Susan M Haig
Postdoctoral Fellow, 1987-89, Smithsonian Institution
Ph.D. Biology, 1987, Biology, University of North Dakota
B.S. Biology, 1979, Northland College
Conservation genetics, avian behavioral ecology, population connectivity, endangered species policy.
Processes affecting persistence/extinction of small populations, conservation genetics, behavioral ecology of shorebirds, wetland ecology, mating systems, dispersal patterns and population connectivity throughout the annual cycle.
Canoeing, birdwatching, badminton, Irish music
Science and Products
Migratory Connectivity is the geographic linking of individuals or populations between stages of an animal's life cycle. Migration is most often associated with birds, and each year upwards of 5 billion birds worldwide migrate to their breeding or wintering grounds, stopping along the way to eat, rest, or find cover.
Genetic and demographic analyses are key to understanding mechanisms of population and species declines and recovery potential. They are equally important to managers assessing risk of extinction relative to the provisions of the Endangered Species Act, and for establishing recovery goals and planning recovery actions. In addition to the methodologically and conceptually complex nature of...
Predicted climate impacts on arid U.S. Great Basin wetlands will alter their number, distribution, and quality (e.g., salinity). The scarcity and isolation of these wetlands make them essential not only to wildlife but to ranchers, farmers, and urban areas that rely on their ecosystem services. Great Basin wetlands are important habitats for migratory birds at high volumes, but they become...
The Migratory Connectivity Project (MCP) is an effort to research, collect, and provide information about animal movement and full lifecycle biology, particularly for North American bird species, to agencies and NGOs interested in their conservation.
A snapshot of women of the U.S. Geological Survey in STEM and related careers
IntroductionThe term “STEM” has been used to group together the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to describe education and professions related to these fields. The professional fields connected to STEM education are thought of as engineering, medicine, and computer technology. Yet these professional fields are merely...Aragon-Long, Susan C.; Burkett, Virginia R.; Weyers, Holly S.; Haig, Susan M.; Davenport, Marjorie S.; Warner, Kelly L.
Regional variation in drivers of connectivity for two frog species (Rana pretiosa and R. luteiventris) from the U.S. Pacific Northwest
Comparative landscape genetics has uncovered high levels of variability in which landscape factors affect connectivity among species and regions. However, the relative importance of species traits versus environmental variation for predicting landscape patterns of connectivity is unresolved. We provide evidence from a landscape genetics study of...Robertson, Jeanne M.; Murphy, Melanie A.; Pearl, Christopher; Adams, Michael J.; Paez-Vacas, Monica I.; Haig, Susan M.; Pilliod, David S.; Storfer, Andrew; Funk, W. Chris
Isolation by distance versus landscape resistance: Understanding dominant patterns of genetic structure in Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina)
Landscape genetics investigations examine how the availability and configuration of habitat influence genetic structure of plants and animals. We used landscape genetics to evaluate the role that forest connectivity plays in determining genetic structure of the federally-threatened Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) using genotypes...Miller, Mark P.; Davis, Raymond J.; Forsman, Eric D.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Haig, Susan M.
Variation in inbreeding rates across the range of Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina): Insights from over 30 years of monitoring data
Inbreeding has been difficult to quantify in wild populations because of incomplete parentage information. We applied and extended a recently developed framework for addressing this problem to infer inbreeding rates in Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) across the Pacific Northwest, USA. Using pedigrees from 14,187 Northern Spotted...Miller, Mark P.; Haig, Susan M.; Forsman, Eric D.; Anthony, Robert G.; Diller, Lowell; Dugger, Katie M.; Franklin, Alan B.; Fleming, Tracy L.; Gremel, Scott; Lesmeister, Damon B.; Higley, Mark; Herter, Dale R.; Sovern, Stan G
A simplified field protocol for genetic sampling of birds using buccal swabs
DNA sampling is an essential prerequisite for conducting population genetic studies. For many years, blood sampling has been the preferred method for obtaining DNA in birds because of their nucleated red blood cells. Nonetheless, use of buccal swabs has been gaining favor because they are less invasive yet still yield adequate amounts of DNA for...Vilstrup, Julia T.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Miller, Mark P.; McDearman, Will; Walters, Jeffrey R.; Haig, Susan M.
