Ecology and Mammalogy
Ph.D., Oklahoma State University
Current research focuses on field studies of West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, and Chagas' Disease at points along the Texas-Mexico border between McAllen and Brownsville; establishment of the Sam Houston Disease Vector Program with its associated BioSafety Level 2 (BSL2) Diagnostic Laboratory for handling material collected in field projects; and implementation of in-depth field sampling of vectors and reservoirs.
Small mammal surveys, including recently completed projects for two Texas Army National Guard training sites, which incorporate comprehensive survey of the mammals present on both sites.
Application of vertebrate anatomy and environmental toxicology to forensic studies. Recent work includes an atlas and key of terrestrial mammals for the state of Texas with scanning electron micrographs (Anica Debelica, MS in Biology).
Ecological studies of the Mexican free-tailed bat: Ongoing research includes cooperative projects with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Texas Parks and Wildlife in which three of my past graduate students conducted a molecular systematic comparison of the two subspecies, pesticide accumulations and their effects, roosting behavior, and microhabitat variables in colonies of free-tailed bats in a warehouse at the Walls Unit in Huntsville and the Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area at Fredericksburg, Texas.
Director for the SHSU Center for Biological Field Studies. Current activities include building renovations, habitat manipulation, and general maintenance. Funding proposals have been submitted to support construction of an on-site education center and lake.
Development of field methodologies for rapid assessment of West Nile Virus infection in indigenous birds, small mammals, and herpetofauna. Funding is currently pending that would support a long-term monitoring program on the SHSU field station.
Recent Selected Publications
Glass, B. P. and M. L. Thies. 1997. A key to the skulls of North American mammals, 3rd ed. Self published through the Department of Biological Sciences, Sam Houston State University.
Dunlap, B. G., and M. L. Thies. 2002. Giardia in beaver (Castor canadensis) and nutria (Myocastor coypus) from east Texas . J. Parasit. 88:1254-1258.
Thies, M. L. 2003. Use of bat carcasses as nesting material by Rock Dove. Bull. Texas Ornith. Soc. 36(2):12-13.
McHugh, C. P., M. L. Thies, P. C. Melby, L. D. Yantis Jr., R. P. Raymond, M. D. Villegas, and S. F. Kerr. 2003. Short report: a disseminated infection of Leishmania mexicana in an eastern woodrat, Neotoma floridana, collected in Texas. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg.