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Mark Ford, PhD

Mark is a native of eastern Tennessee. He is the Unit Leader of the Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (Ecosystems Mission Area, USGS) at Virginia Tech, College of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Mark previously held scientist positions with the U.S. Army Engineer Research Development Center, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Mark leads research on endangered, threatened, and species of greatest conservation need as well as high-profile game species in the eastern U.S.

Mark and his graduate students lead research on bat habitat use, distribution, population ecology, response to land management and post-White-nose Syndrome sampling methods (endangered Indiana bat, endangered gray bat and threatened northern long-eared bat throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast). His team also studies the Appalachian northern flying squirrel, elk, white-tailed deer, spruce-fir ecology, energy and wildlife, and prescribed burning (fire).Mark and his graduate students lead research on bat habitat use, distribution, population ecology, response to land management and post-White-nose Syndrome sampling methods (endangered Indiana bat, endangered gray bat and threatened northern long-eared bat throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast). His team also studies the Appalachian northern flying squirrel, elk, white-tailed deer, spruce-fir ecology, energy and wildlife, and prescribed burning (fire).

Professional Experience

  • Pathogen-mediated competition explains remnant bat community responses to white-nose syndrome.

  • Analytical assessments in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 3-bat species status assessment.

  • Monitoring and modeling tree bat occurrence using acoustics on structures off the Mid-Atlantic coast—implications for offshore wind development. 

  • White-nose syndrome and environmental correlates to landscape-scale bat presence. 

  • Bat activity patterns relative to temporal and weather in a temperate coastal environment. 

  • Demography of the Appalachian spotted skunk.

  • Predicted spatial distribution of the Eastern spotted skunk in Virginia using detection and non-detection records.

  • Forecasting the distribution of a bat reveals future response to climate change and habitat. 

  • Northern long-eared bat day-roost loss in the Central Appalachian Mountains following prescribed burning (fire).

  • Fire, land cover and temperature drivers of bat activity in the winter.

  • White-nose syndrome-related changes to Mid-Atlantic bat in urban and rural areas.

  • Spatial habitat shared by behavior of Northern flying squirrels. Spatial (habitat shared by several species).

Education and Certifications

  • PhD Forest Resources, University of Georgia, 1994

  • MS Wildlife Ecology, Mississippi State University, 1989

  • BS Wildlife & Fisheries Science, University of Tennessee,1987

  • Certified Wildlife Biologist, The Wildlife Society, 1998

Abstracts and Presentations

  • An update on mid-Atlantic/Northeast Hub activities and estimates of species occupancy, detection and survey effort requirements with recommendations to support the North American Bat Monitoring Program from Maine. 2022 Northeast Bat Working Group. Manchester, New Hampshire. Jan. 12-14, 2022.

  • Broad-scale geographic and temporal assessment of northern long-eared bat maternity colony-landscape association. 2022 Northeast Bat Working Group, Manchester, New Hampshire, January 12-14, 2022

  • Post-white nose syndrome population structure of northern long-eared bats in the eastern United States. 2022 Northeast Bat Working Group, Manchester, New Hampshire, January 12-14, 2022.

  • An update on acoustic sampling level of effort for the Indiana, northern long-eared, little brown and tri-colored bats. 2022 Northeast Bat Working Group. Manchester, New Hampshire, Jan. 12-14, 2022.

  • Fall migration, oceanic movement and site residency patterns of migratory bats on the mid-Atlantic Coast with emphasis on eastern red bats.

  • Advancing a framework in increase community support for utility-scale solar photovoltaics. Solar Power and Wildlife/Natural Resources Symposium, Dec 1-3, 2021.

  • Predation and disease limit population recovery of a cryptic small carnivore, the Appalachian spotted skunk. 28th Annual Meeting of the Wildlife Society, Nov. 1-5, 2021.

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