Lesley P. Bulluck
Assistant Professor
Center for Environmental Studies
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA 23284
I study population ecology and behavior of birds, and strive to have a positive influence on how we conserve and manage declining species.
Office: Trani Life Sciences Building, 028

Phone: 804-828-0072

Ph.D., Natural Resources,Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
University of Tennessee, Major Adviser: David Buehler    2007
M.S. Zoology/Ecology, Department of Zoology, Miami University                                                         Major Adviser: Rob Blair     2003
B.S. Biology, Appalachian State University 2000

Co-PI on many projects
Cathy Viverette, Assistant Professor , Center for Environmental Studies

Current Graduate Students:

Samantha Rogers (PhD student)

Samantha is using fecal metabarcoding to uncover spatial and temporal variation in the Prothonotary Warbler diet and is also quantifying export of essential fatty acids through emergent aquatic insects in the lower James River.
(Co-advised by Paul Bukaveckas)



Adele Balmer (PhD student)

Her dissertation will use the Prothonotary Warbler long term dataset to assess factors influencing demographic rates
(co-advised by Derek Johnson)



Nina Brundle (MS student, Environmental Studies)






Tyler Hohenstein (MS Student, Bioinformatics)

Current Undergraduate students:

Nikki Novak is studying geographic variation in Swainson’s Warbler in collaboration with Garrett Rhyne at LSU


Previous Graduate Students:

Baron Lin (graduated May 2021)

Baron’s developed multi-scale occupancy models for Vermivora species (Golden-winged, Blue-winged and both) in southwest Virginia using a custom land cover classification that accurately represents shrub cover.



Elsa Chen (graduated May 2020)

Elsa’s thesis quantified female aggression in incubating Prothonotary Warblers to assess tradeoffs in aggression and parental care. She is currently a Wildlife Resources Technician for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.




Hannah Coovert (graduated August 2019)

Hannah’s thesis assessed predictors of private landowner intentions to manage for high elevation shrubland habitat in western Virginia.



Abby Walter (graduated August 2019)

Her MS thesis assessed sex-specific parental care behaviors and home range size  in red-headed woodpeckers in a dynamic managed landscape at Fort AP Hill, VA.  She also used GPS tags to track fine scale movements during the breeding season.  Abby is now a data analyst with the USFWS.






Ben Nickley (graduated December 2018)
His MS thesis will assess habitat quality and occupancy dynamics of red-headed woodpecker in a landscape with a complex mosaic of potential habitats created by timber harvests and prescribed fire management at Fort AP Hill.  Ben is now a PhD student in the SILVIS lab at UW-Madison




tarsus measure

Liz Schold (graduated May 2018, Biology)
For her thesis, Liz created an accurate landcover classification that includes shrub cover (something that has not been available) that can be used to assess habitat use and occupancy dynamics in Golden-winged Warblers. Liz is now the Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail Coordinator at Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission



Matt DeSaix (MS graduated May 2018, Environmental Studies)
Matt’s thesis used molecular and bioinformatics tools to understand population genetic structure and migratory connectivity in the Prothonotary Warbler.  He was co-advised by Rodney Dyer and Cathy Viverette. Matt is currently a PhD student under Dr. Ruegg at CSU.


Jessie Reese (MS graduated May 2017, Biology)
Her thesis assessed variation in feather stable Hydrogen isotopes in the wetland-associated Prothonotary Warbler and assessed the degree of migratory connectivity in this species.  Jessie is currently a Habitat Coordinator with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.


Jenna in canoe

Jenna Dodson (MS, graduated July 2015, ENVS) Her thesis assessed how spatial and temporal variation in food availability overlap with PROW breeding and influence nestling growth rate . Since graduating, Jenna worked as a Peace Corp volunteer in Senegal and as a research associate at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.  She is now a PhD student at West Virginia University.


Nik Pic for website

Nik Moy’s (MS, gradated July 2015, BIOL) His thesis assessed the lateral transport of the algal toxin microcystin into the riparian food web.  He specifically assessed mayflies, tetragnath spiders, and PROWs of varying age.  Nik was co-advised by Paul Bukaveckas.
Since graduating, Nik worked for Natureserve. and is now a Conservation Science Program Manager at the National Parks Conservation Association.




Dan with GWWA
Dan Albrecht-Mallinger’s (MS, graduated May 2014, BIOL) thesis assessed the role of conspecific attraction in this low density population of GWWAs.  Dan is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Environmental Studies at VCU.



Anna Tucker MS (graduated May 2014, BIOL) assessed the occurrence and consequences of conspecific brood parasitism in the PROW.  Anna was co-advised by Rodney Dyer. Anna recently graduated with her PhD from Auburn University and is an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University and the Iowa Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit.


Previous Undergraduate students:


Valerie Galati was an undergraduate at the University of Richmond and studied geographic variation in crown plumage of golden-winged and blue-winged warblers.  She is also interested in modeling hybrid dynamics.


Zack Grasso was a post-baccalaureate student and birder/naturalist who has carried out breeding season surveys for Golden-winged Warblers in 2018 and 2019 across several counties in SW Virginia.





Brooke Goodnow was a post-baccalaureate student and New England transplant. With UROP and Environmental Scholars grants awarded in 2017, Brooke studied the impact of climate change and varying spring phenology on Eastern Bluebirds. She is now in Vet School.




Miran Foster was an Environmental Studies (ENVS) student who worked on the PROW crew in 2013 and 2014.  Both years they earned VCU HSURP fellowships. Miran is a coauthor on a paper that assessed the role of female plumage color in PROW – see publication page!



ethan cox picAshley2Ethan Cox was a Biology Major and Ashley Gruppenhoff was a ENVS major and both worked on the PROW project during the 2014 field season.  Ashley also did a senior thesis assessing factors that influence annual variation in PROW reproduction.



Hannah with CACH


Hannah Huddle was a VCU art student who worked on the PROW project during the 2014 field season.  Check out the cool zine she created as part of a UROP fellowship.




Wyatt Carpenter was a Environmental Studies and Urban Planning student at VCU and worked on the PROW project during the 2013 field season.  He now works for the VCU Sustainability office.

Sam Kay


Samantha Kay worked on the PROW project in 2012 and is now a Masters student at Columbia University studying Conservation Biology.



Ryan banding in Panama


Ryan Weaver was active in several aspects of the Bulluck lab, especially in feather reflectance analysis from Panama birds.  He is now a PhD student working with Dr. Hill at Auburn University studying coloration and carotenoids.



Catie Porro Ben DukeCatie Porro and Ben Duke were VCU students and field technicians in the Golden-winged Warbler 2013 field season.



Alice Besterman worked with the PROW project in 2011 and 2012 where she assessed caterpillar abundance using frass fall.  She earned a PhD student at the University of Virginia working with Dr. Pace in the Department of Environmental Sciences and is now a postdoc at the Woodwell Climate Research Center.




Laurel Schablein worked on the PROW project in 2011 where she assessed nestling diet.  She also worked on the GWWA project in 2012. She is now a Conservation Coordinator with The Nature Conservancy in the Allegheny Highlands Program.





Nyla Khan worked on the PROW project in 2010 and was the first undergraduate to delve into feather coloration in my lab.