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Horticulture and Natural Resources

Adam A. Ahlers

Adam Ahlers

Associate Professor of Wildlife & Outdoor Management, Undergraduate Programs Director

Wildlife & Outdoor Enterprise Management

Kansas State University
1208A Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506


Biography & Education


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.

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


  • Larson LR, Peterson MN, Von Furstenberg RV, Vayer VR, Jerry Lee K, Choi DY, Stevenson K, Ahlers AA, Anhalt-Depies C, Bethke T, Bruskotter J, Chizinski C, Clark B, Dayer AA, Ghasemi B, Gigliotti L, Graefe A, Irwin K, Keith SJ, Kelly M, Kyle G, Metcalf E, Morse W, Needham MD, Poudyal N, Quartuch M, Rodriguez S, Romulo C, Sharp RL, Siemer W, Springer M, Stayton B, Stedman R, Stein T, Van Deelen T, Whiting J, Winkler RL, and Woosnam KM. In Press. The future of wildlife conservation funding: what options do U.S. college students support? Conservation Science and Practice.
  • Magle SB, Fidino M, Sander HA, Rohnke AT, Larson KL, Gallo T, Kay CAM, Adalsteinsson SA, Ahlers AA, Anthonysamy WJB, Green AM, Jordan MJ, Lewis JS, Long RA, MacDougall B, Pendergast ME, Remine K, Simon KC, St. Clair CC, Shier CJ, Stankowich T, Stevenson CJ, Zellmer AJ, and Schell CJ. In Press. Wealth and urbanization shape medium and large terrestrial mammal communities. Global Change Biology.
  • Ahlers AA, Lyons TP, and Heske EJ. In Press. Population dynamics of muskrats and mink: investigating contemporary patterns in a classic predator-prey system. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 
  • Matykiewicz BR*, Windels SK, Olson BT, Plumb RT, Wolf TM, and Ahlers AA.  2021. Assessing translocation effects on the spatial ecology and survival of muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus). Wildlife Biology 2: 1-11. 
  • Vayer V, Larson LR, Peterson MN, Lee KJ, Von Furstenberg R, Choi D, Stevenson K, Ahlers AA, Anhalt-Depies C, Bruskotter J, Chizinski C, Dayer A, Farmer J, Ghasemi B, Gigliotti L, Graefe A, Irwin K, Keith S, Kelly M, Kyle G, Metcalf E, Morse W, Needham M, Poudyal N, Quartuch M, Rodriguez S, Romulo C, Sharp RL, Siemer W, Springer M, Stedman R, Stein T, Van Deelen T, Whiting J, Winkler R, and Woosnam K. 2021. Diverse university students across the United States reveal promising pathways to hunter recruitment and retention. Journal of Wildlife Management 85: 1017-1030.
  • Aarrestad O, Matykiewicz BR*, Windels SK, Ahlers AA, Olson BT, Rendahl A, Burton E, and Wolf TM. 2021. Baseline physiologic and hematologic health in wild-caught muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) from a near-pristine ecosystem in northern Minnesota. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 52: 698-703.
  • Jackson S, Sharp R, Mailey E, and Ahlers AA. 2021. Exercise and stress levels associated with a visit to Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Parks Stewardship Forum 37: 253-264.
  • Fidino M, Gallo T, Lehrer EW, Murray MH, Kay C, Sander AA, MacDougall B, Salsbury CM, Ryan TJ, Angstmann JL, Belaire JA, Dugelby B, Schell C, Stankowich T, Amaya M, Drake D, Hursh SH, Ahlers AA, Williamson J, Hartley LM, Zellmer AJ, Simon K, and Magle SB. 2021. Landscape-scale differences among cities alter common species’ responses to urbanization. Ecological Applications 31: e02253.
  • Bomske CM* and Ahlers AA. 2021. How do muskrats Ondatra zibethicus affect ecosystems? A review of evidence. Mammal Review 51: 40-50.
  • Bauder JM, Allen ML, Ahlers AA, Benson TJ, Miller CA, and Stodola KW. 2020. Identifying and controlling for variation in canid harvest data. Journal of Wildlife Management 84: 1234-1245.
  • Ahlers AA, Wolf TM, Aarrestad O, Windels SK, Olson BT, Matykiewicz BR*, and Dubey JP. 2020. Survey of Toxoplasma gondii exposure in muskrats in a relatively pristine ecosystem. Journal of Parasitology 106: 346-349.
  • Wait KR and Ahlers AA. 2020. Virginia opossum distributions are influenced by non-native landscapes and water availability. Journal of Mammalogy 101: 216-225. (Corrigendum included on page 318 of same issue)
  • Larreur M, Windels SK, Olson BT, and Ahlers AA. 2020. Cross-scale interactions and non-native cattails affect the spatial distribution of a wetland-obligate species. Landscape Ecology 35: 59-68.
  • Ahlers AA and Miller CA. 2019. Testing waterfowl hunters’ waterfowl identification skills. Wildfowl 69: 206-220.
  • Ahlers AA. 2019. Watercolors and waterfowl: enhancing student learning of waterfowl identification skills. Natural Sciences Education 48: 1-4.
  • Magle SB, Fidino M, Lehrer EW, Gallo T, Rios MJ, Mulligan MP, Ríos MJ, Ahlers AA, Angstmann J, Belaire A, Dugelby B, Gramza A, Hartley L, MacDougall B, Ryan T, Salsbury C, Sander H, Schell C, Simon K, St Onge S, and Drake D. 2019. Advancing urban wildlife research through a multi-city collaboration. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 17: 232-239.
  • 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. Human 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.
  • 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.
  • Schooley RL, Cotner LA, Ahlers AA, Heske EJ, and Levengood JM. 2012. Monitoring site occupancy for American mink in its native range. Journal of Wildlife Management 76: 824-831.
  • Ahlers AA, Mitchell MA, Schooley RL, Heske EJ, and Levengood JM. 2011. Hematologic and blood chemistry reference values for free-ranging riparian muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 47: 685-689.
  • Ahlers AA, Heske EJ, Schooley RL, and Mitchell MA. 2010. Home ranges and space use of muskrats Ondatra zibethicus in restricted linear habitats. Wildlife Biology 16: 400-408.
  • Ahlers AA, Schooley RL, Heske EJ, and Mitchell MA. 2010. Effects of flooding and riparian buffers on survival of muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) across a flashiness gradient. Canadian Journal of Zoology 88: 1011-1020.
Extension/Outreach Publications
  • Ahlers AA. 2020. Using paragraph puzzles to teach scientific writing. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal, Teaching Tips/Notes (https://www.nactateachers.org/images/TeachingTips/TT_2020-0268.pdf)
  • Hiller TL and Ahlers AA. 2019. Trapping’s past, present and future. The Wildlife Professional 13: 28-31.
  • 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 all. North American Gamebird Association News (Focus on Education). November/December. 16-17.
  • 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. 2015. Think mink. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Reports. No. 412.


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.


Caleb Bomske
Ph.D., Horticulture and Natural Resources

Colleen Piper
M.S., Horticulture and Natural Resources

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


  • WOEM 201, Firearms, Cartridges & Ballistics (1 credit hour; Fall)
  • WOEM 202, Rifle & Handgun Range Design, Construction & Operations (1 credit hour; Fall)
  • WOEM 561, Wetlands and Waterfowl Management (3 credit hours; Fall)
  • WOEM 595, Senior Seminar (1 credit hour; Fall and Spring)
  • FOR 741, Scientific Writing (3 credit hours; Spring)