse ecosystem. Currently under investigation are phosphorus forms and contents on agricultural lands and the impacts and fates thereof as a result of both natural erosion and accelerated erosion.

[email protected]

Dr. Darrel Murray

Dr. Murray investigates ecological aspects of grasslands and savannas. Current research includes investigating the impacts of increasing tree & shrub species (woody encroachment) and restoration on herbaceous plant species diversity, soil and watershed properties, and associated insect and animal species. This includes research using plant and animal surveys, environmental data logging, aerial images, historical and social data, prescribed fire, citizen science data, and predictive modeling.

[email protected]

Grassland & Savanna Applied Research Lab | Wildlife and Natural Resources (tarleton.edu)

Dr. James P. Muir

Dr. Muir has on-going research in Brazil, Botswana, Portugal, Louisiana, Missouri and throughout Texas. His long-term focus has been legumes, both cultivated and natural, and their myriad roles in pastures, rangeland, prairies, and savannahs. For example, his multi-national team looks at the many facets of legume condensed tannins as they affect plant survival, herbivory, and carbon sequestration, as well as animal and environment health. His students currently focus on various issues, including 1. domesticating native Texas legume ecotypes for many uses, including prairie restoration and roadside revegetation; 2. Domesticating native bunchgrasses for bioenergy; 3. Adapting native grasses for ornamental purposes, including reducing municipal irrigation; 4. And Identifying native herbaceous and arboreal legumes throughout the tropics and subtropics that contain biologically active condensed tannins. He teaches graduate courses at Tarleton and various Brazilian universities.

https://stephenville.tamu.edu/research-project/grassland-ecology/ [email protected]

Dr. Adam Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell conducts research exploring how anthropogenic (human-induced) effects influence ecosystem structure and function using plants and arthropods as model assemblages. His past research includes biodiversity monitoring, invasion biology, plant-insect interactions, restoration ecology, and wildlife-habitat relationships. He is currently conducting research exploring the impacts of drought on plant and pollinator performance, pollinator use of grass for nesting and floral resources, monitoring for invasive forestry pests on oak, assessment of habitat for macroinvertebrates in urban river systems, and macroinvertebrate response to microplastic pollution. He is also working on assessing the efficacy of wildlife-friendly materials used to reduce soil erosion in construction sites with Dr. Mathewson.

Dr. T.Wayne Schwertner

Dr. Schwertner’s lab, the Southern African Conservation Research Initiative, focuses on biodiversity conservation research in semi-arid and arid ecosystems, primarily in southern Africa. His research currently includes investigating movements and habitat use of various African lions and other large carnivores in pastoral grazing systems of the Kalahari Desert of Botswana. Other interests include the ecology of aardvarks, habitat use by large mammalian prey species such as eland, and the effects of mammalian herbivory on biodiversity.

Student Research