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Graduate and Undergraduate Mentors In Conservation

Looking for advisers, academic programs, research assistantships, internships, or summer programs in conservation behavior?

Here is a list of scientists affiliated with academic institutions who conduct research in animal behavior and conservation. If you would like to be included in this list, please fill out this form.

Dr. Lisa Angeloni
[email protected]
Colorado State University
1878 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
+1 (970) 491-0562

My research is broadly focused on the evolution and plasticity of behavior, the effects of human disturbance on wildlife behavior, and the behavior of species of conservation concern. For example, we have studied: 1) the effects of the rearing environment on the behavior of animals in conservation breeding programs, including Arkansas darters and black footed ferrets; 2) the effects of changing environments and assisted migration on the behavior of Trinidadian guppies; and 3) the effects of human recreation, anthropogenic noise, and light pollution on the behavior of ungulates, prairie dogs, and other wildlife taxa.

Prof. Raphaël Arlettaz
[email protected]
University of Bern, Division of Conservation Biology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution
Professor of Conservation Biology
3012, Bern, Switzerland
(+41) 0 31 631 3161

I work primarily on societally-relevant biodiversity conservation and restoration issues, systematically applying a problem-solving approach. My current main research focus is on population biology of rare and endangered animal species (insects and vertebrates, especially birds and bats) of temperate, Mediterranean and Alpine biomes, and on community ecology (plants, invertebrates, vertebrates) of agro-ecosystems and Alpine ecosystems (grasslands, vineyards, fruit tree plantations, forests, treeline habitats and floodplain rivers).

Peter Bednekoff
[email protected]
Eastern Michigan University     
401-G Mark Jefferson Science Complex 
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA                             

My research interests center on how risk of predation shapes foraging behavior. My thinking was heavily shaped by opportunities to work in Botswana and the Galapagos Islands. In Botswana, I avoided potential predators, and in the Galapagos, lots did not avoid me. These experiences taught me that much of what we regard as normal behavior is influenced by the risk of predation. My experiences working in different countries have also fueled my interest in conservation. I am working on a book that emphasizes the conservation relevance of behavioral ecology and working with students to address how local species deal with environmental change. In my teaching, I also seek to connect the global with the local and theory with practice. I enjoy mentoring wherever my expertise can help advance science and conservation.

Prof. Prof. Oded Berger-Tal
[email protected]
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Associate Professor
Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel
Twitter: @oded_tal

I’m a conservation behaviorist, and as such, research in my lab usually means conducting rigorous behavioral studies aimed directly at addressing and mitigating conservation and wildlife management problems and advising conservation and management decision-makers. This means I work on many systems and with many species. In the past few years my work mostly focused on topics such as developing non-lethal behavioral interventions to alleviate human-wildlife conflict in Israel, investigating age-related learning and survival in reintroduced vultures, examining the impact of noise pollution on songbird populations and other wildlife species, understanding the mechanisms of high-tolerance to humans in wild Nubian ibex, and looking at fine-scale decision making of animals in anthropogenic vs. natural environments.

Dr. Eduardo Bessa
[email protected]
Universidade de Brasília
Associate Professor
Área Universitária, V. N. Sra. de Fátima, Planaltina
Brasília, DF ,Brasil
+55 (61) 3107-8003

My group investigates the impacts of nature-based tourism and diving on fish behavior. We are interested both in the subfactors of tourism presence (anthropogenic noise, pollution, human presence, etc.) and the specter of its effect (physiological, behavioral, population and community changes). If your interests overlap with ours, get in touch. Let's develop something together. There are many opportunities of funding and housing for international candidates in my institution. Check them out at

Dr. Jeffrey M. Black
[email protected]
Humboldt State University, Department of Wildlife
Wildlife Building #160 & #248
Arcata, California, USA
+1 (707) 826-3439

My research approach combines theory, experimentation, and long-term field studies. I strive to convey the realization that evolutionary processes acting on individuals drive the distribution and size of wildlife populations. I am interested in describing how animals are distributed in space and time, whether through the need of acquiring resources or to avoid predators, humans and competitors, and why some individuals are faithful to mates and territories while others readily take advantage of alternative options. This pursuit includes assessment of the evolution and maintenance of individual attributes like health, stature, experience, personality traits, and secondary sexual characteristics (crests, color patches).

