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Sarah Converse

Research Ecologist

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Short Biography

Since 2007, Sarah has worked at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, where she is a Research Ecologist in the Quantitative Methods Group. Her research program is built around 2 themes - quantitative population ecology of endangered species and decision analysis applications in endangered species management. 

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Lyons JE, WL Kendall, JA Royle, SJ Converse, BA Andres, and JB Buchanan. 2016. Population size and stopover duration estimation using mark-resight data and Bayesian analysis of a superpopulation model. Biometrics: In Press. [Link]

Brown ME, SJ Converse, JN Chandler, AL Crosier, W Lynch, DE Wildt, CL Keefer, and N Songsasen. 2016. Time within reproductive season, but not age or inbreeding coefficient, influences seminal and sperm quality in the whooping crane (Grus americana). Reproduction, Fertility, and Development: In Press. [Link]

Canessa S, SJ Converse, M West, N Clemman, G Gillespie, M McFadden, A Silla, K Parris, and M McCarthy. 2016. Planning for ex-situ conservation in the face of uncertainty. Conservation Biology: In Press. [Link]

Lunn NJ, S Servanty, EV Regehr, SJ Converse, E Richardson, and I Stirling. 2016. Demography of an apex predator at the edge of its range – impacts of changing sea ice on polar bears in Hudson Bay. Ecological Applications: In Press. [Link]

Converse SJ, LL Bailey, BA Mosher, WC Funk and E Muths. Accepted. A model to inform management actions as a response to chytridiomycosis-associated decline. EcoHealth.

Canessa S, G Guillera-Arroita, J Lahoz-Monfort, DM Southwell, DP Armstrong, I Chadès, RC Lacy and SJ Converse. Accepted. Adaptive management for improving species conservation across the captive-wild spectrum. Biological Conservation.

Converse SJ and DP Armstrong. Accepted. Demographic modeling for reintroduction decision-making. Pages xxx-xxx in DS Jachowski, JJ Millspaugh, PL Angermeier, and R Slotow. Reintroduction of fish and wildlife populations. University of California Press.

Klimstra RL, CE Moorman, SJ Converse, JA Royle, and CA Harper. 2015. Small mammal use of hayed native warm-season and non-native cool-season forage fields. Wildlife Society Bulletin 39(1):49-55 [Link]

Canessa S, G Guillera-Arroita, JJ Lahoz-Monfort, DM Southwell, DP Armstrong, I Chadès, RC Lacy, and SJ Converse. 2015. When do we need more data? A primer on calculating the value of information for applied ecologists. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6(10):1219-1228. [Link]

Royle JA and SJ Converse. 2014. Hierarchical spatial capture-recapture models: modeling population density from replicated capture-recapture experiments. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5(1):37-43. [Link]

Servanty S, SJ Converse, and LL Bailey. 2014. Demography of a reintroduced population: moving toward management models for an endangered species, the whooping crane. Ecological Applications 24(5):927-937 [Link]

Brown ME, RC Doyle, JN Chandler, GH Olsen, JB French Jr, DE Wildt, SJ Converse, CL Keefer, and N Songsasen. 2014. Chromic and iron oxides as fecal markers to identify individual whooping cranes. Proceedings of the North American Crane Workshop 9:68-72. [Link]

Krause A, D Golovin, and SJ Converse. 2014. Sequential decision making in computational sustainability via adaptive submodularity. Artificial Intelligence Magazine 35:8-18. [Link]

Lunn NJ, EV Regehr, S Servanty, SJ Converse, E Richardson, and I Stirling. 2014. Demography and population assessment of polar bears in Western Hudson Bay, Canada. Environment Canada Research Report. [Download File]

Converse SJ, CT Moore, MJ Folk, and MC Runge. 2013. A matter of tradeoffs: reintroduction as a multiple objective decision. Journal of Wildlife Management 77(6):1145:1156. [Link]

Converse SJ, CT Moore, and DP Armstrong. 2013. Demographics of reintroduced populations: estimation, modeling, and decision analysis. Journal of Wildlife Management 77(6):1081-1093. [Link]

