Jennifer McCabe

Postdoctoral Associate

J.McCabe_SBEBackground and Research Interests:

I have many research interests; I get excited about new topics daily. However, I am primarily trained as a wildlife population and community ecologist, specializing in avian habitat selection and computer modeling.

Prior to starting graduate school I worked as a Research Biologist at the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming. I continued managing the Science Schools’ avian research program during my graduate work, traveling between Maine and Wyoming. Primarily my research in Wyoming (and the many field jobs before) focused on how human alteration of natural environments affects bird distributions and habitat choice during all periods of the annual cycle.

My dissertation work investigated how migratory behaviors of North American songbirds in the autumn balance the three currencies; risk, energy, and time. More specifically I; 1) explored how stopover site selection varies across migratory strategies at the landscape and habitat-patch scale; 2) investigated the importance of wind for the evolution and maintenance of migratory routes; and 3) explored how selection of wind conditions for migratory departure affects overall behavioral strategies.

My postdoctoral research in the Zuckerberg Lab is focused on guiding the analysis and management of data from the Wisconsin’s 2nd Breeding Bird Atlas and to create an analytical framework for downscaling atlas data to identify species-environmental associations and classify areas of high conservation value. This project is in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.



Ph.D. Ecology and Environmental Sciences, School of Biology and Ecology, and Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, 2015. Dissertation title: “Explaining migratory behaviors using optimal migration theory”

B.S. Environmental Studies, University of Vermont, 2003.                                                            

Selected Publications:

McCabe, J.D., N.M. Anich, R.S. Brady, and B. Zuckerberg. 2018. “Raising the bar for the next generation of biological atlases: using existing data to inform the design and implementation of atlas monitoring”. Ibis 160: 528-541.

McCabe, J.D., B.J. Olsen, B. Osti, and P.O. Koons. 2018. “The influence of wind selectivity on migratory behavioral strategies”. Behavioral Ecology 29(1): 160-168.

McCabe, J.D., B.J. Olsen, and D.Hiebeler. 2016. “Wind patterns as a potential driver in the evolution and maintenance of a north american suture zone”. Evolution 70(9): 2145-2154

McCabe, J.D. and B.J. Olsen. 2015. “Trade-offs between predation risk and foraging shape the stopover habitat use of migrant landbirds.” The Auk 132(4): 903-913.

McCabe, J.D. and B.J. Olsen. 2015. “Landscape-scale habitat availability, and not local geography, predicts landbird stopover across the Gulf of Maine.” The Journal of Avian Biology 46: 395-405.

Olsen, B.J., J.D. McCabe, E. Adams, D.P. Grunzel, A.J. Leppold. 2015. “Matching ephemeral resources on autumnal stopover and the potential for mismatch”. Chapter Ten in (E. Wood and J. Kellermann, eds.) Phenological Synchrony and Bird Migration: Changing Climate and Seasonal Resources in North America. Studies in Avian Biology 47: 163-176.