James Beerens, Ph.D.

Biography

EDUCATION

B.S., Zoology with concentration in Animal Behavior, Michigan State University, 2003

M.S., Integrative Biology, Florida Atlantic University, 2008

Ph.D., Integrative Biology, Florida Atlantic University, 2014

RESEARCH

James Beerens' research program provides quantitative and spatial decision support tools to aid in the conservation of wildlife communities and ecosystems at the human- and invasive-impacted interface.  Short- and long-term management, restoration, and land use decisions require an understanding of species-habitat relationships so that actions promote resiliency to human caused ecological change; now decoupled from the pace of adaptations that happen through natural selection.  For these reasons, Beerens' studies species-habitat relationships and physical drivers of habitat change to inform natural resource management and facilitate resilient responses to rapid change.  In his program, the use of species distribution models provides spatial approaches to practical conservation to detect species sensitivity to habitat change.  He uses competing hypotheses, guided by behavioral ecology, to drive selection of abiotic and biotic environmental drivers of animal ecology and the latest statistical methods to obtain inference. He previously worked for the South Florida Water Management District where he studied wetland community responses to nutrient enrichment as well as developed ecological models of indicator species (e.g., wading birds) to inform water management. He also worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute developing habitat suitability models to guide management of Florida’s imperiled species. A suite of his wading bird models (WADEM) have been applied to forecast potential wildlife responses to Everglades restoration and climate change.