Rachel Smiley joined the Shop in the Fall of 2018 as a master’s student on the Bighorn Sheep Nutrition-Disease project focusing on the role of nutrition on the persistence and effects of pneumonia in bighorn sheep populations in northwest Wyoming.
While an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, she collaborated with the Wyoming Coop Unit and Game and Fish on a research project aimed developing and index to visually evaluate the nutritional condition of mule deer. Corrupted by big mountains, open sky, and the sagebrush sea, she was drawn to pursue a deeper understanding of inter-mountain western ecosystems. She then spent several seasons working various wildlife jobs, most notably on the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project and as a research technician/big game capture coordinator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. She developed a strong interest in ungulate ecology and its application to management.
The Bighorn Sheep Nutrition-Disease project combines her love for ecological research, conservation, critters that live in extreme environments, and long walks up steep hills. She hopes that her research will provide a better understanding of the role that nutrition plays in susceptibility to disease and aid in bighorn sheep conservation.
Rachel tries to play outside as much as possible, particularly through climbing, mountain biking, peak-bagging, and skiing.