This week Amanda Cheeseman successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation, "Factors Limiting the Recovery of the New England cottontail in New York." Amanda's dissertation is the result of a three-year field project focused on the effects of competition and invasive species on a highly imperiled rabbit in New York. The New England cottontail, a shrubland obligate and the only native cottontail east of the Hudson River, is the focus of a six-state collaborative effort to restore habitat and recover populations. Amanda's results have clear implications for managing habitat to promote New England cottontails while discouraging their closest competitor, the eastern cottontail, which was introduced to the region. Her dissertation also highlights the importance of restoring connectivity within the New York metapopulation. Amanda has had a distinguished Ph.D. career. She has presented her findings around the world, and her work earned her a best poster award from the American Society of Mammalogists. She has been successful at grant writing, and is also often sought after when decisions are made about habitat management for New England cottontails. It was gratifying to see many members of the conservation community for the species attending her capstone seminar via webconference. The Cohen lab is extremely fortunate to have Amanda staying on for postdoctoral work, translating her Ph.D. findings into best management practices and adaptive management protocols and working with landowners on implementation of her recommendations. Congratulations, Amanda, and we're looking forward to continuing to work with you!
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