Dr. Daniel Blumstein
[email protected]
University of California Los Angeles
The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
621 Charles E. Young, Drive South
Los Angeles, California USA
+1 (310) 267-4746

Broadly, I am interested in the evolution of social and antipredator behavior and the ramifications mechanisms of behavior have for higher-level ecological processes and for wildlife conservation. I have spent over a decade studying the evolution of complex communication and sociality and used the 14 species of marmots (Marmota-cat-sized sciurid rodents found throughout the northern hemisphere) as a model system. Much of my marmot work now focuses on the yellow-bellied marmots of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory ( which have been studied continuously since 1962. A main theme in my research is integrating knowledge of animal behavior into conservation biology. Ultimately, I aim to illustrate, through examples, how knowledge of behavior should influence policy. In addition to my more theoretical work, I have been actively engaged in using ecotourism as a form of community development and as a way to conserve natural resources and I’m very interested in urban ecology and human-wildlife conflict/coexistence more broadly. My theoretical research interests are particularly relevant to the applied work because ecotourism can adversely affect wildlife. Ultimately, it is the wildlife's perception of human impacts that matters.

Dr. Debbie Boege-Tobin
[email protected]
University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Biology
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Kachemake Bay Campus, 3101 Science Circle, CPISB 101 (Biology)
Anchorage, Alaska, USA
+1 (907) 235-1607

I have worked in Conservation Behavior for over 15 years, including undergraduates in studies with community partners as often as possible. A few examples of projects in which I have been involved include: Behavioral ecology of reintroduced populations of North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) in Missouri; Play, olfactory response, and foraging ecology of coastal river otters, particularly in effort to deter their use of local docks, boats and cabins in Kachemak Bay, AK; CoastWalk beach clean-up and assessment of area use by coastal invertebrates and vertebrates in Kachemak Bay, including biannual catalog of intertidal zone epi-macrofauna and algae; Identification of killer whales (Orcinus orca) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords, AK; Foraging ecology and tagging unit for unusual mortality event of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in Kachemak Bay; Rescue, and when deceased, necropsies and some articulations, of several cetacean and pinniped specimens, including threatened and endangered species (e.g., gray, minke, humpback & Stejneger’s beaked whales, sperm whale calf, Steller sea lion, harbor seals, elephant seals), and many sea otters; most events included undergraduate participation ; and, Preliminary behavioral and population assessment of a population of giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) in Guyana.

Dr. Richard Buchholz
[email protected]
University of Mississippi
Department of Biology, 219 Shoemaker Hall
Oxford, Mississippi, USA
+1 (662) 915-5012
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677, USA, (662) 915-5012

I am interested in mentoring students who wish to apply a behavioral approach to identifying, elucidating and/or managing animal conservation problems. In the context of conservation behavior, recent topics my students and I have researched include the effects of water conditions on oviposition site selection by tree frogs, human recreation and disturbance of basking in an endangered freshwater turtle, roost site associations in big-eared bats, and parasitism and home range movements of the Neotropical ocellated turkey. Although my individual research focus has been on sexual selection in birds, prospective students are welcome to have a different focus in taxon or study topic as long as the proposed work is fundamentally behavioral. Indeed my newest project, as Associate Director of the Center for Biodiversity & Conservation Research is to develop a citizen science initiative for documenting coastal resources in the northern Gulf of Mexico. I helped start the ABS Conservation Committee, served as committee chair, co-edited the first text on conservation behavior (Clemmons & Buchholz 1997 Behavioral Approaches to Conservation in the Wild, Cambridge Univ. Press), and continue to encourage animal behaviorists to apply their skills to the conservation of biodiversity (Buchholz 2007, Buchholz & Hanlon 2013, Cooke et al. 2014).

Prof. Tim Caro
[email protected]     
University of California Davis / University of Bristol

I am interested in exploring new connections between emerging subfields in behavioral ecology and conservation science. Historically I tried to relate aspects of behavioral ecology to conservation biology, but then became disillusioned with behavioral ecology playing a meaningful role in regards to in situ conservation, although there are some exceptions. Currently, I like to draw together disparate information from the natural and social sciences to craft conservation policy initiatives, and separately to study the ecological and evolutionary of significance of animal coloration. My current field research involves conservation of coconut crabs in Tanzania and studying zebra stripes in Bristol and Africa.

