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Horticulture and Natural Resources

Adam Ahlers

Adam AhlersAssistant Professor of Wildlife & Outdoors Management
Office: 1606 Throckmorton

785-532-6949 fax

Area(s) of Specialization:
Wildlife & Outdoors Management

Website: http://www.ahlerswildlifelab.com/

View My Curriculum Vitae

Bio Brief

Adam Ahlers was born and raised in Northeast Nebraska. His non-traditional career path has allowed him to work a variety of different positions before happily settling into academia. While living in Nebraska, he worked on several farms and ranches and was a habitat technician and supervisor in two Natural Resources Districts. He was an active duty paratrooper in the United States Army (101st Airborne Division) and a member of the Army National Guard. After his service in the U.S. Army, Adam moved to Illinois where he studied semiaquatic mammals with the Illinois Natural History Survey and University of Illinois. Most of Adam's free time is spent with his wife and two daughters exploring the Flint Hills of Kansas or hunting pheasants, grouse, and waterfowl in the Central Flyway.  


A.A., Liberal Arts, Northeast Community College (Norfolk, NE), 1998
B.S., Biological Sciences, Eastern Illinois University (Charleston, IL), 2007
M.S., Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois (Urbana, IL), 2010
Ph.D., Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois (Urbana, IL), 2015  

Area of Emphasis

Adam's research is focused on adaptive management of wildlife populations and their habitats. He is particularly interested in how environmental change structures wildlife communities and how these changes also affect population demographics (e.g., survival, population growth). Adam's research lab is currently investigating how active management of invasive hybrid cattails (T. x glauca) affect the distribution of semiaquatic mammals and shore birds in the boundary waters of Minnesota, USA. Additionally, his lab is testing hypotheses related to how carnivore populations and communities respond to land-use change in the Flint Hills ecoregion of Kansas. 

Recent Publications

Ahlers AA. 2019. Watercolors and waterfowl: enhancing student learning of waterfowl identification skills. Natural Sciences Education. In Press.

Magle SB, Fidino M, Lehrer EW, Gallo T, Rios MJ, Mulligan MP, Ahlers AA, Angstmann J, Salsbury C, Ryan T, Hartley L, Schell C, Gramza A, Belaire A, Dugelby B, Simon K, Drake D, Sander H, and MacDougall B. In Press. Advancing urban wildlife research through a multi-city collaboration. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Becker TA, Ahlers AA, Hesting S, and Haukos DA. 2018. Spatiotemporal distribution of waterfowl disease outbreaks in Kansas. The Prairie Naturalist 50: 4-14.

Wait KR, Ricketts AW, and Ahlers AA. 2018. Land-use change structures carnivore communities in remaining tallgrass prairie. Journal of Wildlife Management 82: 1491-1502.

Wesche SL, O'Neal BJ, Windels SK, Olson BT, Larreur M, and Ahlers AA. 2018. Influence of invasive hybrid cattails on habitat use by common loons. Wildlife Society Bulletin 42: 166-171.

Ahlers AA and Heske EJ. 2017. Empirical evidence for declines in muskrat populations across the United States. Journal of Wildlife Management 81: 1408-1416.

Miller CA and Ahlers AA. 2017. Where does the money go? Awareness of federal duck stamp fund expenditures among Illinois waterfowl hunters. Dimensions of Wildlife 22: 291-294.

Sharp RL and Ahlers AA. 2017. Undergraduates' understanding of agricultural impacts on wildlife: a case for wildlife conservation education. Natural Sciences Education 46: 1-5. DOI: 10.4195/nse2016.11.0030.

Ahlers AA, Miller CA, and Heske EJ. 2016. Economic influences on trapper participation and per capita harvest of muskrats. Wildlife Society Bulletin 40: 548-553.

Heske EJ and Ahlers AA. 2016. Raccoon (Procyon lotor) activity is predicted better by availability of water than by land cover in a moderately fragmented landscape. Northeastern Naturalist 23: 352-363.

