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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Student Directory

Jennifer Fill

Degree Program: Integrative Biology
Room: CLS 706
Major Professor: Dr. Timothy Mousseau

I received my B.S. in Biology and a minor in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2009. After graduation I spent six weeks as an intern in China researching the effects of environmental restoration on pastoralist livelihoods, and six months as an intern in Australia. There I researched the diet of amethystine and carpet pythons, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, and discovered my favorite activity of all time, night spotlighting in the rainforest! I have broad interests in ecosystem science and landscape ecology, especially the relationships between organisms, their environment, and the processes shaping these interactions. A major goal of my research pursuits is to obtain information that will be useful to natural resource and wildlife management. Within this framework I have a particular love for both snakes and fire ecology. Though they seem unrelated, these obsessions of mine are blended together in my study of ecological integrity in the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem. Fire is an important process that maintains longleaf pine savannas and woodlands, allowing endemic plant and animal species (e.g., Crotalus adamanteus, Aristida beyrichiana) to persist. Therefore my doctoral research centered upon aspects of longleaf pine ecosystem and fire ecology that are relevant to conservation and management in the southeast.


I defended my dissertation in November 2014 and will receive my doctoral degree in May 2015.  I have received a 2-year fellowship to Stellenbosch University, South Africa,  to study ecological restoration in fynbos ecosystems.

Publications (peer reviewed):

Fill, J. M., J. L. Waldron, S. M. Welch, and T. A. Mousseau. Submitted. Eastern diamondback rattlesnake habitat selection in the southeast Coastal Plain tidewater region. Oecologia.

Fill, J. M., J. L.Waldron, S. M. Welch, M. Martin, J. Cantrell, S. H. Bennett, W. Kalinowsky, J. Holloway, and T. A. Mousseau. Accepted. Breeding and reproductive phenology of the Eastern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) in South Carolina. Accepted. Journal of Herpetology.

Fill, J. M., S. M. Welch, H. Brown, J. L.Waldron, A. S. Weakley, and T. A. Mousseau. Accepted. Life history correlates of plant endemism in longleaf pine ecosystems. Southeastern Naturalist.

Fill, J., A. Freeman, G. Story, and T. Curran. 2013. Predation of the cryptic rainforest rodent (Pogonomys sp.) by a carpet python (Morelia spilota). Australian Mammalogy. 

Fill, J.M., S.M. Welch, J.L. Waldron, and T.A. Mousseau. 2012. The reproductive response of an endemic bunchgrass indicates historical timing of a keystone process. Ecosphere 3(7): 61.

Fill, J., P. McBride, A.J. Powell, L.K. Shanahan, J.R. Stark, A.B. Freeman, and T.J. Curran. 2012. Diet of Amethystine (Morelia kinghorni) and Carpet Pythons (Morelia spilota) in North Queensland, Australia. Herpetological Review 43(1): 30-34.

Klug, P.E., J. Fill, and K.A. With. 2011. Spatial ecology of Eastern Yellow-Bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor flaviventris) and Great Plains Rat Snake (Pantherophis emoryi) in a contiguous tallgrass prairie landscape.  Herpetologica 67(4): 428-439.

Fill, J., P. Klug, and B.K. Sandercock.  2009.  The influence of habitat variation on snake body temperature and behavior on Konza Prairie. Integrative and Comparative Biology 49:E55 (abstract).


Podium presentations

Fill, J. M., J. L. Waldron, S. M. Welch, and T. A. Mousseau (2014). Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) habitat selection in the southeast Coastal Plain tidewater region.  Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, July 30-August 3, 2014. Chattanooga, TN

Fill, J. M., J. L. Waldron, S. M. Welch, and T. A. Mousseau (2013). Ghost hunting: Using eastern diamondback rattlesnake space use to explore the past and present.  Presented at the South Carolina Arc Users Conference. February 11-12, Columbia, SC.  Presented at the University of South Carolina Graduate Student Day. April 12, Columbia, SC.

Fill, J. M., S. M. Welch, J. L. Waldron, and T. A. Mousseau (2011). Historical drivers of anthropogenic landscape change in pine savannas of the southeastern United States. Presented at the British Ecological Society Annual Symposium. March 28-30, Cambridge, UK.

Fill, J., P. Klug and B. Sandercock (2008). The Influence of Habitat Variation on Snake Body Temperature and Behavior on Konza Prairie. Presented at the REU Research Symposium on Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of the Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem, Manhattan, KS. Presented at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting. January 3-7, 2009. Boston, MA

Fill, J. and L. Brin (2007). Nitrogen Retention in Chronically Enriched Salt Marsh Plots. Presented at The Young Scientist Symposium. Woods Hole, MA.  Presented at the Student Research Symposium, Smith College, MA.


Poster presentations

Fill, J. M., S. Welch, J. Waldron, and T. Mousseau. (2013). Influence of Fire and Disturbance on Species Richness of Breeding Anurans in Isolated Wetlands. Fifth World Conference on Ecological Restoration, Wisconsin, USA.

Fill, J. M., J. Waldron, M. Martin, S. Welch, T. Mousseau, S. Bennett, and J. Holloway. (2012). Breeding and Reproductive Phenology of the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus). World Congress of Herpetology, Vancouver, BC, Canada.