David Smith



Dave Smith graduated from Colorado State (MS in Fish and Wildlife Biology) and University of Georgia (MS in Statistics and PhD in Forest Resources).  Currently, he is a biological statistician at the USGS Leetown Science Center where he focuses on applied quantitative ecology in support of natural resource management and environmental decision making.


His research activities mostly focus on the following topics:

  • Adaptive sampling of rare and clustered populations
  • Conservation and science of horseshoe crabs in North America and Asia
  • Conservation of freshwater mussels
  • Application of structured decision making and adaptive management to natural resource management

Profile on ResearchGate







Smith, D. R., and T. J. Robinson. 2015. Horseshoe crab spawning activity in Delaware Bay, USA after harvest reduction: a mixed-model analysis. Estuaries and Coasts DOI:10.1007/s12237-015-9961-3[Link]

Smith, D. R., S. E. McRae, T. Augspurger, J. A. Radcliffe, R. B. Nichols, C. B. Eads, T. Savidge, and A. E. Bogan. 2015. Developing a conservation strategy to maximize persistence of an endangered freshwater mussel species while considering management effectiveness and cost. Freshwater Science (in press)

McGowan, C. P., J. E. Lyons, and D. R. Smith. 2015. Developing consensus objectives with multiple stakeholders: adaptive management of horseshoe crabs and red knots in Delaware Bay Environmental Management [Link]

Smith, D. R., C. Snyder, N. Hitt, and P. Geissler. 2014. Monitoring for threshold-dependent decisions. In Ecological thresholds in natural resource management, ed. G. R. Guntenspergen. 87-100. New York: Springer.

Hitt, N.P. and D. R. Smith. 2014. Threshold-dependent sample size requirements for selenium in stream fish. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management [Link]

Smith, D. R., C. P. McGowan, J. P. Daily, J. D. Nichols, J. A. Sweka, and J. E. Lyons. 2013. Evaluating a multi-species adaptive management framework: must uncertainty impede effective decision-making? Journal of Applied Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12145 [Link]

Smith, D. R., C. D. Snyder, N. P. Hitt, S. P. Faulkner, and J. A. Young. 2012. Shale gas extraction and brook trout: scaling best management practices to anticipate cumulative effects. Environmental Practice 14(4):366-381. [Link]

Smith, D. R., N. L. Jackson, K. L. Nordstrom, R. G. Weber. 2011. Beach characteristics mitigate effects of onshore wind on horseshoe crab spawning: implications for matching with shorebird migration in Delaware Bay. Animal Conservation 14:575-584. [Link]

Smith, D. R., J. T. Rogala, B. R. Gray, S. J. Zigler, and T. J. Newton. 2011. Evaluation of single and two-stage adaptive sampling designs for estimation of density and abundance of freshwater mussels in a large river. Rivers Research and Applications 27:122-133. [Link]

Smith, D. R., L. J. Brousseau, M. T. Mandt, and M. J. Millard. 2010. Age and sex specific migration timing and frequency of horseshoe crab spawning in Delaware Bay: insights from a large-scale radio telemetry array. Current Zoology 56(5):563-574. [Download File]

Smith, D. R., M. T. Mandt, and P. D. M. Macdonald. 2009. Proximate causes of sexual size dimorphism in horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) of the Delaware Bay. Journal of Shellfish Research 28:405-417. [Link]

Smith, D. R., M. J. Millard, and R. Carmichael. 2009. Comparative status and assessment of Limulus polyphemus with emphasis on the New England and Delaware Bay populations. Pages 361-386 In J. T. Tanacredi, M. L. Botton, and D. R. Smith, editors. Biology and conservation of Horseshoe Crabs. Springer, NY [Link]


Selected books, monographs, and chapters

Smith, D. R., Y. Lei, C. A. Walter, and J. A. Young. 2012. Incorporating predicted species distribution in conventional and adaptive sampling designs. Pages 381-396 in R. A. Gitzen, et al. (ed.) Design and Analysis of Long-term Ecological Monitoring Studies.  Cambridge

Tanacredi, J. T., M. L. Botton, and D. R. Smith, editors. 2009.  The Biology and Conservation of Horseshoe Crabs. Springer, NY.

