Susan Skagen, Ph.D.


Susan K. Skagen is a Research Wildlife Biologist at the USGS Fort Collins Science Center, in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dr. Skagen received a Ph.D. in Zoology/Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Washington. Her career-long research activities on birds encompass several topics, including migration stopover ecology of shorebirds and land birds in dynamic ecosystems; forecasting the effects of agricultural practices and climate change on prairie wetlands and the conservation implications for wetland-dependent birds; population demography of declining prairie bird populations; and climate change as a challenge to bird conservation in arid and semi-arid regions of North America. The migration ecology efforts have been extensive in geographic scale, collaborative, and interdisciplinary. Although a traditional empirical field biologist by training, she is increasingly involved in the application of ecological modeling to research and conservation questions. She mentors youth, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and young career scientists. She has served on many committees for scientific societies and intergovernmental conservation efforts, including the Executive Board of the U. S. Shorebird Planning Council and the Monitoring Subcommittee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI), and is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union.


  • Ph.D. Zoology/Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, 1986
  • M.S. Biology, Western Washington University, 1981
  • B.S. Zoology, University of Wisconsin, 1972

Professional Experience

  • 1988 to present: Research Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, Fort Collins, Colorado (formerly U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 8; and National Biological Survey).
  • 1986 to 1988. Acting Assistant Professor, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
  • 1986. Lecturer, Zoology Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.


  • 2005 to present. Affiliate Faculty, Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado


  • North Central Climate Science Center
  • Plains and Prairie Pothole Landscape Conservation Cooperative
  • Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service