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Lynnette Dornak
Former Student
Biodiversity Institute

Contact Information

Office Phone: 
Dyche Hall

My dissertation research has centered on the Henslow’s Sparrow, a summer resident of the Midwestern Tallgrass Prairies. For this species, I have investigated the spatiotemporal patterns of resettlement behavior (i.e., when they return to their breeding areas, do they return to the same area each year?) and breeding habitat distribution (i.e., where suitable habitat might occur and how that occurrence changes from year to year) using remote sensing, GIS, and ecological niche modeling techniques. The results from my research will, hopefully, contribute to management plans and conservation decisions for this species, as well as other species that inhabit the North American Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem.

Outside the scope of my dissertation, I have developed a growing interest in spatial epidemiology and disease vector ecology. My recent focus has been on Brazilian triatomines (Chagas disease) and global distributions of mosquitos, sand flies, and ticks (various diseases). The products of this research will be applied to disease risk models and disease education.


  • Ph.D. Candidate, University of Kansas, Department of Geography
  • M.S. Biology. December 2002. Stephen F. Austin State University. Thesis: Effect of habitat quality on the reproductive success of the Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla).
  • B.S. Biology. May 2000. Stephen F. Austin State University. Emphasis- zoology.

Professional Positions

  • 08/2011–Present. Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP), Walter Read Biosystematics Unit, Smithsonian Institute.
  • 04/2011–5/2011. GIS Lab Assistant, Geography, Haskell Indian Nations University.
  • 08/2010–5/2011. Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Environmental Studies Program. Geography – University of Kansas. Field Ecology and Capstone.
  • 08/2008–Present. Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Department of Geography – University of Kansas. Principles of Physical Geography lecture and lab and Environmental Conservation.
  • 08/2008–12/2010. Tutor. Athletics – University of Kansas. Cultural and Physical Geography, African American Studies, Geology, Environmental Studies.
  • 01/2006–05/2006. Substitute Teacher for the State of Kansas.
  • 08/2003–05/2005. Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Division of Biological Sciences – University of Kansas. Human and Mammalian Physiology and Biological Concepts labs.
  • 03/2003–07/2003. Field Technician. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Conducted extensive nest searches for cavity nesting species associated with Red-cockaded Woodpecker habitat and collection of vegetation data for associated research plots on Eglin AFB.
  • 01/2001–12/2002. Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Biology - Stephen F. Austin State University. Ornithology, Botany and Concepts of Biology labs, Local Flora.
  • 01/1999–12/2002. Assistant Museum Curator. Biology - Stephen F. Austin State University. Setup and maintenance of specimen database using the program Biota. Identifying unrecorded specimens. Maintaining and preparing museum skins and skeletons.

Professional Societies

  • Association of Women Geoscientists, 2010–Present
  • American Ornithologists’ Union,  2009–Present
  • Association of American Geographers , 2009–2011
  • Society of Wetland Scientists Ecological Society of America, 2001
  • Alpha Chi National Honor Scholarship Society, 2000


  • NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, SBE Geography and Spatial Sciences, 2011
  • KU Graduate Studies Doctoral Student Research Fund, 2011
  • Tinker Grant (Triatoma sp. research), Latin American Studies, University of Kansas, 2010
  • Chevron Scholarship (Triatoma sp. research), Osage Chapter, Association of Women Geoscientists, 2010
  • KSR Small Grants Program, University of Kansas, 2008.
  • KSR Small Grants Program, University of Kansas  2004.
  • Stephen F. Austin State University Alumni Scholarship. 2001.


  • Dornak, L. L. 2010. Dynamics of Henslow’s Sparrow Breeding Habitat Across the Midwestern Landscape. Association of American Geographers, Seattle, WA.
  • Dornak, L. L. 2010. Spatiotemporal Variation of Three Grassland Sparrow Species Across Three Scales: Local, Route, Global. Association of American Geographers, Washington, D.C.
  • Dornak, L. L. 2009. Spatiotemporal Variation in Henslow’s Sparrow Populations at Three Spatial Scales. American Ornithologists’ Union, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Costa, J., L. L. Dornak, C.E. Almeida, A.T. Peterson. 2009. Fine Scale Prediction of Distributions of the Triatoma brasiliensis Complex.  Simpósio International Comemorativo do Centranário da Descoberta da Doença de Chagas 1909–2009.  Rio de Janeiro, RJ.
  • Dornak, L. L. 2009. Comparison of three grassland species in space and time. Association of American Geographers, Las Vegas, NV.
  • Singh, B., L. L. Dornak, and R. Pierotti. 2004. The significance of male parental investment in hybridization in the Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus. Evolution conference, Ft. Collins, CO. POSTER.
  • Brock, L. L*. 2003. A comparative study of parental care investment and female choice among pure and hybrid Northern Flicker pairs within a hybrid zone. Presented at Graduate Student Research Seminar. University of Kansas.
  • Brock, L. L.*, D. B. Burt, D.W. Coble and R.N. Conner.  2002.  Effects of habitat quality on the reproductive success of the Brown-headed Nuthatch. North American Ornithological Conference.  New Orleans, LA.