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Michael J. Cherry

Assistant Professor
Office: 106 Cheatham Hall

B.S.F.R. University of Georgia (2010)
Ph.D. University of Georgia (2014)


My research focuses on understanding factors influencing wildlife populations and how managers can manipulate those processes to meet their objectives. I conduct applied research investigating topics including wildlife-habitat interactions, predator-prey ecology, and ungulate ecology and management. I am interested in how behavioral and physiological traits of individual animals link to demographic parameters and community interactions.

  • Mammalogy FIW 4334

South Florida Deer Study

White-tailed deer in southern Florida are a treasured game resource and are the primary prey of the critically endangered Florida panther. The South Florida Deer Study is a multifaceted research collaboration involving Virginia Tech, University of Georgia, The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service investigating factors influencing deer population dynamics in in the primary range of the Florida panther. The goal of this project is to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence white-tailed deer population trends in South Florida and to develop a methodology that allows for monitoring deer populations.

Carnivore Ecology in a Longleaf Pine Ecosystem

We are working at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center to understand the effects of fire and timber management practices on the spatial ecology of coyotes, gray foxes, and raccoons. The primary object of this work is understand how forest management influences the spatial ecology of predators. Our goal is to understand how prescribed fire, mesic hardwood removal from longleaf pine dominated uplands, and other habitat alterations influence carnivores and their probability of predating white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, and ground nesting birds and reptiles of conservation concern. 

Improving Monitoring Methods for White-tailed Deer Population Parameters

White-tailed deer are the most economically important game species in Virginia and much of North America. State agencies need methods for estimating population parameters that are reliable, sensitive to small changes in populations and easy to implement. Camera trapping has become a popular option for sportsmen and agencies because they are relatively inexpensive, easy to implement, and are effective in a wide variety of habitats types. We are working on statistical and field methods to improve our inference from this commonly collected data.

  • Cherry et al. 2016. Fear, fire, and behaviorally-mediated trophic cascades in a frequently burned savanna. Forest Ecology and Management. 368: 133-139.
  • Cherry et al. 2016. Coyote diets in a longleaf pine ecosystem. Wildlife Biology. 22: 64-70.
  • Conner et al. 2016. Predator exclusion as a management option for increasing white-tailed deer fawn recruitment. Journal of Wildlife Management. 80: 162-170.
  • Cohen et al. 2016. Evaluation of Antler-based Selective Harvest Criteria on Harvest and Antler Size of Male White-tailed Deer in Florida. Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 3: 203-209. 
  • Cherry. 2016. The Predator Paradox: Ending the War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars, and Coyotes. John A. Shivik. 2014.- Book review. Journal of Wildlife Management. 80: 581-582. 
  • Chitwood et al. 2016. Are camera surveys useful for assessing recruitment in white-tailed deer? Wildlife Biology. In press.
  • Cherry et al. 2016. Can coyote predation risk induce reproduction suppression in white-tailed deer? Ecosphere. In press. 
  • Cherry et al. 2015. Effects of predation risk and group dynamics on foraging behavior of white-tailed deer in a longleaf pine savanna. Behavioral Ecology. 26: 1091-1099.
  • Cherry et al. 2015. Coyotes denning in a gopher tortoise burrow. Herpetological Review. 46: 618.
  • Nelson et al. 2015. Coyote and bobcat predation on white-tailed deer fawns in a longleaf pine ecosystem in southwestern Georgia. Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 2: 208-213.
  • Cherry et al. 2013. Photo sensors increase likelihood of detection of expelled vaginal implant transmitters. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 37: 846-850.