Masters Students

  Molly Kneece

M.S. student in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Aquaculture (WFA) studying under Dr. Brian Davis. Molly joined the WFA in August 2012, after graduating from Clemson University in 2012 with a non-thesis, Master of Forest Resources degree and a bachelor's degree in Forest Resource Management. Molly worked for two seasons with the Nemours Wildlife Foundation as a technician on a mottled duck nesting ecology project in the ACE Basin of South Carolina. She has also volunteered with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources capturing and banding wood ducks and mottled ducks. Molly's research focuses on determining habitat use and survival of mottled duck broods in the ACE Basin of South Carolina. This research is important because so little is known about reproduction and brood rearing ecology and management of mottled ducks in South Carolina, despite the species being revered by hunters, bird watchers, and other conservationists. After completing her M.S. degree, Molly hopes to pursue a career in waterfowl and wetland ecology and management. In her spare time, Molly enjoys hunting, fishing, and other outdoor-related activities.


  Joe Lancaster

M.S. student in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture, Mississippi State University, working with Drs. Brian Davis and Rick Kaminski. He joined the Department in spring 2010 after graduating from Lake Superior State University (2007) with a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management and working numerous seasonal technician positions for Delta Waterfowl Foundation and Ducks Unlimited Inc. in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada. He also worked as a technician for MSU graduate students conducting research on wintering waterfowl and wetlands in Mississippi. Joe’s M.S. research addresses the effect that waterfowl hunting two and four days per week on Mississippi Waterfowl Management Areas may have on movements, habitat use, and survival of radiomarked female mallards. Results from his project will help guide managers in making decisions on size, distribution, and habitat composition (including sanctuary areas) of WMAs and other public and private conservation lands for mallards and other wintering ducks. In his spare time, Joe enjoys hunting, bowfishing, photography, and many other outdoor-related activities.


  Joseph Marty

M.S. student in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Aquaculture, Mississippi State University, is originally from Manitowoc, Wisconsin and now working with Drs. Brian Davis, Rick Kaminski, and Mike Brasher (Ducks Unlimited, Inc.). He joined the department in summer 2010 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in May 2010 with a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management and Biology. He worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a seasonal waterfowl technician in northern Minnesota. Joe also spent time working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources trapping and banding waterfowl. Joe’s M.S. research addresses estimating abundance of waste rice and moist-soil seeds in harvested rice and fallow fields as foods for waterfowl wintering in the coastal prairies in Louisiana and the Texas Mid-Coast. Results from his project will help managers make decisions on farming practices and landscape conservation for migrating and wintering waterfowl in this region. After completing his M.S. degree, Joe hopes to pursue a Ph.D. related to waterfowl and wetlands ecology and conservation and then eventually pursue a career in the same discipline. In his spare time, Joe enjoys hunting, bass fishing tournaments, snowboarding, and many outdoor activities


  Kira Newcomb

M.S. student in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture, Mississippi State University, is investigating habitat use and winter survival of black ducks in and around the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (TNWR) under the tutelage of Drs. Brian Davis, Matt Gray (University of Tennessee-Knoxville) and Rick Kaminski. Before matriculating to Mississippi State in 2010, Kira graduated from Centre College in 2007 with a B.S. degree in biology. After graduation, she worked as a threatened and endangered species intern at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Kira was also employed by Virginia Tech as a shorebird technician on a Wilson’s plover project and as a technician assisting red-cockaded woodpecker researchers at Camp Lejeune. In addition, she worked as a research specialist for the University of Tennessee on king rail and shorebird studies at TNWR. Avian ecology and conservation are Kira’s passions, but she also enjoys reading and writing fiction, watching movies, and eating sushi.


  Clay Shipes

M.S. student in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture studying nesting ecology of mottled ducks in the ACE Basin South Carolina under the direction of Dr. Brian Davis. Clay graduated in 2008 from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with an Associates degree in Biology. He then received a bachelor's degree in forest resource management from Clemson University in 2010. He worked for the University of Georgia as a technician on a Clapper Rail project and as a S.T.E.P. student for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, both in coastal South Carolina. Clay has also worked with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources capturing and banding wood ducks and mottled ducks. Results from his project will help managers better understand and manage historical rice fields and impoundments to benefit breeding mottled ducks. After his M.S. degree, Clay hopes to pursue a career in waterfowl and wetlands ecology and management. In his free time he enjoys hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.


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