Gompper Lab - Home & News

Greetings! The Gompper Lab in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri is broadly interested in fundamental and applied questions associated with vertebrate ecology and biodiversity conservation. Our research and teaching focuses on themes such as animal disease ecology, the ecology and conservation of mammals, and the ecology of free-ranging domestic animals. These themes often bridge one another. Our work combines data from field experiments and natural history observations, from laboratory analyses that may include molecular ecology, macroparasite identification, and serological assessments, and from statistical and mathematical approaches to facilitate predicting outcomes.


March 29, 2019

Nice to see several new papers come to fruition! Harith Al-Warid's work on visceral leishmaniasis in Iraq is out in Tropical Biomedicine and the first paper from Rukhsana Khatoon's PhD work with the carnivores of Murree, Kotli Sattian and Kahuta National Park, Pakistan is out in Mammal Research.

January 23, 2019

What a year 2018 was! We had great visits from Rukhsana Khatoon (leopards!) and Daiana Polli (giant anteaters!). Lauren Toivonen defended a great thesis (red wolves!). Summer Higdon spent time in Brazil (tayras!). What will 2019 bring? It brings Dr. Rita Bianchi from the Universidade Estadual Paulista "Júlio de Mesquita Filho"! Rita will spend a year with us as a visiting scholar. Welcome Rita!

December 23, 2018

A great way to wrap up a year is to squeeze a study-abroad planning trip in between finals and Christmas. Spent the past 2 weeks with Drs. Nilon & Weegman planning a South Africa - Swaziland program to start in late 2019 or early 2020. Stay tuned!


November 15, 2018

What is the Thanksgiving holiday without desserts? The Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Graduate Student Organization bake sale is more than just a bake sake - its an opportunity for lab greatness! This year the Gompper lab took home the Cupcake Trophy for raising the most money. We overcame the insidious subliminal advertising of the Weegman lab. Great job (and great snacks)!

November 5, 2018

A great trip to Minneapolis to visit with Gompper lab alum Aniruddha Belsare (University of Idaho), Meghan Mason (St Catherine University) and Claudia Muñoz-Zanzi (University of Minnesota). Four excellent days discussing leptospirosis and working on an agent-based model to understand management outcomes for controlling the pathogen.

October 16, 2018

Another excellent meeting of The Wildlife Society, this time in Cleveland (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!). Summer, Daiana and Matt were able to make the trip. Great to catch up with colleagues new and old. Plus, lots of great spotted skunk talks. Here are the mandatory photos of a presenter from the lab.

September 3, 2018

A new semester brings a new visiting student. Welcome Daiana Polli! Daiana arrives from UNESP, Brazil where she works under Rita Bianchi. Diana will be in Missouri for several months working on her giant anteater foraging ecology data.

April 14, 2018

A warm welcome to Ms. Rukhsana Khatoon, a visiting doctoral student from PMAS-University of Arid Agriculture, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Rukhsana PhD research examines the carnivore community of Murree, Kotli Sattian and Kahuta National Park in Punjab. During her time here she will be working with us and the Eggert Lab to use genetic approaches to better understand the make-up of the community, the diet and distribution of its members, and human-wildlife conflicts in the region.

March 15, 2018

We are looking for several field technicians for our study of feral hog habitat occupancy in the Missouri Ozarks. This link contains the details

February 5, 2018

Congratulations to Summer Higdon for receiving the Missouri Chapter of The Wildlife Society's Graduate Fellowship at the annual Missouri Natural Resources Conference. The fellowship is awarded annually to MU students who are actively involved in The Wildlife Society, and whose work will enhance the future of wildlife in Missouri.

January 22, 2018

Congratulations to John Falco on his competitive selection by MU’s Office of Graduate Studies to attend the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop in Washington, DC in March. The multi-day workshop is designed to enhance graduate student training in, and understanding of, US science and technology policy, the federal budget process and effective science communication.

November 30, 2017

Great to see this volume come out from Oxford University Press. An excellent researcher team put a lot of energy into producing synopses on the biology of the small carnivores. Thanks to David, Chris and Lauren for all their hard work in seeing this through. We have two chapters in the volume - one on coatis (with Ben Hirsch) and one on spotted skunks

November 21, 2017

Do you know what a tayra is? Summer can answer your question! Congratulations to Summer Higdon who has received a Brown Graduate Research Fellowship to visit Dr. Rita Bianchi's research team in Sao Paulo, Brazil to work on a study of tayra habitat ecology based on camera trap data. Here is a beautiful specimen who triggered a selfie several years ago from one of our Pantanal camera traps.

November 16, 2017

Nice job Lauren Toivonen! Lauren presented on Wolves: Social Media vs Real Life at Science on Tap CoMo. A great presentation (and if you poke around on their Facebook site you can watch the talk) at the Craft Beer Cellar on 9th Street in Columbia. Science on Tap is a great monthly outreach program that focuses on stimulating public engagement in science and technology, while offering STEM graduate students an opportunity to improve communication skills.

October 1, 2017

Another productive meeting of The Wildlife Society, this time in Albuquerque. Great presentations by current and former students (Aniruddha Belsare, Summer Higdon, Damon Lesmeister) and by undergrads Jena Staggs and Rachel Williams who presented an update on their carnivore grassland study.

September 23, 2017

Prior to the MU-Auburn football game (blowout), a discussion of MU's and Auburn's potential roles in tiger conservation took place. Both schools look to take on students to conduct tiger research next year. Among the attendees pictured below: Gompper, Carolyn Henry (Interim Dean, MU College of Veterinary Medicine), Garnett Stokes (MU Provost), Bruce Loewenberg (MU Alum and Tigers for Tigers Champion and Benefactor), Shannon McKinley (MU Student and President, Mizzou Tigers for Tigers), Timothy Boosinger (Auburn Provost) and Shibu Jose (Director, MU School of Natural Resources).

July 30, 2017

Nice article touching on our tiger work and the role of MU and other academic institutions in tiger conservation.

July 5, 2017

We're looking for a postdoc to work on bat - WNS issues. Please see the Post-doctoral Research page

June 23 2017

After eight (maybe more?) years here as a doctoral student and then as a postdoc, Dr. Aniruddha Belsare moves on this week to take up a position at the University of Idaho's Center for Modeling Complex Interactions. Good luck Aniruddha!

June 10 2017

Two new papers on leptospirosis and on raccoon roundworm published in the past two weeks.

May 14 2017

Congratulations to Abby Williams who completed her undergraduate degree! Abby is heading to the Marine Biology MS program at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi.

May 5 2017

Welcome Sal Shaw and Rachel Williams as undergraduate researchers. Sal will be working with Summer Higdon on the Arkansas Spotted Skunk Project. Rachel will team up with Jena Staggs to continue work on the Prairie Fork Carnivore Community Project.

May 3 2017

It has been a busy few weeks for research presentations. Members of the lab presented nine posters at the University of Missouri’s Life Sciences Week, at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum, and at the School of Natural Resources Research Day.


April 30 2017

Check out Matt’s op-ed on the value of a scientific perspective in today’s Columbia Tribune.