Assessment of distribution and abundance estimates for Mariana swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) via examination of survey methods
We described past and present distribution and abundance data to evaluate the status of the endangered Mariana Swiftlet (Aerodramus bartschi), a little-known echolocating cave swiftlet that currently inhabits 3 of 5 formerly occupied islands in the Mariana archipelago. We then evaluated the survey methods used to attain these estimates via...Johnson, Nathan C.; Haig, Susan M.; Mosher, Stephen M.
Reproductive success of Mariana swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu
Mariana Swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) are federally listed as endangered, with populations currently limited to just three islands in the Mariana Islands plus an introduced population on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu. Before efforts are made to reintroduce Mariana Swiftlets to other islands in the Mariana archipelago, additional information is...Johnson, Nathan C.; Haig, Susan M.; Mosher, Stephen M.; Hollenbeck, Jeff P.
Genetic differentiation and inferred dynamics of a hybrid zone between Northern Spotted Owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) and California Spotted Owls (S. o. occidentalis) in northern California
Genetic differentiation among Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) subspecies has been established in prior studies. These investigations also provided evidence for introgression and hybridization among taxa but were limited by a lack of samples from geographic regions where subspecies came into close contact. We analyzed new sets of samples from...Miller, Mark P.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Forsman, Eric D.; Haig, Susan M.
Estimating inbreeding rates in natural populations: Addressing the problem of incomplete pedigrees
Understanding and estimating inbreeding is essential for managing threatened and endangered wildlife populations. However, determination of inbreeding rates in natural populations is confounded by incomplete parentage information. We present an approach for quantifying inbreeding rates for populations with incomplete parentage information. The...Miller, Mark P.; Haig, Susan M.; Ballou, Jonathan D.; Steel, E. Ashley
Polygamy slows down population divergence in shorebirds
Sexual selection may act as a promotor of speciation since divergent mate choice and competition for mates can rapidly lead to reproductive isolation. Alternatively, sexual selection may also retard speciation since polygamous individuals can access additional mates by increased breeding dispersal. High breeding dispersal should hence increase...Jackson, Josephine D'Urban; dos Remedios, Natalie; Maher, Kathryn; Zefania, Sama; Haig, Susan M.; Oyler-McCance, Sara J.; Blomqvist, Donald; Burke, Terry; Bruford, Michael W.; Székely, Tamás; Küpper, Clemens
Ancient DNA reveals substantial genetic diversity in the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) prior to a population bottleneck
Critically endangered species that have undergone severe population bottlenecks often have little remaining genetic variation, making it difficult to reconstruct population histories to apply in reintroduction and recovery strategies. By using ancient DNA techniques, it is possible to combine genetic evidence from the historical population with...D'Elia, Jesse; Haig, Susan M.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Miller, Mark P.
Genetic diversity and population structure in the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta) in western Oregon and northwestern California— Implications for future translocations and the establishment of new populations
Executive SummaryWe present results of population genetic analyses performed on Oregon silverspot butterflies (OSB; Speyeria zerene hippolyta) in western Oregon and northwestern California. We used DNA sequences from a 561-base pair region of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene for a dataset comprised of 112 S. z. hippolyta...Miller, Mark P.; Mullins, Thomas D.; Haig, Susan M.
USGS science supports management, conservation, and restoration of imperiled, at-risk, and endangered species. Endangered Species Day is commemorated in May, and we’re taking some time to find out just how one goes about studying at-risk species and what part cutting-edge technologies can play in helping us do the science that informs managers and policy makers. Catherine Puckett talks with USGS scientist Dr. Sue Haig about her conservation genetics work on imperiled species.
Federal researchers used landscape genetics to evaluate the role that forest connectivity plays in determining genetic connectivity for the federally-threatened northern spotted owl.
Population genetic studies are driven by DNA sampling, and blood sampling has historically been the preferred method for obtaining DNA.