Research Expertise and Interest

conservation biology, climate change, endangered species, environmental science, wildlife, behavioral and population ecology, ornithology

Research Description

Steven Beissinger is a Professor of Ecology and Conservation Biology.   The Beissinger Lab studies conservation, behavior and population biology toward the goals of understanding the influence of climate change, managing endangered or commercially-valuable wildlife, or by understanding the factors shaping life histories to satisfy our curiosity about how nature works. Their research combines intensive field studies based on quantitative sampling with field or lab experimentation, and modeling. Recent work has been done in California, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.

His current research focuses on:

  1. Response of California birds and mammals to 20th century climate change as part of the Grinnell Resurvey Project
  2. Metapopulation biology of cryptic rails in a working landscape
  3. Avian parental care strategies and population dynamics
  4. Long term studies of behavioral and evolutionary ecology of parrotlets in Venezuela
  5. Ecology of endangered or exploited species

With his students and collaborators, they have published over 175 scientific articles.  He is senior editor of the books Population Viability Analysis (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and New World Parrots in Crisis: Solutions from Conservation Biology (Smithsonian Press, 1992). He teaches courses in conservation biology, population viability, and behavioral and population ecology.

Read more about his research in the Beissinger Lab website.

In the News

In a desert seared by climate change, burrowers fare better than birds

In the arid Mojave Desert, small burrowing mammals like the cactus mouse, the kangaroo rat and the white-tailed antelope squirrel are weathering the hotter, drier conditions triggered by climate change much better than their winged counterparts, finds a new study published today in Science.

UC Berkeley leads new assessment of Bay Area climate impacts

California today issued its latest assessment of the many challenges the state faces from climate change — including wildfires like those still raging throughout the state – and highlighted for the first time the regional impacts with nine deep-dive reports spearheaded by University of California scientists.

Biologists try to dig endangered pupfish out of its hole

Scientists estimate that fewer than 100 Devils Hole pupfish remain in their Mojave Desert home, but a conservation biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, is giving important guidance in the efforts to rescue them by establishing a captive breeding program.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
February 18, 2021
Deborah Sullivan Brennan
In the struggle to survive the ever hotter deserts of California, there are winners and losers.
October 4, 2019
Amina Khan
After a Berkeley study last year found that bird populations in the Mojave Desert were collapsing, likely due to climate change, a new one suggests that the key factor causing the decline is heat stress. The birds are finding it difficult to stay hydrated, and that makes them unable to stay cool. The study, led by environmental science, policy, and management professor Steven Beissinger, builds on more than 100 years' worth of data that was first collected by Berkeley ecologist Joseph Grinnell in 1904. "It's quieter out there than it used to be," Professor Beissinger says. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Another story on this topic appeared on KQED Online.
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