Kathy Zeller

Research Biologist


Email: katherine.zeller@usda.gov
Phone: (406) 542-4197
Fax: (406) 542-4196

790 East Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, Montana 59801

FS RITS Profile


Ph.D., Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, 2016 -- University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Dissertation: Evaluating resistance surfaces for modeling wildlife movement and connectivity.
M.S., Environmental Studies, 2003 -- University of Montana, Missoula, MT. Thesis: Using the Jaguar (Panthera onca) for Biodiversity Conservation Planning in Central America.
B.S., Biology, 1997 -- Tufts University, Medford, MA.


Kathy has over 15 years of experience as a spatial ecologist. Her research integrates the fields of landscape ecology, wildlife biology, landscape genetics, and biostatistics to conduct quantitative analyses on wildlife populations and ecosystems. It was during Kathy’s first field job in the vast wildlands of Alaska, when she became inspired to work to maintain wild places and the unique resources and benefits they confer. Since this time, Kathy’s research has focused on understanding and quantifying how patterns and processes of human-driven disturbance and climate change affect wildlife populations and large ecological networks. Kathy is particularly interested in modeling connectivity within and among protected lands and in providing spatial products and decision-support tools that are useful to managers and stakeholders.

To learn more about Kathy's research, visit her Research Information Tracking System page on the USDA FS website.


Zeller, K.A., R. Lewison, R.J. Fletcher, M.G. Tulbure, M.K. Jennings. 2020. Understanding the importance of dynamic landscape connectivity. LAND. 9(9), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090303

Jennings, M.K., K.A. Zeller, R. Lewison. 2020. Retrofitting existing protected area networks with connectivity. LAND.  9(9), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9090295

Zeller, K.A., D.W. Wattles, L. Conlee, S. DeStefano. 2020. Response of female black bears to a high-density road network and identification of long-term road mitigation sites. Animal Conservation. DOI:10.1111/acv.12621

Zeller, K.A., D.W. Wattles, J. Bauder, S. DeStefano. 2020. Forecasting seasonal connectivity in a developing landscape. LAND. 9(7), 223. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9070233

Zeller, K.A., D.W. Wattles, S. DeStefano. 2020. Evaluating methods for identifying large mammal road crossing locations: Black bears as a case study. Landscape Ecology 35: 1799-1808. Doi: 10.1007/s10980-020-01057-x

Bosco, L., S.A. Cushman, H.Y. Wan, K.A. Zeller, R. Arlettaz, A. Jacot. 2020. Fragmentation effects on woodlark habitat selection depend on habitat amount and spatial scale. Animal Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12604

Zeller, K.A., D.W. Wattles, L. Conlee, S. DeStefano. 2019. American black bears (Ursus americanus) alter movements in response to anthropogenic features with time of day and season. Movement Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40462-019-0166-4

Zeller, K.A., D.W. Wattles, S. DeStefano. 2018. Predicting moose-vehicle collisions in Massachusetts, USA: Incorporating road crossing data into collision risk models. Environmental Management 62: 518-528. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1058-x

Wattles, D.W., K.A. Zeller, S. DeStefano. 2018. Range expansion in unfavorable environments through behavioral adaptation to microclimates: moose (Alces americanus) as the model. Mammalian Biology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2018.05.009

Zeller, K.A., M.K. Jennings, T.W. Vickers, H.B. Ernest, S.A. Cushman, W.M. Boyce. 2018. Are all data types and connectivity models created equal? Validating connectivity approaches with dispersal data. Diversity and Distributions 24: 868-879. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12742

** Paper selected as Editor’s Choice

Jędrzejewski, W., H.S. Robinson, M. Abarca, K.A. Zeller, G. Velasquez, E. Paemelaere, J.F. Goldberg, E. Payan, R. Hoogesteijn, E.O. Boede, K. Schmidt, M. Lampo, A.L. Viloria, R. Carreño, N. Robinnson, P.M. Lukacs, J.J. Nowak, R. Salom-Pérez, F. Castañeda, V. Boron, H. Quigley. 2018. Estimating large carnivore populations at global scale based on spatial predictions of density and distribution – application to the jaguar (Panthera onca). PLoS ONE 13(3): e0194719. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194719

