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Prosser Lab Personnel

Current and past members of Diann Prosser’s lab at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Eastern Ecological Science Center.

Current Lab Members:

Dr. Diann J. Prosser examining a ruddy shelduck

Diann Prosser, Research Wildlife Ecologist

Diann Prosser is a research wildlife ecologist at the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center, where she has been working since 1998. Diann's work focuses on understanding the role of wild waterfowl in the persistence, spread, and amplification of avian influenza viruses both in the United States and around the globe. Within the United States, Diann is working on an approach to integrate spatio-temporal data on waterfowl and poultry distributions with information such as species-specific shedding rates and prevalence rates to predict transmission from wild to domestic birds at high resolution. Internationally, Diann continues extensive collaborative efforts to understand how factors such as land use change are impacting transmission risk across Southeast Asia. Diann also conducts efforts aimed at understanding how restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay impact colonial-nesting waterbirds.

Contact Diann: 301-497-5914

Jeff Sullivan
Jeff Sullivan profile photo


Jeffery Sullivan, Biologist

Jeff Sullivan is a biologist at the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center, where he has been working since 2016. He received his Master’s degree in Wildlife Science from Auburn University where he studied the movement ecology of white-tailed deer. At EESC, Jeff’s work primarily focuses on assisting Diann Prosser's research projects including efforts to understand the persistence, spread, and amplification of Avian Influenza in wild waterfowl and domestic poultry. Additionally, Jeff assists with long-term efforts exploring how the development of an environmental restoration site, Poplar Island, impacts colonial-nesting waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay.

Contact Jeff: 301-497-5914


Matthew Gonnerman holding a wild turkey in the snow
This photo shows Matthew Gonnerman holding a wild turkey captured for previous field work exploring turkey ecology.



Matt Gonnerman, Ecologist

Matt Gonnerman is a movement and population ecologist who joined the Prosser lab in September 2022. He previously attended graduate school at Auburn University and the University of Maine where he has studied multiple aspects of wild turkey ecology. This work included efforts to improve monitoring of wild turkey populations as well as to understand how their movement ecology impacts fitness, density, and harvest. As part of a larger collaborative effort, Matt studied impacts of LPDV, among other diseases, on turkey survival and reproduction. As a member of the Prosser lab, Matt studies the spatial dynamics of avian influenza, currently how aspects of the landscape and farming practices may contribute to spillover of AI from wild waterfowl populations into poultry farms.

Shenglai Yin

Shenglai Yin, Post-doc

Shenglai is a disease ecologist and joined the team in July 2022. Shenglai received his Ph.D. at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands and was a post-doc researcher at Nanjing Normal University in China. He studied the potential consequences of habitat loss on waterfowl migration and transmission of the avian influenza virus (AIV) in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) by using an Agent-based model. He also examined the effects of functional and phylogenetic diversities in waterbird communities on the risk of highly pathogenic AIV (HPAIV) occurrence. His current work focuses on using an Agent-based model and Decision-making analysis to explore the persistence of HPAIV in breeding waterfowl populations and testing the potential consequence of rice paddy changes on the HPAIV transmission in EAAF.

White male dark brown hair in front of brick building


Josh Cullen, Post-doc

Josh Cullen is a quantitative ecologist that joined the Prosser Lab in August 2023. He received his PhD in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University studying the ecological roles of sympatric sharks along the coast of Texas. Josh’s current work involves studying the movement ecology of waterfowl in relation to avian influenza and how this may be associated with confirmed introduction events at domestic poultry farms. Josh also collaborates on other projects by applying Bayesian models to address questions on avian influenza in wild birds, as well as population ecology of waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay.

Woman holding a tern in a hat



Catherine Neal, Tern Specialist

Catherine Neal is a research technician at the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center where she assists with efforts to monitor breeding Least and Common Terns on Poplar Island. She received her BS in Marine Science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Her experience extends from work as an avian rehabilitation technician for Save Our Shearwaters on Kauai Island, to international work in the Azores and Brazil. She worked extensively with the Museum of Natural History and the Great Gull Island Project researching Roseate Terns on the largest breeding colony in the NW Atlantic for nearly a decade. 

woman, short brown hair, side profile holding a bird in gloved hand


Johanna Harvey, Post-doc

Johanna has been a post-doc in the Prosser and Mullinax (University of Maryland) labs since April 2022. Johanna is a broadly trained evolutionary ecologist with a focus on wildlife disease ecology, immunogenetics, and conservation and decision science. She received my Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University, completed a postdoctoral position at the University of Connecticut and a Gerstner Scholar Fellowship at the American Museum of Natural History. Currently her research seeks to identify the changing dynamics of high pathogenicity avian influenza and use decision analysis to determine effective management options for moving forward and identifying effective and actionable avian disease management options. The collaborative aspects of this emerging disease research include working with wildlife managers, decision scientists, and aiding in the implementation of actionable science focused research. Additional work, incudes examining host disease phenotypes of wild birds in response to high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI), with the goal of identifying transcriptomic markers to inform host immune response to HPAI infections.  This research aims to advance the understanding of wild bird immune response phenotypes and aid in identification of both successful and susceptible immune genotypes and elucidate the associated cellular immunogenomic mechanisms for response to viral infections.

Male in the field holding a duck


Sam Denenberg, Field Lead

Sam Denenberg is a research technician at the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center. He received his BS in Wildlife Science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) in 2023, with a focus on Avian research techniques. His work has mainly centered on the breeding biology of threatened waterbirds, including Steller’s and Spectacled eiders in arctic Alaska, and Piping plovers on coastal Long Island. Sam joined the team in April 2024 as the Poplar Island field lead and has been coordinating research efforts to monitor nesting Least Terns, Common Terns, and other species to evaluate the effects of ecological restoration in the Chesapeake Bay on colonial-nesting waterbirds.


