Clay is an ecologist focusing on the methodology surrounding the estimation of animal population abundance, occupancy, and distribution. He also delineates and classifies land cover using GIS and field inventories to document landscape features, rare species, and high-quality natural communities on state lands. At MNFI since 2017, his work here has introduced him to the diversity of Michigan’s natural communities where he combines field inventories and GIS modeling to inform management decisions on state lands. He earned a BS in Biology from Central Michigan University and his MS in Wildlife Ecology from Mississippi State University. His field and laboratory research experience at CMU formed the foundation for using science as a tool to better understand natural resources and help inform conservation decisions. His graduate and post-graduate research focused on designing and conducting landscape scale population inventories for large carnivores in North America and Africa.