Diann Prosser, Ph.D.
Diann Prosser is a research wildlife ecologist at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. She began working at Patuxent in 1999. Her background is in wetland ecology and ornithology and her research interests include using spatial modeling techniques to help answer questions related to wildlife and stressors such as climate change and disease.
- B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science (1995) from the Pennsylvania State University
- M.S. in Ecology (1998) from the Pennsylvania State University
- Ph.D. (2012) from the University of Maryland’s Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences interdisciplinary ecology program
- 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
- University of Maryland Goldhaber Travel Grant
- 2011 NSF SGER Grant
- 2007 NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes
- 2005 University of Maryland Nagel Travel Grant
- 2005 USGS, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Star Award 2000
Recently Hosted Visiting Scientists from Chinese Academy of Sciences (2012-2013)
Science and Products
The Challenge: Disease risk modeling can be an important tool for identifying areas of high transmission risk within and between animal populations, allowing for strategic allocation of limited resources for disease surveillance and prevention. Acquiring a spatial understanding of the distributions of high risk populations is a critical first step in developing predictive disease transmission...
The Challenge: The susceptibility and pathogenesis of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) has not been characterized in numerous duck species, especially diving ducks (genera Melanitta, Aythya, and Oxyura), some of which migrate across the continental US. The few studies available (on Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula) suggest that they may shed high amounts of virus, but it is unclear...
The Challenge: Climate change and sea level rise are expected to affect many miles of shoreline in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast in the coming years. In this scenario, federal and state agencies need to make more detailed assessments of how different watersheds and shoreline types might influence an array of ecosystem functions and components. Recently, most states...
The Challenge: In December of 2014, a novel strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) caused an outbreak in poultry on the West coast of the United States. From there, the virus progressed steadily eastward, causing $3.3 billion in economic losses in addition to 50 million chickens or turkeys dying or being depopulated. While the primary mode of spread appears to be via the poultry...
The Challenge: A number of coastal states have been altering marshes for mosquito control since the early 1900s, but for the past four decades, changes have been made in the methods used to alter high-marsh environments. However, in most states, research and monitoring activities are still needed to inform the management methods employed. Although modern Open Marsh Water Management (OMWM)...
The Challenge: Changes in aquatic ecosystems related to climate change phenomena or other anthropogenically based environmental stressors have significant impact on the dynamics of the host-pathogen-environment relationship, often with surprising results. Therefore, biosurveillance of the aquatic environment for pathogens of significance to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to...
The Challenge: Following outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Eurasia, many researchers have attempted to determine how this virus spreads across the landscape. Unfortunately, prior to this work, most studies on HPAI movements were based on virology data alone, and no information on host ecology. Beginning in 2007, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) and Western...
The Challenge: Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAI) of certain subtypes primarily infect poultry, causing disease outbreaks and negative socio-economic impacts on poultry farming depending on the characteristics of biosecurity and the virus strain. HPAI viruses seem to be adapted to artificial ecosystems including poultry farming, free-ranging duck production, and live bird markets...
The Challenge: For several decades, the US Army Corps of Engineers, along with numerous state and federal partners, have been creating and restoring islands with dredged materials from navigation channels in the Bay. Natural resources management goals have guided restoration plans for these islands since the mid 1990’s. The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center has been the only USGS science...
The Challenge: Concern has been raised over productivity of two important tern species that have colonized Poplar Island Environmental Restoration Project (PIERP): the Maryland state-listed Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) and Common Tern (Sterna hirundo). Over the 14 year monitoring period at PIERP (beginning 2002), hatching and fledging success of these species has been variable, believed to...
Using Advanced Technology to Enhance Research at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) - a Public-Private Partnership
The Challenge: Threats such as habitat loss, increased severity of storm events, and emerging diseases are affecting wildlife populations, with particular concern for threatened and migratory species. Surveys for measuring populations and breeding productivity for various species have been utilized for many years; however, they can be intrusive leading to aggressive behavior of adults or even...
Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay
This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.
Low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in wild migratory waterfowl in a region of high poultry production, Delmarva, Maryland
This data set is comprised of four files related to the biosurveillance of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) in migratory waterfowl at 22 locations in the Maryland portion of the Delmarva Peninsula in fall/winter of 2013-2014.
Investigating home range, movement pattern, and habitat selection of Bar-headed Geese during breeding season at Qinghai Lake, China
The Bar-headed Goose is an important species in Asia, both culturally and ecologically. While prior studies have shown Qinghai Lake supports one of the largest breeding areas for Bar-headed Geese, little is known regarding the species movement ecology during the breeding season. In this study, we examined Bar-headed Goose home range size within...Zheng, Ruobing; Smith, Lacy M.; Prosser, Diann J.; Takekawa, John Y.; Newman, Scott H.; Sullivan, Jeffery D.; Luo, Ze; Yan, Baoping
Preliminary evaluation of behavioral response of nesting waterbirds to small unmanned aircraft flight
Small unmanned aircraft systems present an emerging technology with the potential to survey colonial waterbird populations while reducing disturbance in comparison to traditional ground counts. Recent research with these systems has been performed on some colonially nesting avian species; however, none have focused on wading bird species. During...Reintsma, Kaitlyn; McGowan, Peter C.; Callahan, Carl R.; Collier, Tom; Gray, David; Sullivan, Jeffery D.; Prosser, Diann J.