Mueller T, RB O'Hara, SJ Converse, RP Urbanek, and WF Fagan. 2013. Social learning of migratory performance. Science 341(6149):999-1002. [Link]

Converse SJ, JA Royle, PH Adler, RP Urbanek, and JA Barzen. 2013. A hierarchical nest survival model integrating incomplete temporally-varying covariates. Ecology and Evolution 3(13):4439-4447. [Link]

Converse SJ, JA Royle, and RP Urbanek. 2012. Bayesian analysis of multi-state data with individual covariates for estimating genetic effects on demography. Journal of Ornithology 152(S2):S561-S572. [Link]

Moore CT, SJ Converse, MJ Folk, MC Runge, and SA Nesbitt. 2012. Evaluating release alternatives for a long-lived bird species under uncertainty about long-term demographic rates. Journal of Ornithology 152(S2):S339-S353. [Link]

Campbell EW, AA Yackel-Adams, SJ Converse, TH Fritts, and GH Rodda. 2012. Do predators control prey species abundance? An experimental test with brown treesnakes on Guam. Ecology 93(5):1194-1203. [Link]

Converse SJ and JA Royle. 2012. Dealing with incomplete and variable detectability in multi-year, multi-site monitoring of ecological populations. Pages 426-442 in RA Gitzen, JJ Millspaugh, AB Cooper, and DS Licht, editors. Design and Analysis of Long-term Ecological Monitoring Studies. Cambridge University Press.

Smith DHV, A Moehrenschlager, N Christensen, D Knapik, K Gibson, and SJ Converse. 2012. Archive eggs: a research and management tool for avian conservation breeding. Wildlife Society Bulletin 36(2): 342-349. [Link]

Smith DHV, SJ Converse, KW Gibson, A Moehrenschlager, WA Link, GH Olsen, and K Maguire. 2011. Decision analysis for conservation breeding: Maximizing production for reintroduction of whooping cranes. Journal of Wildlife Management 75(3):501-508. [Link]

Runge MC, SJ Converse, and JE Lyons. 2011. Which uncertainty? Using expert elicitation and expected value of information to design an adaptive program. Biological Conservation 144(4):1214-1223. [Link]

Converse SJ, KJ Shelley, S Morey, J Chan, A LaTier, C Scafidi, DT Crouse, and MC Runge. 2011. A decision-analytic approach to the optimal allocation of resources for endangered species consultation. Biological Conservation 144(1):319-329. [Link]

Converse SJ. 2011. Appendix C. Structured decision making for energy exploration and development decisions on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf. Pages 243-249 in L Holland-Bartels and B Pierce, editors. An evaluation of the science needs to inform decisions on Outer Continental Shelf energy development in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1370. [Link]

Golovin D, A Krause, B Gardner, SJ Converse, and S Morey. 2011. Dynamic resource allocation in conservation planning. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence 25:1331-1336.

Tyre AJ, JT Peterson, SJ Converse, T Bogich, D Miller, M Post van der Burg, C Thomas, R Thompson, J Wood, DC Brewer, and MC Runge. 2011. Adaptive management of bull trout populations in the Lemhi Basin. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 2:262-281. [Link]

Farris KL, SJ Converse, S Zack, WD Robinson, AJ Amacher, T Contreras, WL Gaines, ES Kilpatrick, JD Lanham, D Miles, G Rompre, KE Sieving, and JC Pierson. 2010. Short-term effects of fire and fire-surrogate treatments on avian nest survival: A national-scale analysis. Open Environmental Sciences 4:53-62. [Link]

Martin J, AF O'Connell Jr., WL Kendall, MC Runge, TR Simons, AH Waldstein, SA Schulte, SJ Converse, GW Smith, T Pinion, M Rikard, and EF Zipkin. 2010. Optimal control of native predators. Biological Conservation 143(7):1751-1758. [Link]

Converse SJ, JN Chandler, GH Olsen, and CC Shafer. 2010. Evaluating propagation method performance over time with Bayesian updating: an application to incubator testing. Proceedings of the North American Crane Workshop 11:110-117. [Link]

