Melia completed her doctorate in Dr. Brian Todd's research lab in the Graduate Group in Ecology in September 2014. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate with San Diego Zoo Global Conservation Institute. Melia has always had a strong interest in reptiles and the natural world. More recently, her attention has been focused on conservation of these species.She used biotelemetry methods to study movement and habitat use of species of conservation interest.
Melia conducted research on the state and federally threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). The project she was involved in aims to determine the effects of rain supplementation on hatchling and juvenile tortoise growth and survivorship, and whether this method could be used to augment wild tortoise populations in the Mojave Desert. She also studied how introduced plant species affect tortoise growth, survivorship, and distribution. The knowledge gained from this work will contribute towards population recovery of the desert tortoise.
Examples of recent publications
Nafus MG, Tuberville TD, Buhlmann KA, Todd BD. 2013. Relative abundance and demographic structure of Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) along roads of varying size and traffic volume. Biological Conservation 162:100-106.