Sarah Carter, Ph.D.


Sarah Carter is an ecologist at the Fort Collins Science Center. Her interests lie in landscape, wildlife, and community ecology, and in conservation planning and evaluation. Sarah is interested in how we can manage landscapes to accommodate diverse resource values and uses, informed by monitoring the integrity of landscapes, the effectiveness of planning and management actions, and the potential effects of development on species, ecosystems, and landscapes. Sarah is also interested in finding ways to bridge the research-management gap by involving managers in all stages of producing applied science that is both useful for and used by managers.

Sarah joined the USGS in 2015 and is currently working on a number of projects to help inform management of multiple-use lands in the western US, including developing multiscale assessments and analyses to support implementation of a landscape approach to resource management in the Bureau of Land Management, identifying core, broad-scale indicators, methods, and datasets for quantifying the structure, composition, and function of ecosystems, and developing a framework and process for using broad- and fine-scale monitoring data together to quantify the ecological integrity of rangelands across the west.


  • Ph.D. in Forestry, Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014
  • M.S. in Fisheries, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, 1999
  • B.S. in Mathematics, Lewis and Clark College, 1992

Professional Experience

  • Ecologist (2015 – present), US Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Post-doctoral Research Associate, Landscape Ecology (2014 –2015), University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
  • Research Assistant, Conservation planning and evaluation (2010 –2014), Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Conservation Biologist (2007-2010), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Regional Ecologist (2004-2006), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Fitchburg, Wisconsin
  • Assistant Director (2000-2004), Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin
  • Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat Conservation Plan Data Manager (2001-2002), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Wildlife Damage Biologist (1999-2001), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Research Assistant, Community Ecology (1995-1999), School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • Research Assistant, Marine Mammals (1995), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Fulbright Scholar, Wildlife Biology (1993-1994), National Institute of Amazon Research (INPA), Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil