Sarah N. Sells

I am a basic and applied ecologist with expertise in animal behavior, spatial ecology, quantitative analyses, agency collaboration, and decision analysis. My research aims to ask and answer questions that advance understanding of the natural world and address pressing conservation challenges. To this end, I collaborate closely with resource managers to produce research that addresses conservation needs.

I have been lucky to work with numerous researchers on exciting projects that have taken me from alpine meadows of Olympic National Park, to canyon country of the Southwest, and to cloud forests of Central America. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to advance conservation for my M.S., Ph.D. and postdoctoral appointments.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the University of Montana, where I am working with Dr. Paul Lukacs, the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to study grizzly bear connectivity among ecosystems. I intend to continue working closely with researchers and resource managers to advance conservation and our understanding of the natural world throughout my career. I am also passionate about mentoring future generations of scientists, particularly from underrepresented groups.

While I rarely stop thinking about science, I also enjoy making the most of the natural world around me. I'm a dedicated river rat and love to spend days on the water. I rarely say no to happy hour with colleagues to discuss creative ideas and collaborations (even via only virtual happy hours during global pandemics). I also love nothing more than hikes and laid-back days alike with my spouse and our sidekicks, Topaz River Otter and Annie Bear.


Ph.D., Fish and Wildlife Biology, The University of Montana. 2019.

M.S., Wildlife Biology, The University of Montana. 2014.

B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Oregon State University. 2005.

Previous Field Projects

Wolf Spatial Ecology

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks: 2015 - 2018

Wolf Trapping & Monitoring Assistant

Colorado Plateau Species Monitoring

National Park Service: 2007 - 2011

Biological Science Technician

Burrowing Owl Population Status

Wildlife Research Institute: 2008

Burrowing Owl Biologist

Sage Grouse Behavior

The University of California at Davis: 2007

Sage Grouse Research Assistant

Tropical Cloud Forest Research

Operation Wallacea: 2006

Small Mammal Scientist, Honduras

Endemic Species Declines

Olympic Marmot Project: 2004

Olympic Marmot Project Intern

In my spare time, you'll find me on or near a river: