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About the Groendyke Chair 

Dr. Sam Fuhlendorf is the first person to hold the Groendyke Chair for Wildlife Conservation. He was appointed to the position in 2014 and his primary responsibilities will include providing research-based information, instruction and outreach on the conservation, management and/or restoration of native plant communities as it relates to wildlife populations and habitats. Dr. Fuhlendorf is already a Regents Professor and has been conducting this type of research since he started his appointment at OSU in 1997. “It’s an honor to be selected for a chair that has been sponsored by a conservation leader such as Mr. Groendyke,” Fuhlendorf said. “I share his passion for support of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and the wildlife and habitats of Oklahoma. It’s my goal to attempt to emulate his kind of leadership for conservation in Oklahoma, OSU and our department.”



Dr. Keith Owens, formerly Department Head of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and current Associate Vice President for the Agricultural Experiment Station, worked with Mr. John D. Groendyke to establish the chair in 2011. Mr. Groendyke, chairman and CEO of Groendyke Transport, Inc., a transportation business based in Enid, donated $500,000 to initiate the chair. His gift eventually resulted in $1.5 million impact because it was combined with matches from the T. Boone Pickens challenge gift and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Mr. Groendyke graduated from OSU in 1966 with a degree in business and a minor in animal science. He has been a commissioner for the state Wildlife Conservation Department for 34 years.



  • Conduct research and outreach that develops conservation-based management strategies in the context of ongoing land management objectives that include agriculture and energy development.
  • Develop graduate students to be productive professionals in conservation that also understand ongoing land management.


Dr. Sam Fuhlendorf

Sam Fuhlendorf standing outside. Sam received his B.S. in Agriculture at Angelo State University, M.S. at Texas A&M University in 1992. He completed his Ph.D. at Texas A&M in 1996 with research on the long-term effects of altered fire and grazing regimes on a semi-arid Quercus-Juniperus savanna. After a brief post-doctoral research associate position, Sam took a position at Oklahoma State University in 1997 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002 and Professor in 2004. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in international journals, such as Bioscience, Ecosphere, Journal of Wildlife Management, Journal of Applied Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecological Applications, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and Rangeland Ecology and Management.


Sam’s current research is generally focused on conservation of grassland landscapes and the wildlife that live on those lands. Specific areas focus on

  1.  understanding the role of disturbance-driven heterogeneity in the structure and function of grasslands,
  2. integrating a landscape perspective into conservation of rangelands and wildlife,
  3. fire ecology,
  4. wildlife conservation, and 
  5. understanding how animals use landscapes.

Sam currently teaches Applied Ecology and Conservation, Landscape Ecology and Ecology of Fire Dependent Ecosystems. He actively participates in The Wildlife Society, Ecological Society of America, Society for Range Management, and International Association for Landscape Ecology. Sam Fuhlendorf is currently the Regents Professor and holds the Groendyke Chair in Wildlife Conservation at Oklahoma State University. Sam has received the Outstanding Young Professional Award for the Society for Range Management in 2002, the James A. Whatley Award of Merit for Research from OSU in 2001, the Outstanding Achievement Award for Research from the Society for Range Management in 2010, the Regents Distinguished Research Award at OSU in 2012, and was named Fellow by the DaVinci Institute for Creativity in 2013. Sam’s favorite role is being a dad to my daughter Catie and a grandfather to her children Jaden, Kai and Laney.


Full list of research publications.

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