Lars Pomara

Postdoctoral Associate

   Personal website

Research Interests

My research interests fall within the areas of biogeography, landscape ecology, and the spatial analysis of ecological systems. I am interested in how and why species and biological communities are distributed across the Earth’s surface in particular ways. To try and understand these distributions and their dynamics over time, I study their relationship with variations in physical environments as well as variations in the ecological and behavioral traits of species that help to determine habitat selection. I try to focus my efforts on problems that are important for conservation planning and ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation being the reason I got into this stuff.

I am an ornithologist with broad interests in terrestrial ecosystems of the Americas. I am particularly drawn to Latin American tropical forests, but I also work in other ecosystems and on other taxa in addition to birds. I am currently working on an assessment of species vulnerabilities to climate change in the US Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region (see below). Visit my personal website to read about other projects I am involved with or have worked on in the past, and for a full list of downloadable publications.

Climate change vulnerability assessment
RUGR1My research in the Zuckerberg Lab is focused on understanding how climate change affects the demographics and distributions of species of conservation concern. Climate change vulnerability assessment represents an effort to estimate species’ demographic sensitivities to variable climatic factors, and to estimate the exposure of species to changes in those factors in different parts of their range. To do this, we are developing spatially explicit, full life-cycle demographic models for Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus), and additional species in collaboration with the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Our ultimate goal is to develop recommendations for what kinds of conservation strategies will be most effective in coping with the particular kinds of vulnerabilities that we identify for different species and different places, and to communicate findings to natural resource managers.

Further description of the project can be found at the website of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Landscape Conservation Cooperative.


PhD, Geography. University of Texas at Austin, 2009.
MS, Wildlife Ecology. University of Georgia, Athens, 2001.
BS, Biology.  University of Dallas, Irving, Texas. 1995.

Office: 608-265-9758

Selected Publications

Pomara, L.Y.,  O.E. LeDee, K.J. Martin, and B. Zuckerberg. In press. Demographic consequences of climate change and land cover help explain a history of extirpations and range contraction in a declining snake species. Global Change Biology.

Pomara, L. Y., K. Ruokolainen and K. R. Young. 2014. Avian species composition across the Amazon River: the roles of dispersal limitation and environmental heterogeneity. Journal of Biogeography 41: 784-796.

Pomara, L. Y., K. Ruokolainen, H. Tuomisto and K. R. Young. 2012. Avian composition co-varies with floristic composition and soil nutrient concentration in Amazonian upland forests. Biotropica 44:545-553.

Ogren, J., L. Y. Pomara and M. Steinbach. 2012. Land for water: a conservation initiative. A strategic framework for landscape change. Texas Land Conservancy, Austin.

Stralberg, D., K. E. Fehring, L. Y. Pomara, N. Nur, D. B. Adams, D. Hatch, G. R. Geupel and S. Allen. 2009. Modeling nest-site occurrence for the Northern Spotted Owl at its southern range limit in central California. Landscape and Urban Planning 90:76-85.

Pomara, L.Y., R. J. Cooper and L. J. Petit. 2007. Modeling the flocking propensity of passerine birds in two Neotropical habitats. Oecologia 153:121-133.

Jones, C. D., J. R. Troy and L. Y. Pomara. 2007. Similarities between Campephilus woodpecker double raps and mechanical sounds produced by duck flocks. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119:259-262.

Pomara, L.Y., R. J. Cooper and L. J. Petit. 2003. Mixed-species flocking and foraging behavior of four Neotropical warblers in Panamanian shade coffee fields and forests. The Auk, 120: 1000-1012.