Dr. Porter’s research explores the behavior of wildlife populations, emphasizing the application of ecological knowledge to promoting the conservation of wildlife. Studies are conducted within the context of training students as wildlife biologists and leaders in conservation. Most of the research focuses on larger vertebrates and questions range from the influence of social behavior on population management, to the merits of satellite imagery in understanding the landscape ecology of wildlife, to the factors determining the potential for populations to support regulated harvest. Students completing graduate programs become proficient with field biology, computer analysis, communication, and leadership.


Current Research

  • Population dynamics and management of wild turkeys in Michigan: linking monitoring, assessment, and harvest-policy evaluation. Division of Wildlife, Michigan Department of Natural Resources. With A. Stewart and D. Luukonnen.

  • Landscape ecology of trophy white-tailed deer in the upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes region.  Sponsor: Michigan Department of Natural Resources. With D. Williams.

  • Role of top-down, regional management to create sustainable systems that promote biotic integrity and vibrant human economies. Sponsor: Boone and Crockett Endowment, Michigan State University.

  • Spatially-explicit capture-recapture estimation of black bear abundance in Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula. Sponsor: Michigan Department of Natural Resources. With D. Williams.

  • Local-scale assessment and monitoring of deer populations following a major mortality. Sponsor: Michigan Department of Natural Resources. With D. Williams and B. Rudolph.

  • Facilitating urban-suburban deer management in Michigan: social, spatial, and population considerations. Sponsor: Michigan Department of Natural Resources. With S. Riley, K. Scribner, A. Dechen Quinn, D. Williams and B. Rudolph. 

  • Regional strategies for harvest management based on landscape-scale habitat and weather effects on wild turkey populations. Sponsor: National Wild Turkey Federation, New York State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. With B. Swift.
  • Landscape-level population dynamics of wild turkeys in the upper Midwestern US. Midwest Wild Turkey Consortium. Sponsor: Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. With A. Stewart.