John French, Jr., Ph.D.
John is the Center Director at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. His scientific training is in terrestrial animal ecology and physiology, and was hired initially at Patuxent to undertake research on wildlife toxicology. John has overseen the work of the Contaminants group, the Systematics group (stationed at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian) and the Endangered Wildlife group. He led the whooping crane restoration program at Patuxent and sits on the US-Canada Whooping Crane Recovery Team.
- Center Director (June 2015 - present)
- Research Manager (Nov 2002 – 2015) USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC), Laurel, MD 20708
- Planning, oversight and implementation of eastern migratory flock reintroduction, through Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership [WCEP: Fed, state, NGO members] and of non-migratory flock reintroduction to coastal Louisiana;
- Member: US-Canada Whooping Crane Recovery Team (FWS) and, Guidance Team (WCEP), Science Advisory Team for Cranes (LADWF)
- Research Wildlife Biologist, (Sept 1993 - Oct 2002) Contaminants Branch, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD 20708
- Research/Teaching Assistant (1983‑91), Department of Zoology and School of Veterinary Medicine, Univ. of Wisconsin‑Madison, Madison, WI;
- Project Specialist, (1982‑83) Bureau of Wildlife Management, Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
- Research Assistant (summers 1977‑79) Nome, AK, NOAA contract to the College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME; ecological research on effects of energy development on colonial seabirds and waterfowl in the northern Bering Sea, Alaska.
- Ph.D. Zoology (major field: Physiological Ecology), 1991, University of Wisconsin‑Madison, Minor fields: ecology of human land use, wildlife toxicology
- M.S. Zoology, 1981, University of Wisconsin‑Madison
- B.S., 1977, University of Wisconsin‑Madison, Madison, WI 53706; (1975-1977)
- Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267; (1972‑1974)
Science and Products
Whooping Cranes past and present
The Whooping Crane (Grus americana), endemic to North America, is the rarest of all crane species. It is believed that in the early 1800s, the Whooping Crane was widespread in North America, though it was never very abundant. Whooping Crane numbers decreased precipitously as westward migration of Euro-American settlers converted ...French, John B.; Converse, Sarah J.; Austin, Jane E.
Toxic exposure of songbirds to lead in the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District
Mining and smelting in the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District has caused widespread contamination of soils with lead (Pb) and other metals. Soils from three study sites sampled in the district contained from approximately 1,000–3,200 mg Pb/kg. Analyses of earthworms [33–4,600 mg Pb/kg dry weight (dw)] collected in the district...Beyer, W. Nelson; Franson, J. Christian; French, John B.; May, Thomas; Rattner, Barnett A.; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie I.; Warner, Sarah E.; Weber, John; Mosby, David
Toxic effects of dietary methylmercury on immune system development in nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius)
This study evaluated the effects of dietary methylmercury (MeHg) on immune system development in captive-reared nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius) to determine whether T cell–mediated and antibody-mediated adaptive immunity are targets for MeHg toxicity at environmentally relevant concentrations. Nestlings received various diets,...Fallacara, Dawn M.; Halbrook, Richard S.; French, John B.
Toxic effects of dietary methylmercury on immune function and hematology in American kestrels (Falco sparverius)
Fifty-nine adult male American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were assigned to one of three diet formulations including 0 (control), 0.6, and 3.9 μg/g (dry wt) methylmercury (MeHg). Kestrels received their diets daily for 13 weeks to assess the effects of dietary MeHg on immunocompetence. Immunotoxic endpoints included assessment of cell-mediated...Fallacara, Dawn M.; Halbrook, Richard S.; French, John B.
A physiologically based toxicokinetic model for methylmercury in female American kestrels
A physiologically based toxicokinetic (PBTK) model was developed to describe the uptake, distribution, and elimination of methylmercury (CH 3Hg) in female American kestrels. The model consists of six tissue compartments corresponding to the brain, liver, kidney, gut, red blood cells, and remaining carcass. Additional compartments describe the...Nichols, J.W.; Bennett, R.S.; Rossmann, R.; French, John B.; Sappington, K.G.
Mercury in the blood and eggs of American kestrels fed methylmercury chloride
American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were fed diets containing methylmercury chloride (MeHg) at 0, 0.6, 1.7, 2.8, 3.9, or 5.0 µg/g (dry wt) starting approximately eight weeks before the onset of egg laying. Dietary treatment was terminated after 12 to 14 weeks, and unhatched eggs were collected for Hg analysis. Blood samples were collected after...French, John B.; Bennett, Richard S.; Rossmann, Ronald
Dietary toxicity and tissue accumulation of methylmercury in American kestrels
American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were fed meat diets containing 0, 3, 6, or 12 ppm (dry weight) methylmercury chloride. Birds fed the 12-ppm diet started to show signs of neurotoxicity after 26 days and all died in 39?49 days. One male kestrel fed the 6-ppm diet died after 75 days of exposure and several others showed signs of neurotoxicity...Bennett, Richard S.; French, John B.; Rossmann, Ronald; Haebler, Romona J.
A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Information Related to the Biology and Management of Species of Special Concern at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
The U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) conducted a study for the National Park Service (NPS) Southeast Region, Atlanta, GA, and Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CAHA) in North Carolina to review, evaluate, and summarize the available scientific information for selected species of concern at CAHA (piping plovers, sea...Cohen, Jonathan B.; Erwin, R. Michael; French, John B.; Marion, Jeffrey L.; Meyers, J. Michael
Experimental infection of a North American raptor, American kestrel (Falco sparverius), with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1)
Several species of wild raptors have been found in Eurasia infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) subtype H5N1. Should HPAIV (H5N1) reach North America in migratory birds, species of raptors are at risk not only from environmental exposure, but also from consuming infected birds and carcasses. In this study we used American...Hall, Jeffrey S.; Ip, Hon S.; Franson, J.C.; Meteyer, C.; Nashold, Sean W.; Teslaa, Joshua L.; French, J.; Redig, P.; Brand, C.
Releases of whooping cranes to the Florida nonmigratory flock: a structured decision-making approach: report to the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team, September 22, 2008
We used a structured decision-making approach to inform the decision of whether the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission should request of the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team that additional whooping crane chicks be released into the Florida Non-Migratory Population (FNMP). Structured decision-making is an application of...Moore, Clinton T.; Converse, Sarah J.; Folk, Martin J.; Boughton, Robin; Brooks, Bill; French, John B.; O'Meara, Timothy; Putnam, Michael; Rodgers, James; Spalding, Marilyn
Endocrine effects of the herbicide linuron on the American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Certain contaminants alter normal physiological function, morphology, and behavior of exposed organisms through an endocrine mechanism. We evaluated how the herbicide linuron, an endocrine-active compound, affects physiological parameters and secondary sex characteristics of the American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis). When administered at...Sughrue, K.M.; Brittingham, M.C.; French, J.B.
Effects of methylmercury on reproduction in American kestrels
Sixty breeding pairs of captive American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were exposed to a range of sublethal dietary concentrations of mercury (Hg), in the form of methylmercuric chloride, and their subsequent reproduction was measured. Egg production, incubation performance, and the number and percent of eggs hatched decreased markedly between 3.3...Albers, P.H.; Koterba, M.T.; Rossmann, R.; Link, W.A.; French, J.B.; Bennett, R.S.; Bauer, W.C.
Title: What's in a species Name?: How wildlife management relies on modern systematics research and museum collections
* What have museum collections taught us about invasive diseases?
* When is an endangered species not a species?
* How can birds in a museum help protect airline passengers?
* How do geology and biology govern what species we find on