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Brian Halstead

Dr. Brian Halstead is a Research Wildlife Biologist with the Western Ecological Research Center.

He focuses on conservation of reptiles and amphibians, particularly applications of population ecology to species conservation. In particular, he combines field methods like capture-mark-recapture and radio telemetry with flexible Bayesian hierarchical models to learn about demographic parameters and the individual, biotic, and environmental variables that affect them. Central themes of his research include the influence of land use, climate, and biotic interactions on species distributions and demographic rates; the behavioral response of individuals to habitat change; and providing relevant information for wildlife conservation to resource managers and private landowners. Currently, Dr. Halstead's research focuses on the effects of water availability on the distribution, behavior, and demography of giant gartersnakes (Thamnophis gigas); the response of San Francisco gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) to grazing and management of aquatic invasive species; and the influence of abiotic and biotic variables on the distribution and demography of amphibian populations in northern California. Additional research projects include the distribution, growth, and demography of island night lizards (Xantusia riversiana) on San Nicolas Island and monitoring Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) maternal colonies at Point Reyes National Seashore.


  • Population Ecology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Herpetology
  • Bayesian Statistics