David J. Flaspohler

David J. Flaspohler
"Hope is the thing with feathers. That perches in the soul."
—Emily Dickinson


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Professor, SFRES

  • PhD, Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MS, Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • BS, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan

How do birds respond to land use and fragmentation?

My research focuses on how organisms interact with their environment with particular attention to human altered ecosystems and those species that are most sensitive to such changes. I am interested in spatial aspects of habitats such as the arrangement of patches in the landscape and how these can influence demographic traits of species. I have worked to understand how birds are influenced by forest management directly through nesting proximity to forest openings. I also study the ways that broad landscape pattern can influence densities of keystone ungulates such as white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and how such human commensals can have negative cascading effects on sensitive community members such as understory herbs. Much of this work was done at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

As a researcher in conservation biology, I have studied the influence of a variety of human activities on natural ecosystems, including key contemporary issues, such as the effects of forest fragmentation on songbird demography, the influence of riparian forest management on bird, fish, and aquatic invertebrate communities, the ecological role of overabundant deer in island national parks, and how to best facilitate the transfer of basic and applied scientific research to management. My background in conservation biology has emphasized multidisciplinary approaches to solving scientific and societal problems.

Areas of Expertise

  • Conservation biology
  • Avian ecology and reproduction
  • Cascading effects of deer overbrowse
  • Island ecology

Recent Publications

  • Haskell, D. D.J. Flaspohler, C. Webster, and M. Meyer. 2010 (accepted, in press). Variation in soil temperature, moisture, and plant growth with the addition of down woody material on lakeshore restoration sites. Restoration Ecology.
  • Webster, C.R., D.J. Flaspohler, R.D. Jackson, T. Meehan, C. Gratton. 2010 (accepted, in press). Diversity, productivity and landscape-level effects of grasslands managed for biomass production. Biofuels.
  • Ford, M. and D. Flaspohler. 2010 (accepted, in press). Scale-dependent response by breeding songbirds to residential development along Lake Superior. Wilson Bulletin of Ornithology.
  • Flaspohler, D., C. Giardina, G. Asner, P. Hart, J. Price, C. Ka’apu, and X. Castaneda. 2010. Long-term effects of fragmentation and fragment properties on bird species richness in Hawaiian forests. Biological Conservation 143:280-288.
  • Fargione, J.E., T.R. Cooper, D.J. Flaspohler, J. Hill, C.L. Lehman, T. McCoy, S. McLeod, E. J. Nelson, K. S. Oberhauser, and D. Tilman. 2009. Bioenergy and wildlife: Threats and opportunities for grassland conservation. BioScience 59(9):767-778.
  • Holmes, S., C. Webster, D. Flaspohler and R. Froese. 2009. Death and Taxus: the cost of high palatability in an era of population decline. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39:1366-1374.
  • Corace, R.G., III, D.J. Flaspohler, L.M. Shartell. 2009. Geographic patterns in openland cover and hayfield mowing in the Upper Great Lakes region: implications for grassland bird conservation. Landscape Ecology 24:309-324.