New faculty profile: Benjamin Zuckerberg

Benjamin Zuckerberg joined the faculty of the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology as an assistant professor last August.

Please describe your career path up to this point.
I was lucky enough to start studying birds as an undergraduate at Connecticut College, and went on to get my Masters in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After spending several years studying birds in the field, I became interested in how the environment influences bird populations at geographic scales. I received my Ph.D. from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry where I focused on studying range shifts in bird distributions as a consequence of climate change. This research segued into spending three great years as a postdoc and research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

What is the main focus of your research program?
My research focuses on how forces of climate change and habitat loss influence bird behavior and distribution. I am a strong advocate for the role of volunteers and the public in collecting data on bird populations. Using the data from these “citizen science” programs, my research program focuses on quantifying long-term shifts range boundaries, understanding the use of microclimates by wintering birds, and how wildlife populations respond to habitat loss. My lab works closely with natural resource agencies to better understand the ecological consequences of climate change and develop sound guidance for the adaptive management of complex ecological systems.

What drew you to UW-Madison?
UW-Madison has always been an institution that blazed a path in fields such as landscape ecology, wildlife management, and geographic sciences. It was an easy decision to join such a vibrant and collaborative research community. Although I have spent the majority of my life in the northeastern United States, I have come to appreciate all that Madison has to offer.