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Dr. Thomas L. Serfass - Biography

Research Interests

My research focuses on various aspects of carnivore ecology and conservation, including reintroduction projects. I currently am conducting research with Amercian martens (Martes americana), fishers (Martes pennanti) and river otters (Lontra canadensis) in North Dakota. I also am studying spotted-necked otters (Lutra maculicollis) in Tanzania.


Recently Completed Graduate Students
 

  • Maggie D. Triska (2010), Thesis: Assessing the current and projected future distribution of a recently re-establishing fisher (Martes pennanti) population in eastern North Dakota (Outstanding graduate student, Wildlife-Fisheries Biology; Ph.D. Candidate University of Western Australia).
  • Jessica R. Brandt (2010), Thesis: Assessing origin of river otters in North Dakota by microsatellities.
  • Adam L. Brandt (2010), Thesis: Evaluating the genetic structure of bobcats in North Dakota and surrounding states (Ph.D. Candidate at University of Illinois).
  • Carlie Z. Zoubek (2010), Thesis: Effects of transport on fecal glucocorticioid levels in captive-bred cotton-top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus).
  • Zoe L. Hanley (2010), Thesis: Spatial and temporal factors associated with detections of bobcats (Lynx rufus) and fishers (Martes pennanti) in western Maryland.
  • Steven C. Loughry (2010), Thesis: Assessing the natural history and habitat use of the fisher in eastern North Dakota.
  • Julia Smith (2010), Thesis: Seasonal variation in detection of forest carnivores in western Maryland using remote cameras.


Recent Publications

2011

  • Hanley, Z., and T. L. Serfass.  2011.  Distribution and detection rates of a reintroduced fisher population in western Maryland Martes Working Group Newsletter 18(1):25-27.

  • Bohrman, J. A., S. S. Stevens, and T. L.Serfass.  in press.  Long-term survival and reproduction in a river otter (Lontra canadensis) with an intraperitoneal radio-transmitter.  Canadian Field-Naturalist: xx:xx-xx.

  • Stearns, C. R., and T. L. Serfass.  2011.  The use of scales to estimate the size of the fish prey of river otters (Lontra canadensis) and other piscivores.  American Midland Naturalist 166:163-176.

  • Stearns, C. R., and T.L. Serfass.  2011.  Food habits and fish prey size selection of a newly colonizing population of river otters (Lontra canadensis) in eastern North Dakota.  American Midland Naturalist 165:169–184.

  • Triska, M. D., S. C. Loughry, and T. L. Serfass.  2011. Persistence of fishers in riparian forests in North Dakota, USA following a severe flood event.  Acat Theriologica 56:367–374.

  • Triska, M. D., S. C. Loughry, and T. L. Serfass.  2011.  River otters use agricultural field along the Turtle River in eastern North Dakota as crossover and latrine area.  The Prairie Naturalist 43(1/2):52-55.

  • Stevens, S. S., E. H. Just, R. C. Cordes, R. P. Brooks, T. L. Serfass.  2011.  The influence of habitat quality on the detection of river otter (Lontra canadensis) latrines near bridges.  American Midland Naturalist 166:435-445.

  • Reed-Smith, J., I. Oluoch, M. Origa, T. S. Kihedu, M. M. Muhabi, M. M.Yusuf, M. Ogada, A. Lobora, and T. Serfass. 2010. Consumptive uses of and lore pertaining to spotted-necked otters in East Africa - a preliminary report from the Lake Victoria area of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 27:6-9.

2010

  • Serfass, T. L., and M. J. Dzialak. 2010. Martes pennanti. In M. Steele, J. Merritt, M. Brittingham, and T. Maret, Editors. Terrestrial species of concern in Pennsylvania: a guide for research, conservation, and management. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
  • Serfass, T. L., and D. Rothschild. 2010. Lontra canadensis. In M. Steele, J. Merritt, M. Brittingham, and T. Maret, Editors. Terrestrial species of concern in Pennsylvania: a guide for research, conservation, and management. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
  • Hanley, Z., and T. Serfass. 2010. Evaluating bobcat-habitat associations in western Maryland, USA, using remote cameras. Wild Felid Monitor 3(2):14.
  • Reed-Smith, J., I. Oluoch, M. Origa, T. S. Kihedu, M. M. Muhabi, M. M.Yusuf, M. Ogada, A. Lobora, and T. Serfass. 2010. Consumptive uses of and lore pertaining to spotted-necked otters in East Africa - a preliminary report from the Lake Victoria area of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 27:6-9.
     

2009

  • Serfass, T., and S. Stevens. 2009. Spotted-necked otters and Rubondo Island
  • National Park: a logical link for wildlife tourism? Carnivore News Bites - The Newsletter of the Tanzania Carnivore Program. 9(September-December):4-5.
  • Olson, Z. H., T. L. Serfass, and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2009. Seasonal variation in latrine site visitation and scent marking by nearctic river otters (Lontra canadensis). IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin 25:109-119.
     

