Russell Benford, Ph.D.
Russell Benford is a behavioral ecologist interested in
the conservation and management of terrestrial wildlife species. He uses
observational and molecular techniques to better understand the
dispersal and migratory habits, landscape and habitat use, genetic
structure, and social organization of free-living birds and mammals. He
and his students currently study a variety of imperiled island endemic
species in the western Pacific. His research group is particularly
interested in the causes of decline and the genetic integrity of
geographically isolated populations affected by human activity. They use
information from their research to inform management and conservation
strategies. Russell Benford holds dual positions: Assistant
Research Professor, NAU, and Supervisory Wildlife Biologist,
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. He is the Program Director of NAU’s Field School in Conservation
Ecology and the primary instructor of Conservation and Management of
Imperiled Species (BIO 468).
Neil Cobb is an ecologist interested in arthropod biodiversity and the
processes that mediate biodiversity, particularly the effects of climate
change. As the Curator of the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod
Biodiversity, Dr. Cobb coordinates arthropod surveys and inventories throughout
the Southwest and beyond. His work also involves a variety of ecological
studies to examine changes in biodiversity resulting from climate and land-use
change, invasive species, and other processes. Dr. Cobb’s specific interests in
the Northern Mariana Islands Program are to conduct arthropod biodiversity
surveys and create a reference collection for the islands, mentor students in
biodiversity studies, and examine the impact of invasive species on native
species. Dr. Cobb is also the Director for the Merriam-Powell Center for
Environmental Research, supervising its day-to-day operations, including
administrative activities and strategic planning. As an Associate Research
Professor, Dr. Cobb teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in entomology
Nashelly Meneses, Ph.D.
Nashelly Meneses is a molecular ecologist interested in
how plant-animal interactions change over ecological gradients. Dr.
Meneses is the multilingual Program Coordinator who has experience
working in adverse conditions in underdeveloped countries. She is the primary Instructor for the
Internship in Conservation Ecology (BIO 485).
Stephen Shuster, Ph.D.
is a Professor of Invertebrate Zoology at Northern Arizona University, where
his teaching and research interests include animal mating systems, male and
female reproductive strategies, and the genetic population structure of genetic
marine organisms. Dr. Shuster’s primary research goals are to understand (1) the
genetic and environmental basis for the expression of sexual phenotype, (2) how
selection can be measured in nature, (3) how mating systems and alternative
mating strategies evolve, and (4) how genetic variation and biodiversity are
maintained in natural populations. Dr. Shuster has served as the primary
instructor for the Northern Mariana Islands Program’s Island Demography and
Dynamics course (BIO 467), teaching students about intertidal ecology,
population biology, and quantitative biology, and is a research mentor (BIO