Previous Lab Members

Person with bird








Lauren Lescure, Field Lead


Claire Teitelbaum



Claire Teitelbaum, Post-doc

While in Prosser Lab Claire worked on understanding the ecology of avian influenza viruses in wild waterfowl, including interactions with contaminants and relationships between influenza infection and bird movement behavior. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher with NASA Ames Research Center and the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute to understand how large satellite data products can be used to understand animal ecology.
Person with bird
Ayla McDonough holding a Common Tern chick



Ayla McDonough, Research Technician


Cody Kent conducting fieldwork

Cody Kent, Post-doc

Cody Kent is currently an Assistant Professor at Frostburg State University, after serving as a post-doc with Diann Prosser and Jennifer Mullinax from 2020-2022. Cody received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Tulane University, working on competition and coexistence mechanisms in migrant warblers wintering in Jamaica. Primary work with the Prosser Lab includes modeling avian influenza prevalence in wild waterfowl and quantifying the spatiotemporal risk of spillover events into domestic poultry operations. Additional work in collaboration with the Mullinax lab at the University of Maryland includes collaborating with graduate students to quantify deer and mouse habitat use as it pertains to the risk of Lyme Disease in suburban Maryland.  ​​

White male in sunglasses and orange shirt holding a duck


Carson Coriell, Waterfowl Intern

Carson Coriell is a staff ecologist working at the University of Maryland. He received his BS from UMD back in 2016, and is currently finishing up his MS. His master’s work is related to spatial and disease ecology of small mammals in urban environments associated with tick-borne diseases. His first wildlife internship was in the Prosser Lab back in 2016, and he is still assisting the lab by testing and collaring white-tailed deer for HPAI within the DC metropolitan area.


female in sunglasses holding a duck

Georgia Riggs, Field Lead 

Georgia Riggs was an avian research technician and Poplar Island field lead with the Prosser Lab in 2017/2018. After her time with the Prosser Lab, she obtained her M.S. at Oklahoma State University, where she studied bird-window collisions. She went on to participate in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Directorate Fellows Program with the Northeast Region's Migratory Bird Team, where she continued to work on bird-window collisions. In 2022, Georgia joined the U.S. FWS as a permanent employee and currently works in the Ecological Services Program in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 


male and female standing behind a US Fish and Wildlife Service Table


Dimitri Pappas, Poplar Intern

Dimitri Pappas is a fish and wildlife biologist who joined the Poplar Island tern breeding season monitoring effort in the summer of 2018. He attended the University of Maryland - College Park where he majored in environmental science and policy with a concentration in wildlife ecology and management. He currently works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a regulatory role where he helps make sure that development projects don't jeopardize endangered and threatened species and their critical habitat, in adherence with the Federal Endangered Species act of 1973.

female kneeling down in grass with clipboard


Jennifer Wall, Poplar Intern/CCC student

Jennifer Wall is a wildlife biologist who was part of the Prosser Lab between 2017 – 2018, first as a Poplar Intern and then as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps student, where she digitized long-term aerial imagery of Poplar and published a manuscript on a video surveillance system to monitor waterbirds. She received her Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana studying factors that drive distributional shifts in pika, marmot, and ground squirrel populations at multiple scales to identify potential threats to their persistence. Her primary interests lie in better understanding the impacts of climate changes and anthropogenic stressors on species at the intersection between applied and basic ecology.

Selfie of a female with a green hat and a duck


Kaitlyn Reintsma, Field Lead

Kaity worked as a field lead for the Prosser lab's Poplar Island tern population and avian influenza monitoring projects in 2016-17. In 2023, she received her PhD in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, specializing in quantitative ecology with a focus on the effects of grazing on sagebrush steppe songbirds. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Montana studying hunter harvest survey methodologies.

White male with a mosquito net covering face holding a bird


Matthew Hack, Field Lead

As a research technician in the Prosser Lab, Matt Hack served as the summer 2021 Poplar Island field lead. He also spearheaded the creation of a dietary database of Chesapeake waterbirds in order to quantify the forage base and identify critical forage taxa of the Chesapeake ecosystem. Matt is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. He studies the factors shaping geographic range and the distribution of biodiversity in migratory birds, and the responses of their distributions to global change.

Previous Lab Members 

  • Andrew Rapp - Chesapeake Conservation Corps Student
  • Natalie Hays - Poplar Island Intern
  • Evan Buck – Field Lead
  • Allison Hendryx - ESA Intern
  • Andrea Contina - Post-doc
  • Chris Gilbert - Field Lead
  • Eddie Gaylord - Poplar Intern
  • Evan Buck – Field Lead
  • Gwendolyn Zeckowski - Poplar Intern
  • Hosung Brian Lee - Research Technician
  • Ishan Merkle - Poplar Intern
  • Jack Taylor – CCC student
  • Joshua Driscol - ESA Intern
  • Julia Geschke - Poplar Intern
  • Katherine Dale - Field Lead
  • Katie Devos - Poplar Intern
  • Kayla Harvey - Poplar Intern
  • Lucas Howell - Poplar Intern
  • Meghan McHenry - Poplar Intern
  • Mia Zimnick - Poplar Intern
  • Nina Black - Poplar Intern
  • Olivia Butler - Poplar Intern
  • Paul Marban - Graduate Student
  • Rebecca Natoli - Poplar Intern
  • Saba Rahman - Poplar Intern
  • Sophie Hull - Poplar Intern