Steven Gurney

Steven Gurney

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M.S. Student
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife


Major Advisor

Dr. Sonja Christensen

In 2018, Steven earned his B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University (MSU) and was awarded the designation of Certified Associate Wildlife Biologist®. During his years as an undergraduate, Steven was an active lab member with The Boone & Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center. His undergraduate research focused on black bear behavior and its influence on hair snaring efficiency—and culminated in a first-authorship publication. Steven’s past experiences have revolved around both carnivores and ungulates, and his work as a wildlife professional has taken him all across Michigan. Some of his past experiences include wildlife disease surveillance in southern Michigan, black bear population monitoring in the northern Lower Peninsula, predator-prey research in the Upper Peninsula, science outreach in downtown Ann Arbor, and white-tailed deer movement and population monitoring in central-Michigan. In the years between his undergraduate and graduate studies, Steven has taken on leadership roles and his experiences have revolved exclusively around white-tailed deer.

Today, Steven is back at MSU for graduate school where he is a proud member of The Christensen Lab. Prior to becoming a graduate student, Steven worked as a field technician for two seasons collecting trail-camera data that will be used for his thesis. His current research is focused on evaluating deer population parameter estimates and implications for chronic wasting disease management. To accomplish this, he is working collaboratively with The Christensen Lab, The Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Information gained from this study will advance the understanding of ecological processes and provide managers with the insights necessary to improve wildlife conservation and management.

As a scientist, Steven is broadly interested in the ecology, behavior, and management of large game species—with special interests in population ecology, disease ecology, and non-invasive methodologies. He aspires to one day become a state Wildlife Biologist and work at the nexus of conservation science and policy. Steven’s overarching career goal is to be an effective wildlife professional and make meaningful contributions to science and conservation.