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., Ward, D., and Shrader, A.M. Megaherbivores and tannins: is being big enough? (Accepted) Oecologia.

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

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

Nevo, O, Schmitt, M.H., Ayasse, M, Valenta, K. (Accepted) Sweet tooth: Elephants detect fruit sugar levels based on scent alone. Ecology and Evolution.

Ward, D., Schmitt, M.H., & Shrader, A.M. (Accepted) Are there Phylogenetic Differences in Salivary Tannin-Binding Proteins between Browsers and Grazers, and Ruminants and Hind-Gut Fermenters? Ecology and Evolution.

Burkepile, D.E., Schmitt M.H., Stears, K., Donovan, M.K., Thompson, D.I. (2020) Shared insights across the ecology of coral reefs and African savannas: are parrotfish just wet wildebeest? BioScience, 20: 1-12

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

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

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

Schmitt, M.H. & Shrader, A.M. (2019). Browser Population–Woody Vegetation Relationships in Savannas. In Savanna Woody Plants and Large Herbivores (eds P.F. Scogings and M. Sankaran)

McArthur, C., Finnerty, P.B., Schmitt, M.H., Shuttleworth, A., & Shrader, A.M. (2019) Salient odour cues in foraging: African elephants choose preferred plants despite complex background odours. Animal Behaviour. 155: 199-216.

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

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

Grants, Fellowships, & Awards

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