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Duane Diefenbach, PhD

Unit Leader - Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Upon completion of his Ph.D., Duane worked for the Pennsylvania Game Commission as their biometrician for 7 years. There he began his current research involving grassland sparrows and black bears. Since 1999 he has been a research scientist with the Pennsylvania Unit and enjoys the challenges in integrating rese

Research Interests

Duane's primary research interests focus on empirically evaluating models used to estimate population parameters and how those models are incorporated in management decisions. Consequently, many of his research projects involve game species (white-tailed deer, black bear, and wild turkey). His research has focused on methods of estimating abundance as well as hunter attitudes and behavior and how that influences harvest rates and the spatial distribution of hunter harvest. Recent collaboration with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and DCNR Bureau of Forestry has involved the use of Structured Decision Making in developing management decision tools. Future research will likely work on integrating these tools in a quantitative manner into decision making processes.

However, not all his research involves game species. For over 10 years he has been studying grassland sparrows on reclaimed surface mines in Pennsylvania. There are several endangered and special concerns species that use reclaimed surface mines and he has focused on grasshopper, Savannah, and Henslow's sparrows because they are relatively abundant and are obligate grassland species. His research has focused on methods of estimating abundance and his students have addressed ecological issues related to their use of these habitats.

Teaching Interests

Duane teaches graduate courses in methods of estimating population parameters (WFS 560) and analyzing animal location data.