Dr. Barbara Clucas
[email protected] 
Humboldt State University
Department of Wildlife
Assistant Professor
1 Harpst Street 
Arcata, California, USA
+1 (707) 826-5651 

I am interested in interspecific interactions and how they affect species survival, behavior and the conservation of biodiversity. My work uses field, experimental and comparative approaches and lies at the interface of conservation, animal behavior, and urban ecology. I collaborate with state and national wildlife/land agencies to conduct research and find conservation solutions on topics including threatened and endangered species, using novel technologies for biological surveys, and human dimensions of conservation.

Dr. Kevin Crooks
[email protected]
Colorado State University, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology
115 Wagar
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
+1 (970) 491-7936

In my lab, we strive to apply theoretical principles of ecology, animal behavior, and conservation science to natural systems. My research has emphasized the conservation of mammals, often focusing on carnivores due to their sensitivities to environmental disturbances. I do not feel limited, however, to the study of any specific taxon. Rather, we strive to ask and answer interesting scientific questions that help promote the conservation of earth’s biological diversity. Because of my commitment to, and passion for, conservation, much of my research, and that of my lab, examines the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances on the natural world.

Dr. Colleen Cassady St. Clair
[email protected]
Professor Behavioural Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences University of Alberta
Edmonton, T6G 2E9, Canada
(780) 492-9685

Several graduate students and I have studied how animals move through and select habitat in landscapes that have been altered by humans with a particular focus barriers and corridors.  These studies have addressed birds (Belisle, Gillies, Tremblay), small mammals (McDonald and Porter), wolves (Whittinton) and elk (myself).  We have studied barriers in the form of roads (Whittington, McDonald, Belisle, myself), forestry (Porter), and agriculture (Darlow, Gillies, Hinam, Poulin, Knopff).  We have also studied road effects on bird health (Byers, Dube, Longmore) and communication (Proppe).  A second theme of my research program is to understand and mitigate sources of human-wildlife conflict.  These studies have used deterrence and aversive conditioning to alter the movement behavior and habitat use of birds (Ronconi), elk (Kloppers, Spaedtke) and bears (Homstol, Warrington).  We have also explored the role of habitat selection in perceptions of and potential for conflict between humans and cougars (Knopff) and coyotes (Cembrowski, Hutt, Murray).  More generally, I am interested in the interface between Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology. I especially enjoy exploring novel ways of advancing conservation practice with empirical methods and theory from behavior.  My past work focused on behavioral ecology in seabirds, primarily brood reduction in crested penguins. 

Prof. Wolfgang Goymann
[email protected]
Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence
Eberhard-Gwinner-Str. 6a
Seewiesen, Germany

My group studies the evolutionary ecology of mating systems in coucals and potential implications for conservation in Tanzania. In Europe, we currently focus on the whinchat, a relatively unpretentious species that used to be a common bird of European grasslands. Nowadays whinchats have largely disappeared from intensively farmed grasslands, and alarmingly they are also declining in protected habitats. We currently study a colour-ringed population in a biodiversity hotspot at the foot slopes of the Alps and intend to expand the study to other grassland species and regions within Europe.

Dr. Stephen B. Hager
[email protected]
Augustana College Professor of Biology
Rock Island, Illinois, USA
+1 (309) 794-3439

Students in my courses are challenged to learn content and conceptual material, and to apply this information to solve problems. Students who do well in my classes display high-level critical thinking skills, successfully analyze complex situations, and effectively communicate their work in both verbal and written contexts. My research program seeks to understand the magnitude of and factors influencing bird mortality resulting from window collisions, which is one of many threats to birds in urban landscapes. This is important because urbanization is accelerating faster than human population growth, and knowledge of how the urban environment affects bird survival is urgently needed for appropriate conservation and management strategies. Visit my webpage for more information:

Dr. Andrew Edelman
[email protected]
University of Georgia, Department of Biology Associate Professor
30118, Carrollton, Georgia, USA
+1 (678) 839-4042

My research focuses on the intersection between animal ecology, behavior, and conservation. We use a variety of quantitative techniques (social networks, occupancy modeling, remote cameras, etc.) to understand how management of landscapes shapes animal communities and behavior. Currently, my research examines the response of the mammalian community (small mammals, bats, and mesocarnivores) to fire-based restoration of montane longleaf pine. My lab group consists of both undergraduate and master’s level student collaborators.

