Ryan joined WEST in 2001, and has conducted research on a variety of wildlife species and topics, focusing on fisheries, aquatic mammals, owls, raptors, and terrestrial vertebrates and their habitats. Ryan has extensive experience in the design and analysis of population abundance and distribution studies, including long-term monitoring and before-and-after-control-impact designs. Much of Ryan's experience in the design and analysis of animal resource selection and distribution studies has focused on the effects of human disturbance (e.g., timber harvest, roads, oil and gas development). In 2007 - 2008, Ryan's main area of research involved modeling sea ice habitat selection by arctic polar bears and investigating the potential effects of global climate change on polar bear habitat and distribution. This research resulted in an Award for Excellence of Service from Dirk Kempthorn, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (2008).
Ryan helped develop long-term monitoring programs for steelhead and Chinook salmon in the California Central Valley, and recently was on a team developing protocol for estimating smelt entrainment for the California Department of Water Resources. Ryan also leads an annual survey for golden eagles in the western U.S. for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Ryan is an Accredited Professional StatisticianTM of the American Statistical Association. He is the author of 40 papers in refereed journals, and has developed 2 computer programs that are published on-line. Ryan has traveled across the western U.S. and abroad to teach workshops designed to help students and working professionals learn new statistical techniques for environmental study design and data analysis.