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by Brian Ledwell last modified Mar 25, 2020 01:39 PM

M. Elsbeth (Misty) McPhee 

Craz professor!Associate Prof Environmental Studies and Biology      

3448 Sage Hall

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Oshkosh, WI 54901



Click to view my calendar and CV



My research

 Long-term maintenance of captive populations, and release of captive animals into the wild, is one of many approaches to endangered species conservation. For conservation biologists working with captive populations, however, a fundamental question is: How has captivity altered the behavior, morphology, and physiology of captive-bred animals? Broadly, I am interested in how populations respond to rapid changes in their environment. Specifically, I have focused on this question of how animals respond when they are brought into captivity and when, generations later, captive-bred individuals are released back into the wild. Altered selective pressures and increased stress levels are often associated with novel captive environments thus potentially changing the expression and distribution of behavioral, physiological, and morphological traits. Such changes can have profound effects on the success of conservation programs that use captive-bred animals.  Currently, I am working with the reintroduction of whooping cranes into central Wisconsin to establish an Eastern Migratory Population of these endangered birds.  

Prior to working with cranes, I used meadow voles as a model system to measure how captivity altered behavior in captive animals.  For a short video on this work, go to




Introduction to Environmental Issues (ES 101)

Environmental Science (ES 260)

Principles of Wildlife Management (ES/Bio 314/514)

Wildlife Behavior and Conservation (ES/Bio 318/518)

Science of Sustainable Food (ES 312)

Approaches to Resource Management in Tropical Ecosystems in Belize (ES 396)

Environmental Studies Senior Seminar (ES 490)


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by Brian Ledwell last modified Mar 25, 2020 01:39 PM