The Team

Justine Smith, PI

Justine joined the Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology department at UC Davis in January 2020. Her research interests include predator-prey interactions, movement behavior, foraging ecology, wildlife restoration, and human-wildlife interactions.

EDUCATION

University of California, Berkeley Postdoctoral Scholar
University of California, Santa Cruz PhD: Environmental Studies
University of Colorado, Boulder BA: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology

CONTACT

justinesmith (at) ucdavis.edu



Ellie Bolas, PhD student

Co-advisor: John Benson, University of Nebraska

Ellie’s research interests include species interactions such as competition and predation, wildlife movement and habitat use, interactions between wildlife and humans, and island ecology. Her PhD research is in partnership with the National Park Service at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and examines mule deer behavior, spatial ecology, and predator-prey interactions with mountain lions relative to wildfire, human activity, and human development in the greater Los Angeles area. Her master’s research took place on the California Channel Islands. She investigated appropriate methods for monitoring island spotted skunks, and evaluated microhabitat associations and temporal activity by island spotted skunks and island foxes that may facilitate coexistence between the two. Outside of research, Ellie engages in initiatives to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and science.

EDUCATION

University of California, Davis  MS: Ecology 
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  BA: Environmental Studies, Religious Studies

CONTACT

ebolas (at) ucdavis.edu



Olivia Feldman, PhD student

Olivia is interested in how wildlife, livestock and people interact in working landscapes, and how these dynamics shape human-wildlife conflict. Having grown up and worked in several countries in Latin America and South Asia where people, livestock and wildlife live alongside each other, Olivia is passionate about integrating people into the study of ecological interactions to improve conservation outcomes for both. Olivia is partnered with Rewilding Argentina (RA), and her doctoral research focuses on investigating mechanisms that drive conflict between sheep ranchers and wildlife in the Patagonia region of Argentina, using puma and guanaco collar data, camera trap data and planned experiments in the field. In her work with Rewilding Argentina, Olivia will work closely with other with other scientists (both American and Argentine), ranchers and local communities to promote human-wildlife coexistence and well-being in a recovering Patagonian landscape. Outside of her research, Olivia is passionate about making conservation science more inclusive and collaborative, especially when it is international.

EDUCATION

Johns Hopkins University  MS: Environmental Studies 
University of Virginia  BA: Foreign Affairs

CONTACT

ofeldman (at) ucdavis.edu

Emily Leonhardt, MS student

Emily’s research interests revolve around topics relevant to wildlife management and conservation, particularly wildlife space use and movement ecology.  In collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, she will be studying mule deer migration in the Sierra Nevada with a focus on behavioral plasticity and conservation prioritization.

EDUCATION

University of Montana BS: Wildlife Biology, BA: Math 

CONTACT

eleonhardt (at) ucdavis.edu