Prof. Esteban Fernandez-Juricic
[email protected]
Purdue University Professor
915 W. State St - Department of Biological Sciences
West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
+1 (765) 494-6044
Twitter: @EstebanFerJur

In my lab, we are interested in three main topics. First, understanding the physiological and ecological factors accounting for the inter-specific variability in detection windows (areas surrounding an individual where the probabilities of detecting tourists increase) to better estimate buffer areas to protect wildlife. Second, establishing the role of habituation and sensitization in the responses of wildlife to different types of human activities. Third, determining suitable management strategies that promote co-existence between wildlife and humans in protected areas and airports, particularly taking into consideration endangered and threatened species. We also are interested in understanding the mechanisms birds use to gather information that is relevant for fitness (anti-predator scanning, foraging, and mate choice) from both physiological and behavioral perspectives. To that end, we study how some visual properties (visual field configuration, visual acuity, variations in the density of photoreceptors and ganglion cells across the retina, sensitivity of visual pigments) influence scanning behavior in different ecological contexts. We assess these visual-behavior relationships in a wide variety of bird species because ultimately we seek to understand the evolution of mechanisms of visual information use in species with different life histories (e.g., solitary vs. social species, species that live in open vs. closed habitats, etc.).

Dr. Preston Foerder
[email protected]
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
Assistant Professor
350-C Holt H, Psychology Dept. 2803
615 McCallie Ave. Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
+1 (423) 425-2320

As a comparative psychologist, I strive to find possibilities for my research to aid in conservation. My recent experience on the organizing committee for the Conservation Workshop at the last Animal Behavior Society Conference impressed upon me the possibilities for a behavioral/cognitive perspective. The solutions that our group devised to combat human-coyote conflict leaned primarily on habituation and operant conditioning processes. Locally, the Chattanooga Nature Center houses red wolves in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I am currently working with Nature Center, providing students for observations of their red wolves. We will examine their general behavior in captivity, as well as breeding behaviors that may eventually lead to an increase in the genetic diversity of the wild population in North Carolina through pup fostering. At the Tennessee Aquarium, I am currently engaged in research on sensory discrimination in giant Pacific octopuses, and I have been in talks with their Conservation Institute about a behavioral perspective on their work. My ongoing research on elephant cognition will help with mitigating human-animal conflict by expanding our knowledge of problem solving abilities in that species.

Prof. Caitlin R. Gabor
[email protected]
Texas State University
601 University Dr
San Marcos, Texas, USA
+1 (512) 245-3387

The work in my lab spans conservation physiology to behavioral ecology. We focus on the consequences of anthropogenic stressors on live-bearing fish and amphibian declines using a holistic framework that evaluates mechanisms (e.g., genetic and physiology) through function (e.g., evolutionary and conservation implications). We have also studied the historical forces of natural and sexual selection on speciation in a unisexual-bisexual species complex of live bearing fish from a behavioral and physiological standpoint.

Dr. Tom A. Langen
[email protected]
Clarkson University Departments of Biology & Psychology
Dean of Arts & Sciences, Professor
Potsdam, New York, USA
+1 (315) 268-7933

My conservation-related research and teaching focuses on three areas: (1) Road ecology. I conduct research on how to identify and mitigate environmental problems associated with roads and road traffic in North America and in Latin America. (2) Wetland restoration. I evaluate the success of wetland restoration programs done at maintaining wetland associated biodiversity and ecosystem services in human-dominated landscapes. (3) Management for Species of Greatest Conservation Need. I investigate how habitat management can be used to maintain or recover populations of declining species such as golden-winged warbler, spruce grouse, or Blanding’s turtle. I welcome applications for graduate work – I supervise graduate students in Clarkson University’s interdisciplinary Environmental Science & Engineering and Bioscience & Biotechnology programs.

Dr. Sue Margulis
[email protected]
Canisius College Professor of Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation, and Biology
2001 Main Street Buffalo, New York, USA
+1 (716) 888-2773

As a faculty member in the department of animal behavior, ecology, and conservation, I teach several courses on zoo biology, as well as the department's conservation biology course, and a field course in South Africa (wildlife ecology and conservation). My research has primarily been zoo-based. I am often working with endangered species, thus there is great interest in enhancing captive breeding and better understanding the specific environmental requirements of different species. Consequently, my research has largely focused on the effects of environment on behavior. This includes both the physical environment and the social environment, both of which may have far-reaching effects on behavior, reproduction, and overall well-being. I am particularly interested in patterns of reproductive and parental behavior in captive animals, and in quantifying the effects of environmental change on behavior.