Smith, D. R., J. A. Brown, and N. C. H. Lo. 2004. Application of adaptive cluster sampling to biological populations. Pages 77-122 In W. L. Thompson, editor. Sampling rare or elusive species: Concepts, designs, and techniques for estimating population parameters. Island Press, Covelo, CA

Strayer, D. L. and Smith, D. R.  2003. A guide to sampling freshwater mussel populations. American Fisheries Society Monograph No. 8


Selected papers in refereed journals or symposia

Daily, J. P., N. P. Hitt, D. R. Smith, and C. D. Snyder. 2012. Experimental and environmental factors affect spurious detection of ecological thresholds. Ecology 93:17-23.

McGowan, C. P., J. E. Hines, J. D. Nichols, J. E. Lyons, D. R. Smith, P. W. Atkinson, N. A. Clark, M. Dey, P. M. Gonzalez, L. J. Niles, K. S. Kalasz, and W. Kendall. 2011.  Linking red knot survival to the timing and abundance of horseshoe crab spawning in Delaware Bay.  Ecosphere 2(6): art69

McGowan, C. P., D. R. Smith, J. A. Sweka, J. Martin, and J. D. Nichols. 2011.  Multi-species modeling for adaptive management of horseshoe crabs and red knots in the Delaware Bay. Natural Resource Modeling 24:117-156.

Jackson, N. L., K. F. Nordstrom, S. Saini, and D. R. Smith. 2010. Effects of nourishment on the form and function of an estuarine beach.  Ecological Engineering 36:1709-1718. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2010.07.016

Blomquist SM, Johnson TD, Smith DR, Call GP, Miller BN, Thurman WM, McFadden JE, Parkin MJ, Boomer GS.  2010.  Structured decision-making and rapid prototyping to plan a management response to an invasive species. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 1(1):19–32;e1944–687X.doi:10.3996/JFWM-025

Salehi, M., M. Moradi, J. A. Brown, and D. R. Smith. 2010. Efficient estimators for adaptive stratified sequential sampling. Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation 80:1163-1179.

 Jackson, N. L, D. R. Smith, and K. F. Nordstrom. 2008. Physical and chemical changes in the foreshore of an estuarine beach: implications for viability and development of horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) eggs.  Marine Ecology Progress Series.355:209-218.

Smith, D. R.  2007. Effect of horseshoe crab spawning density on nest disturbance and exhumation of eggs: a simulation study.  Estuaries and Coasts 30(2):287-295.

Sweka, J. A., D. R. Smith, and M. J. Millard. 2007. An age-structured population model for horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay area to assess harvest and egg availability for shorebirds. Estuaries and Coasts 30(2):277-286.

Jackson, N.L., D.R. Smith, R. Tiyarattanachi, and K.F. Nordstrom.2007. Evaluation of a small sediment nourishment on an estuarine beach to enhance habitat suitability for horseshoe crabs. Geomorphology 89:172-185.

Smith, D. R., M. J. Millard, S. Eyler.  2006. Abundance of adult horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay estimated from a large-scale mark-recapture study. Fishery Bulletin 104(3):456-464.

Smith, D. R., and S. F. Michels. 2006. Seeing the elephant: importance of spatial and temporal coverage in a large-scale volunteer-based program to monitor horseshoe crabs. Fisheries 31(10):485-491.

Nordstrom, K. F., N. L. Jackson, D. R. Smith, and R. G. Weber. 2006. Transport of horseshoe crab eggs by waves and swash on an estuarine beach: implications for foraging shorebirds.  Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science. 70:438-448.

Pooler, P. S. and D. R. Smith. 2005. Optimal sampling design for estimating spatial distribution and abundance of a freshwater mussel population.  Journal of North American Benthological Society 24(3):525-537.