Karine Princé

Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Interests and Background

Personal website

I have wide interests in conservation biology, including population, community and landscape ecology as well as biodiversity conservation and global change biology. I am particularly interested in how broad environmental changes (e.g. climate, land use), and conservation measures implemented in response to these environmental pressures, may affect the dynamics and composition of avian communities.

My current work in Zuckerberg Lab falls in line with the overall research topics I addressed so far, i.e. dealing with biological conservation research questions. During my postdoc, I had the great opportunity to be involved in different, very interesting projects, with the common objective of exploring the ecological responses of biodiversity to global changes, with a specific interest on the impact of climate change at multiple spatio-temporal scales. For this purpose, citizen science programs – such as Project FeederWatch or Christmas Bird Count, provide extensive data sets that allow conducting ecological research at multiple spatio-temporal scales.

One of the main aspects of my research focuses on the effect of the warming of winters on avian communities. Winter climate has undergone the greatest changes in North America these last decades. While there is mounting evidence of species responses to a warming climate, such as ranges shift, questions remain as to whether and how community composition are affected by climate change. We wanted to test the hypothesis that a changing climate should favor the formation of wintering bird communities dominated by warm adapted species. To do this, we quantified the changes in community composition using a functional index, the Community Thermal Index, which measures the ratio of low- and high-temperature dwelling species in a community.

This project is developed in collaboration with Brooke Bateman & Anna Pidgeon (SILVIS Lab, UW Madison), David Bonter & Wesley Hochachka (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

In another project, I explore the spatiotemporal characteristics of type E avian botulism mortality events within the Great Lakes system. Using data from the AMBLE program (Lake Michigan Volunteer Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events), I study the spatial and temporal autocorrelation in avian mortality events associated with botulinum toxin and I attempt to determine the role of environmental drivers influencing the magnitude and periodicity of synchronized mortality events. Botulism is a really important societal issue, and human health and ecosystem interaction is a major challenge. For this reason, the project relied on developing a really integrative approach of research about botulism outbreaks, to try to understand both the mechanisms and the processes that lead to these outbreaks, how it occurs, what are the causes and the consequences, and so on. Therefore, it is a cross-disciplinary project from plant pathology to animal biology. This project has been a very good opportunity for me to be involved in a collaborative project with both researchers and wildlife managers, from state and governmental agencies, national parks, wildlife services, and university research teams.

This project is developed in collaboration with Jennifer Chipault & LeAnn White (USGS-NWHC).

Visit my  personal webpage to read about other projects I am involved with or have worked on in the past, and for a full list of downloadable publications.



PhD Ecology. University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris, France. 2012

MS Ecology – Conservation Biology, University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris, France. 2009

BS Life Science, University François Rabelais, Tours, France. 2007 


Selected Publications

Zuckerberg, B., E. J. Ross, K., Princé and D. N. Bonter. in press. Climate variability on wintering grounds drives spring arrival of short-distance migrants to the Upper Midwestern United States. Studies in Avian Biology.

Princé, K., R. Lorrillière, M. Barbet-Massin, and F. Jiguet. 2013. Predicting the fate of French bird communities under agriculture and climate changes scenarios. Environmental Science and Policy 33, 120-132.

Princé, K., and F. Jiguet. 2013. Effectiveness of French grassland agri-environment schemes for farmland bird communities. Journal of Environmental Management 121, 110-116.

Princé, K., J. P. Moussus, and F. Jiguet. 2012. Mixed effectiveness of French agri-environment schemes for nationwide farmland bird conservation. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 149, 74-79.