Get to know our Prairie Research Team

Our research team has, combined, more than 16 years of undergrad and graduate work focused solely on biology

Research on the prairies is long, hard work, and it requires a special breed to take on the challenge. Ducks Unlimited has three researchers working in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). Our research team has, combined, more than 16 years of undergrad and graduate work focused solely on biology.

Kaylan Carrlson is the manager of conservation planning for DU’s Great Plains Region (GPR). She completed her undergraduate degree in Natural Resources at Cornell University and obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Fisheries and Wildlife. Her Master’s research focused on an assessment of the translocation program for Missouri’s endangered greater prairie chicken. Kaylan’s work at DU focuses on designing and implementing research to develop conservation targeting tools, communicating research results to DU staff and partners, and working with other research partners in the GPR. She is currently involved in a larger waterfowl productivity study in the Prairie Pothole Region. In partnership with the University of North Dakota, Kaylan and the GPR research group are working to foster an undergraduate summer research internship at the DU’s Coteau Ranch.

Ryann Cressey is a wetlands biologist for the Great Plains Region. She completed her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University in ecology. Ryann recently completed her Master’s degree from South Dakota State University. Her Master’s research focused on changes in wetland plant communities and wetland conditions in prairie potholes after 50 years. Ryann assists with the planning and implementation of the current research projects in the Great Plains Region. She is also working to develop future wetland related research projects within the region.

Garrett Cacciola is the field crew chief for the waterfowl research projects being conducted by the Great Plains Region. He completed his undergraduate degree in Wildlife Science at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Following a variety of seasonal wildlife positions, he has decided to focus more tightly on wetland and waterfowl conservation. Garrett worked last year as a technician on the research study assessing the impact of the Bakken oil and gas development on waterfowl productivity and has returned this year with some additional responsibility. His focus with Ducks Unlimited is logistical coordination of field crews, daily project oversight, and preliminary data management.