April 27, 2017

Lorelle Berkeley

Lorelle_&_grouse_2006_resizedPh.D. Candidate

Current C.V.


M.S. (thesis) Biology – University of Nebraska at Omaha, 2004

B.S. Ecology, Evolution and Behavior – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, 1999

Research Interests

I am interested in avian ecology and management, particularly using interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., behavioral ecology and population biology) to address ecological questions that are useful to management.  My undergraduate background is in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior with an emphasis in animal behavior studies (University of Minnesota, 1999).  I obtained my M.S. (thesis) degree in Biology (University of Nebraska, Omaha, 2004) studying the influence of environmental variables on survival and movement of fledgling dickcissels (Spiza Americana; a grassland bird of conservation concern in Nebraska during the time of my study).
For my Ph.D., I am using perspectives from both population and behavioral ecology to study habitat selection.  Specifically, I am studying the effect of different forest types on male behavior in ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) to investigate why males are selecting their territories.  My study is a smaller portion of a long-term population study on ruffed grouse that began in 2001.  Currently, northern Minnesota has a larger proportion of aspen than was historically present, due to anthropogenic influence.  Thus a goal in Minnesota habitat management is to increase the composition of conifers across the landscape.  However, there is also a management goal to increase ruffed grouse population sizes in the state.  Ruffed grouse prefer aspen (Populus spp.) where it is available, so there is concern about what will happen to grouse populations as forest managers attempt to reduce aspen in northern Minnesota forests.  Despite the numerous studies of ruffed grouse, the range of acceptable habitats for this species is still unclear.  An overall goal of my study is to estimate how changes in forest composition might affect grouse populations in northern Minnesota.
A central question of my research is: do males behave differently in different habitats?  Reproductive fitness may vary among the habitats that males choose for territories, and a component of reproductive fitness is being able to find mates.  Being able to find mates is affected by the social behavior of the birds, thus I am approaching this question from the behavioral perspective to attempt to identify a mechanism of habitat selection with a goal of identifying what compositions of habitats may be optimal for this species.  I am using video cameras to monitor males at their display sites and quantify how much interaction males are getting with other ruffed grouse by counting the number of visitors that the males receive, and by quantifying the display rates of males (an indicator that another ruffed grouse is nearby if it cannot be seen on camera).  I am also continuing to collect data on the long-term population study, doing auditory surveys for male ruffed grouse to find their territories, estimate population size, and measure vegetation characteristics at their territories.  I have finished collecting and reviewing video data and am currently analyzing and writing up the results.  Stay tuned!



Berkeley L. I., J. P. McCarty, and L. L. Wolfenbarger (2007). Postfledging survival and movement in Dickcissels (Spiza americana): Implications for habitat management and conservation. Auk 124:396-409.

Berkeley L. I (2004). The postfledging ecology of Dickcissels (Spiza americana). M.S. Thesis, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 133 pp.

Berkeley L. I, J. F. Cohen, D. L. Crankshaw, F. N. Shirota, and H. T. Nagasawa (2003) Hepatoprotection by L-cysteine-glutathione mixed disulfide (CySSG), a sulfhydryl-modified prodrug of glutathione. J. Biochem. Mol. Toxicol., 17:95-97.

Crankshaw D. L, L. I. Berkeley, J. F. Cohen, F. N. Shirota, and H. T. Nagasawa (2002) Double prodrugs of L-cysteine: differential protection against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in mice. J. Biochem. Mol. Toxicol., 16:235-244.


Lorelle Berkeley
Research Wildlife Biologist
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
406-850-9055 (work phone)