Maia Persche


(608) 890-3160

120 Russell Labs
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706


2019: M.S. Wildlife Ecology, UW-Madison
2016: B.S. Wildlife Ecology, UW-Madison

Research interests

I am a field biologist interested in studying the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation strategies. Most of my research relates to avian ecology and I have been a bird bander (ringer) since 2016, working in the southern Appalachian Mountains, Ecuador, Argentina, and the Midwestern USA.

My PhD research is centered on the response of biodiversity to woodland habitat restoration. Through a combination of bird banding, arthropod surveys, bioacoustic recording, and plant phenology monitoring, we are hoping to gain a more detailed understanding of the role of prescribed fire and tree thinning in temperate woodlands.

I am also drawn to long-term ecosystem monitoring, and am in the process of establishing a monitoring project in the Baraboo Range (Sauk County, Wisconsin), where I am conducting my PhD research. We are especially interested in the effects of climate change on phenology, and on interactions between trophic levels. This summer, my collaborators and I started a series of bird banding stations (part of the Institute for Bird Populations MAPS program) to study the population dynamics of forest birds, some of which are at the trailing edges of their ranges.

Personal interests

I love exploring new places and ideas, making art, and cooking / growing food. Most of the time, you can find me biking around Madison, working on land restoration projects, or learning about wild species. Before returning to graduate school, I worked with several art and community-based nonprofits strengthening connections between rural and urban communities, and between people and landscape.

Where I'm From