Dr. Holly K. Ober
Professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Dr. Ober is responsible for research and extension programs in wildlife ecology and management, with an emphasis on wildlife dependent on forest ecosystems. Her research addresses two broad topics:
- increasing understanding of the mechanisms that influence wildlife habitat selection and productivity in forests, and
- informing conservation and management strategies for bats
She has affiliate faculty status in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at UF, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment at UF.
Her primary Extension responsibility is serving as director of the Natural Areas Training Academy (an outreach program that serves natural resource professionals). She also works regularly with private forest landowners and the general public to increase knowledge of the effects of forest management practices on wildlife, increase understanding of the ecological services provided by forest wildlife, and increase the adoption of practices that benefit forest wildlife.
Dr. Ober currently serves the scientific community as President-Elect of the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network, Past-President of the Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Past-Chair of the Florida Bat Working Group, and Associate Editor for the Wildlife Society Bulletin.
Dr. Ober conducts applied research in wildlife ecology. Her two research programs advance the state of knowledge of wildlife dependent upon forests. Together these programs develop a foundation of ecological knowledge upon which to base decisions regarding the conservation and management of forest biodiversity.
One research program examines functional relationships between wildlife and forests to develop understanding of the response of species to anthropogenic habitat modifications.
Recent research has been assessing the impacts of intensified forest management practices for the production of biomass for biofuels on bird, bee, and bat community composition as well as the impact of these practices on provisioning of ecosystem services. We have also investigated the influence of forest restoration efforts on native groundcover, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and wild turkey, assessed movement patterns of tapirs relative to land use change, evaluated the sensibility of using keystone species as umbrella species when planning forest management activities, and assessed Floridian’s appreciation for ecosystem services provided by forest-dependent wildlife.
Six members of the lab group (3 MS students, 2 PhD students, and 1 post-doctoral researcher) have completed or are currently working on this research.
The second research program focuses on a single forest-dependent taxa. We work to better understand the ecological needs, and innovate new techniques to survey and monitor, bats.
Our recent research has assessed the role of climatic and land use characteristics in determining bat distribution patterns, the response of bats to the common land management practice of prescribed burning, the ecosystem services provided by bats (i.e., pest consumption in temperate regions and pollination in the tropics), evaluated the efficacy of new technologies (to track fine-scale movements of bats, to lure bats to nets to facilitate capture) and evaluated new research approaches (to acoustic survey protocols and to analysis of data obtained through acoustic surveys).
Seven members of the lab group (6 MS students and 1 post-doctoral researcher) have completed or are currently working on research encompassed by this program. A focal point of our efforts has been a species of bat endemic to Florida recently designated as federally endangered, the Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus).
Extension - Wildlife
Dr. Ober organizes and participates in outreach events such as workshops, field days, and seminars covering a wide variety of topics including how to manage forests to promote wildlife, how to enhance backyard habitat for wildlife, how to conserve bats, the role of vertebrate wildlife in integrated pest management (IPM), and coping with nuisance wildlife.
Below are links to brief publications, videos, and brochures on forest management techniques that benefit wildlife, game species management, bats, nuisance wildlife, and other topics.
How to get bats out of a building (http://youtu.be/Wl7PqQz1kRU)
The role of bats and raptors in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (http://youtu.be/v8LTZU-6cu0)
EXTENSION BROCHURES & POSTERS
What you need to know if you have bats in a building in South or Central Florida (English)
Extension - Natural Areas Training Academy (NATA)
Dr. Ober is director of the Natural Areas Training Academy (NATA). Our mission is to create a network of land managers with current knowledge and skills to conserve Florida’s natural resources.
Our workshops provide training in practical, field-oriented management techniques. Participantswork in small groups to address real-life scenarios and realistic problems, becomingbetter prepared to manage natural resources. The workshops are held at various sites throughout Florida, and each is purposefully matched to provide optimal teaching facilities and proximity to natural lands.
The 4 core workshops we offer are: Conservation Site Assessment and Planning, Managing for Diversity across Florida’s Unique Landscapes, Collaborating to Manage Ecosystems, and Managing Visitors and Volunteers in Natural Areas.
Given the importance of fire as a land management tool through out the Southeast, NATA also offers several fire trainings. These include Basic Wildland Firefighter training (S-130/190), Firefighter Type 1 (S-131), Fire Operations in the Wildland / urban Interface (S-215), Wildland Fire Chainsaws (S-212), and Smoke Management (Rx-410).
We confer a "Certificate in Natural Areas Management" to individuals completing our core workshops. Which cover the topics identified by practitioners in the field as most important for land managers. The series may be completed in any order, and there is no time limit to complete the series. To date, 163 individuals have earned certification, representing 49 different state, federal, county, and city agencies; private and non-profit organizations; and universities.