Ahlers AA, Heske EJ, and Schooley RL. 2016. Prey distribution, potential landscape supplementation, and urbanization affect occupancy dynamics of American mink in streams. Landscape Ecology 31:1601-1613.

Ahlers AA, Cotner LA, Wolff PJ, Mitchell MA, Heske EJ, and Schooley RL. 2015. Summer precipitation predicts the spatial distribution of semiaquatic mammals. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135036.

Fischer JD, Schneider SH, Ahlers AA, and Miller JR. 2015. Categorizing wildlife responses to urbanization and conservation implications of terminology. Conservation Biology 29: 1246-1248.

Ahlers AA, Mitchell MA, Dubey JP, Schooley RL, and Heske EJ. 2015. Risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii exposure in semiaquatic mammals in a freshwater ecosystem. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 51: 488-492.

Recent Extension/Outreach Publications

Hiller T and Ahlers AA. 2019. The past, present and future of furbearer trapping. The Wildlife Professional. In Press.

Ahlers AA. 2019. My best worst bow hunt. Kansas! Outdoors. February Issue: 48-49.

Larson LR, Stayton B, Sharp RL, Ahlers AA, and Downer B. 2017. Turning college students on to hunting: why campuses are ideal targets for R3 efforts. The Wildlife Professional 11: 44-46.

Stayton B, Larson LR, Sharp RL, Ahlers AA, and Downer B. 2017. Colleges and universities: prime habitat for hunter recruitment and retention? In Responsive Management & National Shooting Sports Foundation (Eds.), Hunting, Fishing, Sport Shooting, and Archery Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation: A Practitioner's Guide (pp. 441-444). Harrisonburg, VA: Responsive Management.

Ahlers AA. 2016. Knowledge is the most effective tool of our trade. North American Gamebird Association News (Focus on Education). November/December.

Ahlers AA. 2016. The science behind predator management. North American Gamebird Association News (Focus on Education). September/October. 14-16.

Ahlers AA. 2016. Mentoring the next generation of outdoor entrepreneurs. North American Gamebird Association News (Focus on Education). July/August. 22-23.

Ahlers AA. 2016. Teaching millennials to carry on our outdoor traditions. North American Gamebird Association News (Focus on Education). May/June. 22-23.

Ahlers AA, Wolff PA, Schooley RL, and Heske EJ. Think mink. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Reports. No. 412.

Graduate Students

Caleb Bomske
Ph.D., Horticulture and Natural Resources
Thesis topic:

Max Larreur
M.S., Horticulture and Natural Resources
Thesis topic: Quantifying the effects of invasive hybrid cattail expansions on native wildlife communities.

Ben Matykiewicz
M.S. in Horticulture and Natural Resources
Thesis topic: Evaluating the effectiveness of muskrats as a native biological control for invasive hybrid cattails.

Kyle Wait
M.S., Horticulture and Natural Resources
Thesis topic: Does intraguild competition, prey availability, or landscape composition structure carnivore populations across urban-rural habitat gradients?

Ty Werdel
Ph.D., Horticulture and Natural Resources
Thesis topic: Assessing changes in the spatial distribution of swift fox in western Kansas.


WOEM 350, Flora and Fauna of The Great Plains (3 credit hours; Fall)
WOEM 595, Senior Seminar (1 credit hour; Fall and Spring)
WOEM 555, Big Game Management (3 credit hours; Spring)
WOEM 561, Wetlands and Waterfowl Management (3 credit hours; Fall)
WOEM 560, Upland Gamebird Management (3 credit hours; Spring)
WOEM 250, Introduction to WOEM (1 credit hour; Fall)
WOEM 201, Firearms, Cartridges & Ballistics (1 credit hour; Fall)
WOEM 202, Rifle & Handgun Range Design, Construction & Operations (1 credit hour; Fall)
WOEM 203, Bowhunting Equipment and Skills (1 credit hour; Spring)