Department of Zoology and Physiology

Program in Ecology

Evolutionary Biology

Birds of Wyoming

Biodiversity Institute

Contact information:

Office: Berry Center 149
Lab: Biological Sciences 439

Mailing Address:
Department of Zoology & Physiology, 3166
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071

Office Ph: (307) 766-2978
Lab Ph: (307) 766-4906
Fax: (307) 766-5625

Craig W. Benkman

Curriculum vitae


Current Lab Members

Former Graduate Students

Former Post-docs


Current Lab Members

Nathan Behl, MS student 2014-


Cody Porter, PhD student 2014-




Former Graduate Students

Beth Bardwell, MS, 2000

Thesis: "Feeding performance of Western Scrub Jays on pinyon pine cones and acorns: is geographic variation in bill structure adaptive?"

Current position: Director of Freshwater Conservation, Audubon New Mexico


Chris Borg, MS, 2001

Thesis: "Impacts of timber harvest on the endemic Sacramento Mountain salamander, Aneides hardii (Caudata: Plethodontidae), in the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, USA"

Current position: Land Protection Specialist, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests


Kim Coffey, MS, 1997

Thesis: "The adaptive significance of spines on pine cones"


Amanda Favis, MS, 2002

Thesis: "Patterns of seed predation by crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) and red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) and the geographic selection mosaic"

Current position: Director, Ruidoso Animal Clinic, New Mexico


Trevor Fetz, PhD, 2010

Thesis: "The ecology and conservation of a small endemic population of Red Crossbill"

Current position: Lead Avian Biologist, Hawks Aloft, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico


Julie Hart, MS, 2013

Thesis: "Are South Hills crossbills declining with increasing temperatures?"


William Holimon, MS, 1996

Thesis: "Spatio-temporal patterns of Red Crossbills and conifer cones in southeast Alaska"

Current position: Chief of Research & Inventory, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission


Patrick Keenan, MS, 2007

Thesis: "Call learning and call variation in Red Crossbills"

Current position: Outreach Director, Biodiversity Research Institute, Gorham, Maine


Thomas Parchman, MS, 2002; PhD, 2007

Thesis: "Diversifying coevolution between crossbills and black spruce on Newfoundland"

Dissertation: "Patterns of genetic variation and coevolution in the diversification of crossbills"

Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Nevada at Reno

Joy Sales, MS, 2004

Thesis: "Does selection by an ectoparasite drive a population of Red Crossbills from their adaptive peak?"


Leonard Santisteban, PhD, 2010

Dissertation: "Temporal variation in population dynamics, natural selection, and reproductive isolation in the South Hills crossbill (Fringillidae: Loxia)"


Adam Siepielski, MS, 2002; PhD, 2007

Thesis: A role for island area in the geographic mosaic of coevolution for Red Crossbills and lodgepole pine"

Dissertation: "The ecology and evolution of seed dispersal mutualisms between nutcrackers and pine"

Current position: Assistant Professor, University of San Diego

Julie Smith, MS, 1997; PhD, 2005

Thesis: "The adaptive use of public information by foraging Red Crossbills"

Dissertation: "The role of coevolution in promoting ecological speciation in Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra complex)"

Current position: Associate Professor, Pacific Lutheran University


Lisa Snowberg, MS, 2006

Thesis: "Mate choice preferences of female red crossbills (Loxia curvirostra complex): the importance of vocalizations and foraging rates"

Current position: PhD student, University of Texas, Austin

John Stanek, MS, 2009

Thesis: "Breeding habitat selection by rosy-finches in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado"

Current position: Wildlife Biologist, Southern Sierra Research Station


Matt Talluto, PhD, 2013

Dissertation: "The evolution of landscape structure: Eco-evolutionary dynamics drive spatial variation in serotiny in lodgepole pine"

Current position: Postdoctoral Researcher, Université du Québec à Rimouski


Lauren Throop, MS, 2011

Thesis: "Evidence for Allee effects? How variation in local limber pine (Pinus flexilis) density influences seed dispersal by the Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)"

Current position: Wildlife Biologist/Project Manager, Hayden-Wing Associates



Former Postdocs

Anna Chalfoun

2007-2008. Postdoctoral Fellow funded by the National Park Service

Current position: Assistant Professor/Assistant Unit Leader, USGS Wyoming Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Wyoming


Eduardo T. Mezquida

2003-2005. Postdoctoral Fellow funded by Spanish Ministry of Education and Science

Current position: Professor Ayudante Doctor, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain


Pim Edelaar

2002-2003. NWO Talent Fellow from the Netherlands

Current position: Assistant Professor, University Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain