Project Directors and Specialists

Richard Callas – California Department of Fish and Wildlife (530-340-5977;

Deana Clifford – CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian, Wildlife Investigations Lab

Deana received her Bachelors in Wildlife Conservation Biology, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and Masters and PhD in epidemiology from the University of California Davis. Her dissertation work focused on infectious disease and reproduction threats to endangered island foxes. Deana has worked on a variety of wildlife and ecosystem health projects, both nationally and internationally, ranging from infectious disease in carnivores to impacts of bovine tuberculosis on wildlife, livestock and people in Tanzania. Deana Clifford is currently the veterinarian and epidemiologist for Nongame, Threatened and Endangered Species at the California Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Investigation Lab and a Research Associate at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center.  She is responsible for non-game species health programs in California, which includes conducting research for and advising species conservation and recovery programs for Amargosa vole, American pika, island fox, fisher, Sierra Nevada red fox; and addressing emerging diseases or toxins of concern in wildlife including white-nose syndrome in bats, tumors in wildlife populations and anticoagulant rodenticides in carnivore populations. Her interests are wildlife disease risk assessment and surveillance, conservation medicine, mesocarnivore diseases, and epidemiology of diseases that occur at the interface of people, domestic animals and wildlife.

Tom Engstrom – Sierra Pacific Industries

Tom Engstrom is the Wildlife and Botany Program manager for Sierra
Pacific Industries in Anderson, California.  He and his staff are
charged with providing current and future habitat for a wide range of
animals on SPI’s California forestlands.  His biologists document use by
a variety of species – both rare and common – including spotted owls,
great gray owls, goshawks, fishers, martens, deer, bears, bobcats,
mountain lions, many prey species, and at least one wolverine.  SPI
believes it can provide habitat for over 200 animal species found on its
property while harvesting and replanting trees.  These forests also
provide excellent habitat for aquatic species, nesting and roosting
spots for migratory and resident birds, and are home to over 1,700
occurrences of rare and uncommon plants.

Aaron Facka – NC State PhD Student (

stuck on the Mexican border

stuck on the Mexican border

Aaron grew up in the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico) being well fed on red chile and tortillas. He is fortunate to have worked in many awe-inspiring and interesting systems from -grasslands to mountain tops – and with a whole slew of unique and interesting people (good examples found on this page). He is currently trying to make sense of exactly why fishers do what they do and go where they go on a daily basis. He has particular interests in evolutionary ecology, population biology, and ecological energetics.



Laura Finley – US Fish and Wildlife Service Yreka Field Office

Sean MatthewsWildlife Conservation Society

smatthews photoSean is an Associate Conservation Scientist and Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Wildlife Conservation Society. He has been working cooperatively with colleagues from the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Integral Ecology Research Center, Humboldt State University, and the University of California Davis to assess critical elements of fisher ecology since the fall of 2004.  He is also conducting capacity building efforts on the reservation through the research program.  Prior to his work on fisher in Hoopa, Sean completed a four year research project addressing human-black bear interactions in Yosemite National Park in order to provide management recommendations to Park Service managers.  He and his colleagues from the Hornocker Wildlife Institute, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Department of Resource, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Idaho examined the recent history of human-bear conflicts, provided an evaluation of the interpretive communication system, and described bear activity patterns near recreational development and bear food habits.

Roger Powell – Professor and Principal Investigator, NC State University

Over the past 30 years, my research has emphasized how limiting resources affect animals. I have learned that the energy budgets of fishers (Martes pennanti) are interdependent with their foraging choices and their sexual dimorphism in body size. Fluctuations in small mammal populations cause weasel populations never to have stable age distributions or survival schedules and significantly affect sexual dimorphism and mating patterns of weasels (Mustela spp.). Fluctuations in small mammal populations also allow the coexistence of more than one weasel species. Productivity of food explains whether black bears (Ursus americanus) defend territories or tolerate home range overlap and changes in productivity of food can affect intrasexual territoriality in a range of mustelid species. Tunnel systems, and not food, appear to be the limiting resource for woodland voles (Microtus pinetorum) and the low availability of tunnel systems delays dispersal in young voles, leading to cooperative breeding.


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