Wattles, D.W., K.A. Zeller, S. DeStefano. 2018. Response of moose to a high-density road network. Journal of Wildlife Management 82: 929-939. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21459

Petracca, L., J. Frair, J. Cohen, A.P. Calderón, J. Carazo-Salazar, F. Castañeda, D. Corrales-Gutiérrez, R. Foster, B. Harmsen, S. Hernández-Potosme, L. Herrera, M. Olmos, S. Pereira, H. Robinson, N. Robinson, R. Salom-Pérez, Y. Urbina, K.A. Zeller, H. Quigley. 2018. Robust inference on large-scale species habitat use using interview data: The status of jaguars outside protected areas in Central America. Journal of Applied Ecology 55: 723-734. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12972

Zeller, K.A., T.W. Vickers, H.B. Ernest, W.M. Boyce. 2017. Multi-level, multi-scale resource selection functions and resistance surfaces for conservation planning: pumas as a case study. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0179570. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179570

Zeller, K.A., K. McGarigal, S.A. Cushman, P. Beier, T.W. Vickers, W.M. Boyce. 2017. Sensitivity of resource selection and connectivity models to landscape definition. Landscape Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-017-0489-8

Olsoy, P.J., K.A. Zeller, J.A. Hicke, H.B. Quigley, A.R. Rabinowitz, D.H. Thornton. 2016. Quantifying the effects of deforestation and fragmentation on a range-wide conservation plan for jaguars. Biological Conservation 203: 8-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2016.08.037

Zeller, K.A., K. McGarigal, P. Beier, S.A. Cushman, T.W. Vickers, W.M. Boyce. 2016. Using step and path selection functions for estimating resistance to movement: pumas as a case study. Landscape Ecology 31: 1319-1335. https://doi.org.10.1007/s10980-015-0301-6

McGarigal, K., K.A. Zeller, S.A. Cushman. 2016. Multi-scale habitat selection modeling:  Introduction to the special issue. Landscape Ecology 31: 1157-1160. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-016-0388-4

McGarigal, K., H.Y. Wan, K.A. Zeller, B.C. Timm, S.A. Cushman. 2016. Multi-scale habitat modeling: A review and outlook. Landscape Ecology 31: 1161-1175. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-016-0374-x

Zeller, K.A., T. G. Creech, K.L. Millette, R.S. Crowhurst, R.A. Long, H.H. Wagner, N. Balkenhol, E.L. Landguth. 2016. Using simulations to evaluate Mantel-based methods for assessing landscape resistance to gene flow. Ecology and Evolution 6 (12): 4115-4128. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2154

Thornton, D., K.A. Zeller, C. Rondinini, L. Boitani, K. Crooks, C. Burdett, H. Quigley. 2016. Assessing the umbrella value of a range-wide conservation network for jaguars (Panthera onca). Ecological Applications 26: 1112-1124. https://doi.org/10.1890/15-0602

Zeller, K.A., K. McGarigal, P. Beier, S.A. Cushman, T.W. Vickers, W.M. Boyce. 2014. ­Sensitivity of landscape resistance estimates based on point selection functions to scale and behavioral state: pumas as a case study. Landscape Ecology 29: 541-557. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-014-9991-4

Zeller, K.A., K. McGarigal, A. Whiteley. 2012. Estimating landscape resistance to movement: A review. Landscape Ecology 27:777-797. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-012-9737-0

Zeller, K.A., S. Nijhawan, J. Hines, R. Salom-Perez, S. Hernandez. 2011. Integrating Site Occupancy Modeling and Interview Data for Identifying Jaguar (Panthera onca) Corridors: A case study from Nicaragua. Biological Conservation 144: 892-901. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2010.12.003

Salom-Pérez, R., J. Polisar, H. Quigley, K.A. Zeller. 2010. Iniciativa del Corredor del Jaguar: Un Corredor Biológico y un Compromiso a Largo Plazo para la Conservación. Mesoamericana 14: 25-34.

Rabinowitz, A., K. A. Zeller. 2010. A Range-wide model of landscape connectivity and conservation for the jaguar, Panthera onca. Biological Conservation 143: 939-945. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2010.01.002