Research Overview

The overarching goal of our research is to understand the interactions among people, land, and biodiversity. Research projects focus on housing growth and its ecological effects, land cover and land use change analysis, and the assessment of wildlife habitat and biodiversity patterns. We conduct our research at broad spatial scales. Remote sensing, GIS, and statistical modeling are our most commonly used research tools.

All projects are conducted in close collaboration with land managers and scientists in organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy, both the Polish and the Russian Academy of Science, and the WWF. Via these collaborations, we hope to contribute towards the goal of a sustainable future.

Current Research

It is getting weirder - extreme events in satellite records

Extreme weather events are becoming both more frequent and intense. These events could be shifting bird numbers and their normal distributions in the United States. Ultimately, these weather events could lead to the extinction of highly-sensitive species.

Biodiversity - Birds - Conservation - Remote Sensing - Statistics
Jan 2014

Using Bayesian statistics to predict housing growth in the U.S.

Information about housing densities at fine spatial scales is critical to understanding how human development impacts wildlife. Nick Keuler, statistician for the SILVIS lab, and Roger Hammer at Oregon State University are using Bayesian statistics to project US census data to smaller spatial scales.

Houses and WUI - Land Use - Statistics
Jan 2014

Do birds track climate or weather?

Brooke Bateman examines if fine scale weather data provides more information for modeling bird distributions than long-term climate data.

Birds - Conservation - Biodiversity
Jan 2014

If you can't stand when it gets dry, fly north: Dickcissels reliably track extreme weather events in the Midwestern United States

What happens when it gets too dry? Brooke Bateman discovers how migratory birds like Dickcissels respond to extreme drought events in the Midwestern United States and looks at what that means for future management and conservation efforts.

Birds - Remote Sensing - Biodiversity
Jan 2014

Helping to train the next generation of conservation scientists: running the IGERT on biodiversity conservation in novel ecosystems

Research topics range from economics to entomology, and research locations literally span the globe. Some might call administering such a grant challenging, but to Shelley Maxted, it's a treat.

Conservation - Houses and WUI - Invasives - Land Use
Feb 2013

Where will novel ecosystems in the United States exist in the future?

Novel ecosystems, ecosystems with strong human influence are an important new challenge for ecology. Will these ecosystems increase in number in the future? Where?

Land Use - Conservation - Biodiversity - Invasives
Feb 2013

Future land use changes and their potential impact on the Nation's areas of biodiversity significance

Sebastian Martinuzzi investigates how future land use changes in the United States could impact the Nation's areas of biodiversity significance, with help from economic-based scenarios

Land Use - Conservation - Biodiversity
Feb 2013

Conservation conflicts: Housing growth in conservation priority areas in Wisconsin

Sarah Carter uses projections of future housing development to identify those sites requiring immediate conservation attention in order to successfully conserve Wisconsin's biodiversity.

Biodiversity - Conservation - Houses and WUI - Land Use
Feb 2013

Vegetation structure and bird populations across the US

Can you predict biodiversity abundance without fieldwork, sitting at your desk? Patrick Culbert can. Using satellite images and data from Breeding Bird Survey, Patrick estimates abundance of bird species across United States.

Birds - Remote Sensing - Biodiversity
Feb 2013

Importance is important: Using more reliable but less common methods for determining the importance of ecological variables

The results of a regression are like a messy storehouse: your task is to decide what you pull out and use! Nick, our statistical specialist, suggests some tools for evaluating variable importance.

Feb 2013


Contact Us

Forest and Wildlife Ecology
Russell Laboratories (map)
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI, 53706, USA
phone: +1/608 890 3160
fax: +1/608 262 9922
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