Hunter’s research interests include animal behavior, wildlife-habitat interactions, predator-prey ecology, and applied science to benefit wildlife conservation and management. Hunter joined the Benson Lab in 2020, where he is investigating mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) ecology across gradients in forage productivity, risk, and human disturbance in western Nebraska in an understudied portion of their range. This project focuses on adult females and fawns and aims to understand how anthropogenic landscape change and the recent recolonization of a large carnivore are impacting mule deer movements and space use, resource selection, survival, and mortality risk. He hopes to better understand the different factors potentially limiting mule deer in Nebraska to improve the state agency’s ability to manage this ecologically and economically important species and add to the broader understanding of large herbivore ecology and predator-prey interactions in general. Hunter’s research interests include animal behavior, wildlife-habitat interactions, predator-prey ecology, and applied science to benefit wildlife conservation and management.
Hunter Ellsworth was born in Richmond, Virginia, and discovered his interest in wildlife and passion for outdoor spaces by exploring the diverse landscapes that the Commonwealth had to offer. He attended the University of Virginia where he earned his B.S. in Environmental Sciences in 2013. After a couple of years of technician jobs across a diverse set of wildlife research projects he began his M.S. with Dr. Michael Cherry. His master’s research took place in the Big Cypress Basin in southern Florida, where he studied the effects of disturbance regimes and a restored apex predator on white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) spatial ecology and how variation in antipredator behavior impacts white-tailed deer survival.
MS: Fisheries & Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
BS: Environmental Science, University of Virginia, Richmond, VA