Ph.D. in Ecology (2017), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

*M.Sc. in Ecology (Cum Laude) (2015), *M.Sc. converted to a Ph.D., upon completion of Ph.D., M.Sc. was replaced by PhD.

B.S. (with honors) in Ecology and Evolution (2012), University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA


Schmitt, M.H., K. Stears, M. Donovan, D.E. Burkepile, and D.I. Thomposon (2022) Integrating herbivore assemblages and woody plant cover in an African savanna to reveal how herbivores respond to ecosystem management. PLoS ONE 17(8): e0273917.

Stears, K., M.H. Schmitt, W. Turner, D.J. McCauley, E.A. Muse, H. Kiwango, D. Mathayo, and B.M. Mutayoba (2021) Hippopotamus movements structure the spatiotemporal dynamics of an active anthrax outbreak. Ecosphere 12(6): e03540.

Schmitt, M.H., D. Ward, and A.M. Shrader (2020) Megaherbivores and tannins: Is being big enough? Oecologia 194: 383-390.

*Valenta, K., *M.H. Schmitt, M. Ayasse, and O. Nevo (2020) The sensory ecology of fear: African elephants show aversion to olfactory predator signals. Conservation Science and Practice e333.

Buisson, E., A. Fidelis, G.E. Overbeck, I.B. Schmidt, G. Durigan, T.P. Young, S.T. Alvarad, A.J. Arruda, S. Boisson, W. Bond, A. Coutinho, K. Kirkman, R.S. Oliveira, M.H. Schmitt, F. Siebert, S.J. Siebert, D.I. Thompson, and F.A.O. Silveira (2020) A research agenda for the restoration of tropical and subtropical grasslands and savannas. Restoration Ecology.

*Nevo, O., *M.H. Schmitt, M. Ayasse, and K. Valenta (2020) Sweet tooth: Elephants detect fruit sugar levels based on scent alone. Ecology and Evolution 10: 11399-11407.

Ward, D., M.H. Schmitt, and A.M. Shrader (2020) Are there phylogenetic differences in salivary tannin-binding proteins between browsers and grazers, and ruminants and hind-gut fermenters? Ecology and Evolution 10: 10426-10439.

Burkepile, D.E., M.H. Schmitt, K. Stears, M.K. Donovan, and D.I. Thompson (2020) Shared insights across the ecology of coral reefs and African savannas: Are parrotfish just wet wildebeest? BioScience biaa063.

Stears, K., M.H. Schmitt, C.C. Wilmers, and A.M. Shrader (2020) Mixed-species herding levels the landscape of fear. Proceedings of the Royal Society:B 287: 20192555.

Schmitt, M.H., D. Ward, and A.M. Shrader (2020) Salivary tannin-binding proteins: A foraging advantage for goats? Livestock Science 234: 103974.

Schmitt, M.H., A. Shuttleworth, D. Ward, and A.M. Shrader (2020) The role of plant secondary metabolites and their potential as pre-ingestive cues for diet selection of African elephants. Oikos 129: 24-34.

McArthur, C., P.B. Finnerty, M.H. Schmitt, A. Shuttleworth, and A.M. Shrader (2019) Salient odour cues in foraging: African elephants choose preferred plants despite complex background odours. Animal Behaviour 115: 199-216.

Schmitt, M.H., and A.M. Shrader (2019) Browser population-woody vegetation relationships in savannas: From bites to landscapes. Herbivores and Woody Plants in Savannas. Wiley. Editor: P. Scogings. pp. 245-278.

Schmitt, M.H., A. Shuttleworth, D.Ward, and A.M. Shrader (2018) African elephants use plant odours to make foraging decisions across multiple spatial scales. Animal Behaviour 141: 17-27.

Schmitt, M.H. (2017) The influences of plant secondary metabolites on the foraging behaviour and carrying capacities of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana. Ph.D. Thesis. University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Schmitt, M.H., K. Stears, and A.M. Shrader (2016) Zebra reduce predation risk in mixed-species herds by eavesdropping on cues from giraffe. Behavioral Ecology 27: 1073–1077.

Schmitt, M.H., D. Ward, and A.M. Shrader (2016) Incorporating secondary metabolites, tannin-binding proteins, and diet breadth into carrying-capacity models for African elephants. Ecological Modelling 332: 8-18.

Schmitt, M.H., K. Stears, C.C. Wilmers, and A.M. Shrader (2014) Determining the relative importance of dilution and detection for zebra foraging in mixed-species herds. Animal Behaviour 96: 151–158.

Grants, Fellowships, & Awards

2022-2024: South African National Research Foundation (NRF) Competitive Programme for Rated Researchers (Co-Investigator)

2020-2021: South African National Research Foundation (NRF) Innovations Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

2017-2019: Claude Leon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

2015-2017: South African National Research Foundation (NRF) Innovation Ph.D. Fellowship

2015: Gay Langmuir Bursary for Wildlife Research

2014: South African National Research Foundation (NRF) Innovation Master’s Fellowship

2013: Gay Langmuir Bursary for Wildlife Research

2011: University of California Education Abroad Program Award for Academic Merit

2011: UCSC College 8 Small Grant for Independent Study