Graduate Students

Bear Trust believes in science-based education at all levels.  To this aim, we have expanded our education emphasis to include partnerships with graduate students.

Current Reseach Graduate Students

Jarod Raithel, PhD student at Utah State University, is leading research efforts to link bear demography with bear behavior using a long-term data set on black bears provided by New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.  Dr. Lise Aubry (Utah State University) is PI, and Dr. Melissa Reynolds-Hogland (Bear Trust International) is Co-PI.

A little bit about Jarod: “I have had the privilege of contributing to a number of research efforts undertaken by dedicated conservation biologists across a diversity of ecosystems. Underlying all of those ecological questions is my fundamental interest in developing mathematical models which predict how wildlife populations change over time and across space.  As a population ecologist, I regard modeling as an essential tool to aid in the conservation and management of animal populations.  I also have a background in public secondary science education, and am deeply committed to developing real-world, science-based curricula that educates students about curbing the current loss of biological diversity.

I am now focusing on the analysis of a 30+ year data set collected on NJ black bears beginning in 1981.  Our overarching research objective is to construct a matrix population model which incorporates bear demography (survival, fecundity, recruitment and dispersal), behavior (e.g., urban vs. forest dependence) and resource selection to quantify the effects of habitat availability and use on short and long-term population dynamics.

I received my MS in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana in 2005, and my BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University in 2001.  In the Blackfoot Valley MT, my crew radio-marked 121 newborn calf elk and 28 cows over 3 years to model the influence of calf survival and pregnancy rates on elk population growth.  I have also conducted field work on: the repatriation of the Louisiana black bear; wolf-deer predator prey dynamics in Southeast Alaska; the identification of stop-overs during pintail duck spring migration in California and Oregon; and the evolution of sexual size dimorphism in extinct, massive, flightless ducks from the Hawaiian Islands.  Additionally, over the past seven years, I have taught a number of science courses to 7-12th graders including Advanced Placement Biology, Physics, Hawaiian Flora and Fauna, and Anatomy and Physiology in middle and high schools ranging from South Texas to Maui, Hawaii.

When not in the field or the lab I enjoy spending time with my wife and young son and as much time in the water as possible.  I am a certified PADI Divemaster.  My wife and I spent 2008-09 in Thailand where we assisted in opening a small ecolodge ( and I served as a Reef Check Team Scientist.








Project Initiatives

Bear trust focuses on 4 primary project initiatives:

  1. Conservation Education
  2. Bear Research & Management
  3. Habitat Conservation
  4. Conservation Policy

Contact Info

PO Box 10850
Bozeman, MT 59719
Phone: (406) 523-7779