Erika Barthelmess

Professor Biology Department
Director, Nature Up North Project

PhD - Systematics and Ecology
University of Kansas

BA - Biology
Earlham College
College Honors
Departmental Honors
Phi Beta Kappa

Erika Barthelmess

I am a vertebrate ecologist and conservation biologist. I earned my B.A. in Biology at Earlham College, where I spent a semester abroad in Kenya. I earned my Ph.D. in Systematics and Ecology at the University of Kansas, and conducted post-doctoral research at Vanderbilt University before arriving at St. Lawrence. I am currently serving as co-chair of the Biology Department and am the faculty coordinator for the Conservation Biology major. I am also the Project Director for Nature Up North, an initiative to help foster place-based, environmental connections in the North Country through environmental education opportunities and the web.  

In Biology, courses I regularly teach include General Biology, Mammalogy, Behavioral Ecology, Vertebrate Natural History, and Conservation Biology. My research interests are broad and include the biology of small, isolated populations, the intersection of behavioral ecology and conservation, road ecology, and the ecology and natural history of porcupines. I am active in the American Society of Mammalogists and the Society for Conservation Biology and am a member of the society’s Africa section. I enjoy working with students and hold regular weekly "lab meetings" with my research team.  Typically, I have 2-3 students working in my lab on research projects every semester - a combination of seniors and underclassmen.  

I am also a member of the African Studies faculty at SLU and periodically teach a course in Kenya called “Pastoralist Nomads and Wildlife Conservation” with Dr. Celia Nyamweru. This field course examines issues of human-wildlife compatibility and conflict by examining the relationships between a pastoral lifestyle of cattle herding typical of the Maasai culture with the needs of wildlife.  In addition to Kenya, I have spent time in southern Africa in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland and I have written about the Cape Porcupine, Hystrix africaeaustralis, the largest rodent on the African continent.  I enjoy working with students who are completing their AFS minors through independent study and am particularly able to work with students whose interests involve environmental science.

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