North Florida Research and Education Center
155 Research Road
Quincy, FL 32351
Phone: (Office) 850-875-7150 (Lab)850-875-7153
Ph.D. Forest Science, Wildlife Science, Oregon State University - 2007
M.S. Wildlife Ecology, University of Arizona - 2000
B.S. Biology, Duke University - 1994
Professional Service and Awards
- Southeastern Bat Diversity Network: President-Elect
- The Wildlife Society, Florida Chapter: Past-President
- Florida Bat Working Group: Past-Chair
- Wildlife Society Bulletin: Associate Editor
AWARDS (past 5 years)
- University Term Professorship, a 3 year professorship recognizing meritorious achievements of UF faculty [2018-2020]
- Christine Taylor Waddill Extension Professional Enhancement Award from UF/IFAS, a term professorship and program support awarded to Extension faculty who promote outstanding educational programs and demonstrate scholarship in Extension 
- Educational Materials (brief publication) award (gold) from Florida Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (FANREP) in recognition of Have You Got Bats?, a pamphlet designed to increase awareness of an endangered species of bat endemic to south Florida that lives in buildings, and could be considered a nuisance 
- Educational Materials (long publication) award (gold) from Florida Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (FANREP) in recognition of Managing conflicts with wildlife, a series of 8 EDIS documents on wildlife perceived as dangerous or damaging 
- Educational Materials (video) award (silver) from Florida Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (FANREP) in recognition of How to get bats out of a building, a video demonstrating how to safely, legally, and humanely deal with unwanted bats residing in a man-made structure 
- Excellence in Teamwork award from Florida Association of 4-H in recognition of Ag Adventure Days with 8 County Agents and 4 State Specialists 
- Educational Materials (video) award (silver) from Florida Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (FANREP) in recognition of Rapid Site Assessment: A Case Study (component of a workshop offered through the Natural Areas Training Academy) 
Lab Group (Current & Alumni)
Name Education Holly Ober, Associate Professor Holly has a B.S. From Duke University, M.S. from Univesity of Arizona, and Ph.D from Oregon State University Celso Poot, PhD Student Celso has a B.S. from Galen University and M.A. from Miami University. He is currently studying distribution and movement pattens of tapirs in Belize. Meghan Lauer, Biological Scientist Meghan has a B.S. from FGCU and M.S. from UF. She is workshop coordinator for the Natural Areas Training Academy (NATA) as well as Lab Manager Laura Nicholson, MS Student Laura has a B.S. from Rice University. She is studying foraging patterns of the endangered Florida bonneted bats.
Alumni (Former Bio Scientist/Post Doc/Students/):
Name Education David Armitage, MS Student B.S. from University of Michigan and M.S. from UF. In the Ober lab he investigated the role of prescribed fire in structuring forest bat communities and evaluated the ability of supervised learning techniques to classify bat echolocation calls. Mandy Bailey, MS Student B.S. from University of Maine and M.S. from UF. In the Ober lab she studied habitat selection and demographics of Florida bonneted bats. Elizabeth Braun de Torrez, Post Doc Associate B.S. from Purdue University, and Ph.D from Boston university. Leader of two projects; Investigation of the role of fire in shaping habitat use of Florida bonneted bats and development of a bat monitoring protocol for Everglades National Park. Lucas DeGroote, Biological Scientist B.S. from University of Wisconsin and M.S. from the Ohio State University. In the Ober lab he studied the effects of pine straw raking on invertbrate communities, identification of an attractent for the nine-banded armadillo and wildflowers susceptible to browsing by white-tailed deer. Sarah Friedl, Biological Scientist B.S. from Eastern Michigan University and M.S. from North Carolina State University. In the Ober lab she was Workshop Coordinator for the Natural Areas Training Academy (Nata) and Lab Manager. Morgan Hughes, MS Student B.S from Utah State University and M.S from UF. In the Ober lab she investigated the role of bats as pest control agents thoughout the Southeast Shelley Johnston, PhD Student B.S. from University of Idaho, M.S from Northern Arizona University and PhD from UF. In the Ober lab she evaluated the role of wildlife biodiversity in providing ecosystem services in Florida's pine forests and also served as Biological Scientist. Jessica Swindall, MS Student B.A. From University of Alabama and M.S. from UF. In the Ober lab she investigated the role of knowledge and values in shaping conservation behaviors towards sea turtles in the Florida Panhandle. Elizabeth Ramirez, MS Student B.S. and M.S. from UF. In the Ober lab she studied the effects of forest restoration on habitat suitability for re-cockaded wood peckers. Jennifer Trusty, Post Doc Associate B.A from Dartmouth University and PhD from Florida International University. In the Ober lab she conducted a meta-analysis of understory vegetation restoration techniques in forests of the Southeastern U.S. Sheherazade, MS Student B.S. from Universtas Indonesia and M.S. from UF. In the Ober lab she investigated the pollination of semi-wild durian in Sulawesi to quantify the economic contributions of flying foxes. Vicki Underwood, MS Student B.A fron University of Tennessee and M.S from UF. In the Ober lab she assessed factors influencing the occurence of gopher tortoises on private lands in Mississippi. Elysia Webb, MS Student B.S. from Ohio Univeristy and M.S. from UF. Iin the Ober lab she investigated diet and movement patterns of Florida bonneted bats.