Dr. M. Elsbeth (Misty) McPhee
[email protected]
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Associate Professor
Interdisciplinary Studies
800 Algoma Blvd
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA
+1 (920) 424-0644

Long-term maintenance of captive populations, and release of captive animals into the wild, is one of many approaches to endangered species conservation. For conservation biologists working with captive populations, however, a fundamental question is the following: How has captivity altered the behavior, morphology, and physiology of captive-bred animals? Broadly, I am interested in how populations respond to rapid changes in their environment. Specifically, I have focused on this question in the context of reintroduction programs. Currently, I am working with the reintroduction of whooping cranes into central Wisconsin to establish an Eastern Migratory Population of these endangered birds. Prior to working with cranes, I used meadow voles as a model system to measure how captivity altered behavior in captive animals. For a short video on this work, go to

Sarah L. Mesnick
[email protected]
Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA
8901 La Jolla Shores Drive
La Jolla, California, USA, 92037-1508
+1 (858) 546-7148

I am an ecologist in the Marine Mammal and Turtle Division of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, and adjunct professor and founding member of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. My research focuses on conservation behavior in oceanic dolphins and whales. I study patterns of sociality and the impacts of anthropogenic activities on social structure and population dynamics. My work integrates information derived from genetic, acoustic, observational, and phylogenetic sources. Examples of projects conducted in partnership with collaborators and students include: social organization and population structure of sperm whales, acoustic biogeography of blue whales, vessel response behavior and social disruption in eastern tropical Pacific dolphins involved in the purse-seine fishery for tuna, sexual ecology and the evolution of cetacean mating systems, human-animal conflict, depredation, and social leaning in sperm whales. Most recently, my work has focused on saving the vaquita, a critically endangered porpoise in the Gulf of California, Mexico, and socio-economic approaches to conservation.

Dr. Mike Mooring
[email protected]
Point Loma Nazarene University
3900 Lomaland Drive
San Diego, California, USA
+1 (619) 849-2719

I did my Ph.D. dissertation research in southern Africa in Zimbabwe, studying parasite-defense grooming in impala and testing the 'programmed grooming model', followed by post-docs on the same topic in different species in South Africa, Namibia, Canada, and California. Over the past two decades I have done all my research in the summer months with teams of advanced undergraduates and the occasional graduate student from another university. We have studied desert bighorn sheep (New Mexico), plains bison (Nebraska), and >50 species of ungulates at the San Diego Zoo. Our 12-year study of bison was supported by the National Science Foundation, and we have now completed 11 years of field research in Costa Rica supported by San Diego Zoo Global and PLNU. In Costa Rica, we study large, elusive mammals with camera trap surveys and scent detection dogs, with a special interest in predators and their prey in the cloud forests of the Talamanca Cordillera. My team and I have published on a variety of topics relevant to animal behavior and conservation, includingparasite defense, sexual segregation, behavioral endocrinology, sexual selection, acoustical communication, predator-prey interactions, and most recently, circadian and lunar activity patterns.

Prof. Stephen J. Mullin
[email protected]
Arkansas State University
Professor & Dept. Chair Dept. of Biological Sciences
Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA
+1 (870) 972-3082

Research conducted by members of my lab group typically concerns behavioral and community ecology, with many projects focusing on predator-prey relationships that involve at least one species of reptile or amphibian. Changes in a microhabitat might influence not only the expression of animal behavior, but also patterns of habitat selection and the frequency of organismal interactions. Studies of this type can elucidate the factors regulating the dynamics of species within particular habitat types and, have implications in conservation biology where the choice of sites appropriate for preservation is often debated. I welcome inquiries from prospective students for either the MS-biology (thesis option) or the Ph.D.-Environmental Sciences programs.

Dr. Guillermo Paz-y-Mino-C
[email protected] or [email protected]
Roger Williams University Co-Director New England Science Public
One Old Ferry Road
Bristol, Rhode Island, USA
+1 (401) 254-3137
I have broad interests in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology. My research focuses in three main areas: the link between different levels of social organization and the cognitive abilities of animals, the association between socio-sexual behaviors and the communication of signals for the recognition of kin (particularly the role of memory in kin recognition), and the application of behavioral paradigms in conservation biology. I am intrigued by the relevance of cognitive repertoires, cognitive legacies and collecting reasoning in conservation behavior efforts. I work (or have worked) with different biological systems including mammals, birds, and nematodes. More recently, I have switched my research program toward taxa, clone and kin discrimination in protists and other microbes: genetics, evolution, behavior and health.

