Connor M. Wood

PhD Student
Personal Site


I am an ecologist and conservation biologist, and my primary interests are understanding the persistence of populations and ecological processes, and the effects of increasing human pressure on the natural world. My research focuses on (i) developing and implementing a regional bioacoustic monitoring program for spotted owls and other species in the Sierra Nevada, and (ii) using genomics to understand the historical demography of three indicator species in the same region.

We have deployed an array of passive acoustic recording units across the northern Sierra Nevada to detect vocalizations of spotted and barred owls (as well as many other forest birds). This will serve as the basis for multi-species dynamic occupancy models, and facilitate management of both species. We are also deploying state-of-the-art GPS tags on barred owls to study their movement and spatial ecology at the forefront of their expanding range. Owl locations are updated periodically here.

Understanding species’ responses to past climate change and disturbance regimes is crucial for predicting their future trajectories. I am using next-generation sequencing to compare the historical population sizes of the California spotted owl and northern flying squirrel, old-forest specialists, and the black-backed woodpecker, an early-seral, post-fire specialist. With this information, we can begin to reconstruct the Holocene ecology of the Sierra Nevada and thus help guide ecosystem restoration.


M.Sc. Wildlife Ecology  |  University of Maine, 2016
B.A. Conservation Biology  |  Middlebury College, 2011


Wood, C.M., S.A. Whitmore, R.J. Gutiérrez, S.C. Sawyer, J.J. Keane, and M.Z. Peery. 2018. Using metapopulation models to assess species conservation – ecosystem restoration trade-offs. Biological Conservation 224: 248-257.

Wood, C.M., S.T. McKinney, and C.S. LoftinIntraspecific functional diversity of common species enhances community stability. Ecology and Evolution 7(5): 1553-1560.

Wood, C.M., J.W. Witham, and M.L. Hunter Jr. 2016. Climate-driven range shifts are a stochastic process at a local level: two flying squirrel species in Maine. Ecosphere 7(2):e01240.

Wood, C.M. and S.T. McKinney. 2015. Record long-distance movement of a Deer Mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, in a New England montane boreal forest. Canadian Field-Naturalist 129(2): 181-182.

Under Review: Wood, C.M., S.T. McKinney, and C.S. Loftin. Testing prediction accuracy in a short-term ecological study.

Under Review: Wood, C.M., V. Popescu, H. Klinck, J.J. Keane, R.J. Gutiérrez, S.C. Sawyer, and M.Z. Peery. Detecting small changes in populations at landscape scales: A bioacoustic site-occupancy framework.