Bailey LL, SJ Converse, and WL Kendall. 2010. Bias, precision, and parameter redundancy in complex multistate models with unobservable states. Ecology 91(6):1598-1604. [Link]

Kendall WL, SJ Converse, PF Doherty Jr, MB Naughton, A Anders, JE Hines, and E Flint. 2009. Sampling design considerations for demographic studies: a case of colonial seabirds. Ecological Applications 19(1):55-68. [Link]

Converse SJ, WL Kendall, PF Doherty Jr, and PG Ryan. 2009. Multistate models for estimation of survival and reproduction in the grey-headed albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma). Auk 126(1):77-88. [Link]

Converse SJ, WL Kendall, PF Doherty Jr, MB Naughton, and JE Hines. 2009. A traditional and a less-invasive robust design: choices in optimizing effort allocation for seabird population studies. Pages 727-744 in DL Thomson, EG Cooch, and MJ Conroy, editors. Modeling demographic processes in marked populations. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 3. Springer, New York. [Link]

Moore CT, SJ Converse, MJ Folk, R Boughton, B Brooks, JB French, TE O'Meara, M Putnam, J Rodgers, and M Spalding. 2008. Releases of whooping cranes to the Florida nonmigratory flock: a structured decision-making approach. Report to the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team. [Link]

Mazerolle MJ, LL Bailey, WL Kendall, JA Royle, SJ Converse, and JD Nichols. 2007. Making great leaps forward: Accounting for detectability in herpetological field studies. Journal of Herpetology 41(4):672-689. [Link]

Converse SJ, WM Block, and GC White. 2006. Small mammal population and habitat responses to forest thinning and prescribed fire. Forest Ecology and Management 228(1-3):263-273. [Link]

Converse SJ, GC White, and WM Block. 2006. Small mammal responses to thinning and wildfire in ponderosa pine-dominated forests of the southwestern United States. Journal of Wildlife Management 70(6):1711-1722. [Link]

Converse SJ, GC White, K Farris, and S Zack. 2006. Small mammal responses to forest fuel reduction: national-scale results from the fire and fire surrogate project. Ecological Applications 16(5):1717-1729. [Link]

Iverson JB, SJ Converse, GR Smith, and JM Valiulis. 2006. Long-term trends in the demography of the Allen Cays Rock Iguana (Cyclura cychlura inornata): human disturbance and density-dependent effects. Biological Conservation 132(3):300-310. [Link]

Monroe ME and SJ Converse. 2006. The effects of early season and late season prescribed fires on small mammals in a Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forest. Forest Ecology and Management 236(2-3):229-240. [Link]

Converse SJ, JB Iverson, and JA Savidge. 2005. Demographics of an Ornate Box Turtle population experiencing minimal human-induced disturbances. Ecological Applications 15(6):2171-2179. [Link]

Converse SJ, BG Dickson, GC White, and WM Block. 2004. Estimating small mammal abundance on fuels treatment units in southwestern ponderosa pine forests. Pages 113-120 in C van Riper III and KL Cole, editors. The Colorado Plateau: cultural, biological, and physical research. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. [Link]

Converse SJ and JA Savidge. 2003. Ambient temperature, activity, and microhabitat use by Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata). Journal of Herpetology 37(4):665-670. [Link]

Converse SJ, JB Iverson, and JA Savidge. 2002. Activity, reproduction and overwintering behavior of Ornate Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata) in the Nebraska Sandhills. American Midland Naturalist 148(2):416-422. [Link]


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Plants and Animalsendangered species
Plants and Animalswildlife population management
Techniques and Methodsstatistical analysis

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Examples of Current Projects

Image of Current Focus for Examples of Current Projects

Demography and ecology of the reintroduced Eastern Migratory Population of whooping cranes

Decision analysis for reintroduced populations


Study design and demographic estimation for polar bears


Conservation planning for the boreal toad in the Southern Rocky Mountains, in the face of chytridiomycosis-associated declines


Demography and ecology of albatrosses


Hierarchical spatial capture-recapture models

Contact Information

Sarah Converse
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, MD 20708
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