Dr. Elizabeth K. Peterson
[email protected]
Colorado State University-Pueblo
Principal Investigator
2200 Bonforte Blvd
Pueblo, CO, USA
+1 (719) 549-2762
My research broadly explores how anthropogenic stressors impact behavioral responses and adaptive life history strategies important for fitness to develop management strategies that improve species conservation. My philosophy is to conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary research in both the field and the laboratory that will have direct implications for environmental quality and the conservation of species of concern and their natural habitat. Examples of past and present projects include: 1) effects of Pb pollution on reproductive strategies, 2) improving translocation methods to restore populations of a keystone species (prairie dogs) in the Great Plains, and 3) understanding wildlife vehicle collisions across a major interstate in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Prof. Noa Pinter-Wollman
[email protected]
University of California Los Angeles
Associate Professor
621 Charles E. Young Drive South
Los Angeles, California, USA

Many biological systems are complex aggregates of multiple agents working together towards collective, higher-order goals, and evolution acts on variation in these emergent collective properties. There is no central control dictating the activities of members in the assembly. Instead, agents use local signals that determine their behavior and are received through an intricate interaction network resulting in collective phenotypes. Thus, the composition of a group and the way its members interact affects the success of the group as a whole, just as the composition of any sports team dictates its success in the league. The Pinter-Wollman lab examines the emergence of collective outcomes from group composition by combining field and lab studies with computer simulations, theoretical work, image analysis, and social network analysis. We are further interested in the interplay between conservation biology and animal behavior. Examining the behavior of animals can provide important assessment tools for conservation actions and insights on preserving biodiversity. At the same time, wildlife management actions can provide unique opportunities for studying interesting questions in animal behavior.

Bruce A. Schulte, PhD
[email protected]
Western Kentucky University
Associate Vice-President for Strategy, Performance and Accountability Executive Director WKU Research Foundation University Distinguished Professor
1906 College Heights Blvd.
Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA, 11080
+1 (270) 745-4856

Our research group examines the development of social and reproductive behaviors in keystone mammals such as elephants as well as the mechanisms, especially chemical that mediate these interactions. In recent years, we have taken more of a conservation behavior approach, as we work to reduce human-wildlife conflict by studying the behavioral ecology of these species, specifically their modes of communication, reproductive patterns, and social systems. We work in Africa on elephants and other mammals. We also have conducted research with beavers, manatees, horses, and cetaceans. Citizen scientist have become important contributors to our research on human-elephant interactions in Kenya. Applications of our research strive to use an understanding of behavior to facilitate positive human-animal interactions.

Dr. Brett M. Seymoure
[email protected]
University of Texas at El Paso
Assistant Professor
500 W University Ave
El Paso, Texas, United States
+1 (269) 501-8761
Twitter: @brett_seymoure
Light is perhaps the most important abiotic factor driving biological functions. I study how animals have adapted to and are affected by light. How have different light environments selected for different traits such as coloration and vision? How and why have different visual systems evolved? How does anthropogenic light at night affect organisms? I approach these questions from a sensory and behavioral ecological perspective to shed light onto evolutionary and conservation biology.

Dr. Debra Shier
[email protected] or [email protected]
Brown Endowed Associate Director of Recovery Ecology
Beckman Center for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global
15600 San Pasqual Valley Road
Escondido, CA 92027-7000 USA

Assistant Adjunct Professor Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of California Los Angeles
621 Charles E. Young Dr.
South Los Angeles, CA 90095

For the past 15 years, I have been studying the ways in which an understanding of animal behavior and behavioral ecology can be applied to conservation strategies such as reintroductions and translocations. In general, my research has focused on using basic theory to create effective and efficient relocation methods by encouraging settlement, dampening stress, and increasing post-release survival and reproductive success. My research addresses 1) the kinds of learning experiences that are required for the development of effective anti-predator behavior after release into the wild, 2) how social relationships among founders may affect their survival following translocation 3) the effects of scent communication in the translocation process, 4) whether natal habitat preferences can be exploited to enhance release site settlement and 5) the effects of behavioral consistency (temperament) on post-release survival. My current research examines these questions in two endangered Heteromyids, the Pacific pocket mouse and Stephens’ kangaroo rat.

