This page is archived as part of Mississippi State University's history. It may refer to situations which have changed or people who are no longer affiliated with the university.

Dr. Jerry Belant, Principal Investigator.
Dr. Belant is an Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management and Director of the Carnivore Ecology Laboratory. His research interests include wildlife resource use, monitoring and population estimation, human-wildlife interactions, and international conservation.

Mariela Gantchoff, Ph.D. Student.
Mariela is the new graduate research assistant at the MS Black Bear Project. Her research will focus on black bear ecology, conservation and management along the Mississippi Delta and studying black bear re-colonization of Mississippi. Mariela completed her MS degree at the Carnivore Ecology Laboratory studying invasive mammal and native carnivore ecology in Argentinian Patagonia. Mariela is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she received her degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires. Her interests include carnivore ecology, conservation, behavior and management.

Stephanie Simek, Ph.D candidate.
Stephanie has spent 15 years working with black bears. Formally the lead biologist for Florida, Stephanie returned to school to pursue a Ph.D. The focus of her work is to update historical assessment and status and management of black bears in Mississippi while estimating black bear habitat suitability, conducting a statewide corridor assessment for black bear movement and simulate black bear colonization across Mississippi. Click here you can find more about Stephanie's research. Here is her abstract.


Brent Bowman, Research Technician.
Brent received his B.S. in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture from Mississippi State University in May 2014 under the guidance of Dr. Jerry Belant and Dr. Jessica Tegt. Brent worked as an intern with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks in 2012, where he focused on habitat management and wildlife-damage management. Brent also worked as an intern for USDA Wildlife Services where he focused on wildlife-damage management. He joined the MS Black Bear Project in 2013 as a research technician. He currently works for the U.S. Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake, MS.

Nick Fowler, Research Associate
Nick joined the Mississippi Bear Project in 2012 after receiving his B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife with a minor in Biology from the University of Missouri. While earning his M.S. investigating expression of facultative den behavior in global ursids, Nick assisted in heading up field operations on the Mississippi Bear Project. Upon graduation he transitioned into a Research Associate position on the Michigan Predator-Prey Project also in the Carnivore Ecology Lab.

Brittany Waller, M.S. Student.
Brittany joined us from Clemson University in 2009 after graduating with her BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. She studied black bear den-site selection in the delta region. Her thesis, Multi-scale den-site selection by black bears in Mississippi, can be found here. She graduated in August 2012 with a MS in Wildlife Science and moved back to her home state of South Carolina. She currently works for South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as a wildlife biologist.


Cole Brazil

Jonathan Fleming

Morgan Ihlefeld

Evelyn Interis

Christian Singleton

Alicia Workman

Meghan Jordan

Michael Bryant

Jamie Holt

Christopher Cooley

Chloe Wright

Brad Staton

Chris Ayers

Clay Wilton

Evan O'Donnell

Nate Libal

Eric Michel

Savanna Summers

Kandis Cazenave



We would also like to extend a thank you to all the others that are not listed here for their participation in our study.

Without all of you, none of this would have been possible.