Effects of local shoreline and subestuary watershed condition on waterbird community integrity: Influences of geospatial scale and season in the Chesapeake Bay
In many coastal regions throughout the world, there is increasing pressure to harden shorelines to protect human infrastructures against sea level rise, storm surge, and erosion. This study examines waterbird community integrity in relation to shoreline hardening and land use characteristics at three geospatial scales: (1) the shoreline scale...Prosser, Diann J.; Nagel, Jessica L.; Howlin, Shay; Marban, Paul; Day, Daniel D.; Erwin, R. Michael
Impacts of coastal land use and shoreline armoring on estuarine ecosystems: An introduction to a special issue
The nearshore land-water interface is an important ecological zone that faces anthropogenic pressure from development in coastal regions throughout the world. Coastal waters and estuaries like Chesapeake Bay receive and process land discharges loaded with anthropogenic nutrients and other pollutants that cause eutrophication, hypoxia, and other...Prosser, Diann J.; Jordan, Thomas E.; Nagel, Jessica L.; Seitz, Rochelle D.; Weller, Donald E.; Whigham, Dennis F.
Use of Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) burrows as shelter by Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) chicks
The availability of shelter to avoid predation and ameliorate physiologically stressful conditions is often important to the survival of avian hatchlings. However, as changes in habitat availability force birds to nest in nontraditional locations, young must quickly adapt to using novel sources of shelter. Two Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) colonies...McGowan, Peter C.; Reintsma, Kaitlyn; Sullivan, Jeffery D.; DeVoss, Katie P.; Wall, Jennifer L.; Zimnik, Mia D.; Callahan, Carl R.; Schultz, Bill; Prosser, Diann J.
Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic landscape connectivity
Context High-resolution animal movement data are becoming increasingly available, yet having a multitude of empirical trajectories alone does not allow us to easily predict animal movement. To answer ecological and evolutionary questions at a population level, quantitative estimates of a species’ potential to link patches or populations are of...van Toor, Mariëlle L.; Kranstauber, Bart; Newman, Scott H.; Prosser, Diann J.; Takekawa, John Y.; Technitis, Georgios; Weibel, Robert; Wikelski, Martin; Safi, Kamran
The aerosphere as a network connector of organisms and their diseases
Aeroecological processes, especially powered flight of animals, can rapidly connect biological communities across the globe. This can have profound consequences for evolutionary diversification, energy and nutrient transfers, and the spread of infectious diseases. The latter is of particular consequence for human populations, since migratory birds...Ross, Jeremy D.; Bridge, Eli S.; Prosser, Diann J.; Takekawa, John Y.
Species distribution modeling in regions of high need and limited data: waterfowl of China
BackgroundA number of conservation and societal issues require understanding how species are distributed on the landscape, yet ecologists are often faced with a lack of data to develop models at the resolution and extent desired, resulting in inefficient use of conservation resources. Such a situation presented itself in our attempt to develop...Prosser, Diann J.; Ding, Changqing; Erwin, R. Michael; Mundkur, Taej; Sullivan, Jeffery D.; Ellis, Erle C.
Could changes in the agricultural landscape of northeastern China have influenced the long-distance transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5Nx viruses?
In the last few years, several reassortant subtypes of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAI H5Nx) have emerged in East Asia. These new viruses, mostly of subtype H5N1, H5N2, H5N6, and H5N8 belonging to clade 220.127.116.11, have been found in several Asian countries and have caused outbreaks in poultry in China, South Korea, and Vietnam. HPAI...Gilbert, Marius; Prosser, Diann J.; Zhang, Geli; Artois, Jean; Dhingra, Madhur S.; Tildesley, Michael J.; Newman, Scott H.; Guo, Fusheng; Black, Peter; Claes, Filip; Kalpradvidh, Wantanee ; Shin, YeunKyung; Jeong, Wooseog ; Takekawa, John Y.; Lee, Hansoo; Xiao, Xiangming
High altitude flights by ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea during trans-Himalayan migrations
Birds that migrate across high altitude mountain ranges are faced with the challenge of maintaining vigorous exercise in environments with limited oxygen. Ruddy shelducks are known to use wintering grounds south of the Tibetan Plateau at sea level and breeding grounds north of Himalayan mountain range. Therefore, it is likely these shelducks are...Parr, N.; Bearhop, S.; Douglas, David C.; Takekawa, J.Y.; Prosser, Diann J.; Newman, S.H.; Perry, W.M.; Balachandran, S.; Witt, M.J.; Hou, Y.; Luo, Z.; Hawkes, L.A.
Surveillance for highly pathogenic influenza A viruses in California during 2014–2015 provides insights into viral evolutionary pathways and the spatiotemporal extent of viruses in the Pacific Americas Flyway
We used surveillance data collected in California before, concurrent with, and subsequent to an outbreak of highly pathogenic (HP) clade 18.104.22.168 influenza A viruses (IAVs) in 2014–2015 to (i) evaluate IAV prevalence in waterfowl, (ii) assess the evidence for spill-over infections in marine mammals and (iii) genetically characterize low-pathogenic...Ramey, Andrew M.; Hill, Nichola J.; Cline, Troy; Plancarte, Magdalena; De La Cruz, Susan; Casazza, Michael L.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Fleskes, Joseph; Vickers, T. Winston; Reeves, Andrew B.; Gulland, Frances; Fontaine, Christine; Prosser, Diann J.; Runstadler, Jonathan; Boyce, Walter M.
The pathogenesis of clade 22.214.171.124 H5 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) and Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Waterfowl are the natural hosts of avian influenza virus (AIV) and disseminate the virus worldwide through migration. Historically, surveillance and research efforts for AIV in waterfowl have focused on dabbling ducks. The role of diving ducks in AIV ecology has not been well characterized. In this study, we examined the relative susceptibility...Spackman, Erica; Prosser, Diann J.; Pantin-Jackwood, Mary J.; Berlin, Alicia; Stephens, Christopher B.
Due to the global threat to health and human safety posed by avian influenza monitoring has been conducted in the United States to determine the prevalence of such viruses in our wild waterfowl.