Dr. John P. Swaddle
[email protected]
William & Mary, Institute for Integrative Conservation
Professor and Faculty Director
23187-8795 Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

I co-direct the Institute for Integrative Conservation (IIC) at William & Mary, which is a multidisciplinary unit that integrates across the sciences, social sciences, humanities, business, education, and law to design and implement solutions to pressing conservation challenges. Almost all of the work of the IIC is performed in collaboration with conservation partners, such as large and small NGOs, government agencies, private corporations, and other universities. We have active conservation programs around the world. For my own research, I focus on the role of behavior in human-wildlife conflict and help to design technology and policy solutions that lessen the pressure on wildlife while allowing for economic development for local people. Our work straddles basic science to applied solutions. We have a very active lab of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs, and are always looking for new collaborators and colleagues to join our program at the interface of behavioral ecology and applied conservation.

Dr. Ronald R. Swaisgood
[email protected]
Brown Endowed Director of Recovery Ecology
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
15600 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA, 92027-7000
General Scientific Director, Cocha Cashu Biological Station, Peru:

Dr. Ron Swaisgood serves San Diego Zoo Global as the Brown Endowed Director of Recovery Ecology. He oversees several species conservation programs locally in Southern California and around the globe. His interests lie primarily in the pragmatic application of ecological and behavioral knowledge to solving conservation problems. In practice, his research interests include mating systems, communication, denning ecology, spatial ecology, habitat selection, foraging ecology, and reintroduction biology. His research programs fall into three broad categories: conservation breeding, reintroduction and translocation biology, and population ecology and adaptive management. Examples of conservation breeding programs include those for giant pandas, Pacific pocket mice, Hawaiian forest birds, San Clemente loggerhead shrikes, and mountain yellow-legged frogs, all integrated with ongoing reintroduction programs. He supervises several additional reintroduction/translocation programs, with species such as desert tortoise, kangaroo rats, California condors, Tasmanian devils, as well as the restoration of ground squirrels as ecosystem engineers to help recover burrowing owl populations. Other programs are geared toward understanding the ecological requirements for species persistence and monitoring the impacts of management actions: examples include giant pandas, giant otters, burrowing owls, California least terns, and western snowy plovers. All of these projects involve extensive collaboration and partnerships.

Prof. Robin Tinghitella
[email protected]
University of Denver
Associate Professor
Denver, Colorado, USA
Work in the lab focuses on evolutionary and behavioral ecology, most often concentrating on social interactions between the sexes. Within that broad area, we ask questions like: What is the role of behavior in rapid evolutionary change? How do opposing selection pressures and non-adaptive processes shape animal communication systems? How does environmental change alter sexual selection? Can parental effects facilitate rapid responses to changing mating environments? And, how do sexual selection and changing ecology work together to influence reproductive isolation? Our work in the area of conservation behavior focuses on noise pollution and singing insects.

Dr. Mark Wildhaber
[email protected]
U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Science Center
Research Ecologist
4200 New Haven Road
Columbia, Missouri, USA
+1 (573) 876-1847

My research includes studies of the habitat selection, identification of and behavioral response to olfactory stimuli, reproductive behavior and physiology, and abiotic and biotic requirements for reproductive success of freshwater and marine fishes and crayfish that are considered at-risk, federally listed as threatened or endangered, or invasive. One of my ultimate goals is to use this information, along with information on fish behavior to develop spatial and temporal hierarchical fish population models using spatially-explicit and/or individual-based models that incorporate thermoregulation, bioenergetics, foraging theory, and/or other models of habitat choice under varying environmental conditions and/or contaminants in the context of global climate.

Dr. Marian Wong
[email protected]
University of Wollongong, School of Biological Sciences
Lecturer Marine Biology
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
+61 7 4221 3574

I am a behavioral ecologist interested in understanding how abiotic stressors influence the social and reproductive behaviors of group-living fishes. I currently work on a range of species, including coral reef and African cichlid fishes.

Dr. Julie K. Young
[email protected]
Utah State University
Associate Professor
Logan, Utah, USA
Twitter: @DrJulieKYoung

Research in the Young Lab focuses on applied animal behavior, with a focus on mitigating human-wildlife conflicts. Species of focus include large carnivores, mesopredators, and beavers, along with prey species. Studies range include reintroductions, application of nonlethal tools to prevent livestock depredation, carnivore coexistence in urban spaces, foraging behavior and trophic cascades, and population ecology. We primarily conduct research in field settings, with an emphasis on multi-use landscapes, but historically used captive populations as well.