2008

  • Rothschild, D. M., T. L. Serfass, W. L. Seddon, L. Hegde, and R. S. Fritz. 2008. Using fecal glucocorticoids to assess stress levels in captive river otters. Journal of Wildlife Management 72:138-142.
  • Serfass, T. L. 2008. Reintroduction of woodrats: concepts and applications. Pages 169-191 in J. Peles, and J. Wright, Editors. The Allegheny woodrat: ecology, conservation, and management of a declining species. Springer Publishing Company, New York, New York, USA.
  • Serfass, T. L., and S. S. Stevens. 2008. Detailed devotion (Book Review: Otters - ecology, behaviour, and conservation, Hans Kruuk. 2006). Conservation Biology 22:505-809.
  • Spinola, R.M., T. L. Serfass, and R. P. Brooks. 2008. Survival and post-release movements of river otters translocated to western New York. Northeastern Naturalist 15:13-24.
  • Stevens, S. S., and T. Serfass. 2008. Visitation patterns and behavior of nearctic river otters (Lontra canadensis) at their latrines. Northeastern Naturalist 15:1-12.


Recent Presentations (with graduate students)

2010

  • Can otters and anglers share the stream? at Pathways to Success: 2010 Conference, Estes Park, Colorado, 21 SEP - 1 OCT 2010.
  • Protected areas and flagship species: Is a "one-size fits-all" approach appropriate? at Pathways to Success: 2010 Conference, Estes Park, Colorado, 21 SEP - 1 OCT 2010.
  • Distribution and Habitat Use by a Pioneering Fisher Population in Eastern North Dakota at 66th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Newton, Massachusetts, 25-27APRIL 2010.
  • Assessing and Simulating the Distribution of Fishers Occupying Fragmented Forests in Eastern North Dakota at 66th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Newton, Massachusetts, 25-27APRIL 2010.
  • Evaluating Gene Flow and Dispersal of Bobcats in North Dakota Using Microsatellites at 66th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Newton, Massachusetts, 25-27APRIL 2010.
  • Seasonal Variation in Detections of Forest Carnivores in Western Maryland Using Remote Cameras at 66th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Newton, Massachusetts, 25-27APRIL 2010.
  • Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Bobcat (Lynx rufus) and Fisher (Martes pennanti) Detections in Western Maryland at 66th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Newton, Massachusetts, 25-27APRIL 2010.
  • Assessing the Origins of North American River Otters in North Dakota Using Microsatellite Analysis at 66th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Newton, Massachusetts, 25-27APRIL 2010.


2009

  • Detecting evidence of spotted-necked otters on Rubondo Island National Park at Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute - The 7th Scientific Conference ("Wildlife Conservation in a Changing World"), Arusha, Tanzania, 2-4 DEC 2009.
  • Increasing local support for Tanzania's national parks: finding the best flagship species for Rubondo Island at Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute - The 7th Scientific Conference ("Wildlife Conservation in a Changing World"), Arusha, Tanzania, 2-4 DEC 2009.
  • Otters and wildlife tourism: a recipe for conservation success? at Carnivores 2009 - Carnivores in a Changing World, 15-18 NOV 2009.
  • Seasonal variation in detection of forest carnivores in western Maryland using remote cameras at Carnivores 2009 - Carnivores in a Changing World, 15-18 NOV 2009.
  • Spatial and temporal distribution of bobcat and fisher detections in western Maryland at Carnivores 2009 - Carnivores in a Changing World, 15-18 NOV 2009.
  • Distribution of fishers occupying small fragmented forests in eastern North Dakota at Carnivores 2009 - Carnivores in a Changing World, 15-18 NOV 2009.
  • Distribution and habitat use by a pioneering fisher population in eastern North Dakota at Carnivores 2009 - Carnivores in a Changing World, 15-18 NOV 2009.
  • Using remote cameras to monitor otter populations: learning from the past and looking to the future at EIA&Otter, Cottbus, Germany, 6-9 MAY 2009.
  • Protecting aquatic environments in the USA: why has the river otter not played a more prominent role in planning and decision making at EIA & Otter, Cottbus, Germany, 6-9 MAY 2009.


Recent Grants/Awards

  • 2009-2012: Evaluating the Distribution of River Otters and Beavers throughout the Missouri and Souris River Drainages in North Dakota. Federal State Wildlife Grant - $155,576.00.
  • 2008-2010: Evaluating the distribution and abundance of river otters and other mesocarnivores in eastern North Dakota (project extension). Federal State Wildlife Grant - $36,300.
  • 2008-2010: Evaluating the distribution and habitat of fishers and bobcats in western Maryland. Maryland Department of Natural Resources - $11,000.
  • 2005-2008: Wilson H. Elkins Professorship, University of Maryland System - $235,000.
  • 2005-2008: Evaluating the distribution and abundance of river otters and other mesocarnivores in eastern North Dakota. Federal State Wildlife Grant - $164,395.