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Kristen Hart

Research Ecologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

Boston College, Bachelor of Science, 1997
Duke University, Master’s of Environmental Management (Coastal Environmental Management), 1999
Duke University, Doctor of Philosophy (Ecology), 2005
Current position: Research Ecologist (1998-present)
Kristen is a research ecologist, focusing on population-level studies on the ecology of a broad array of herpetofauna and other wildlife in south Florida. She leads several research programs and collaborates closely with other USGS, university, and National Park Service scientists. She has built a program of USGS cyclic- and reimbursable funded research; major funding has been provided from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the USGS Priority Ecosystem Studies Program, the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program, and the National Park Service. She works with rare, threatened, endangered, and invasive species of reptiles including Diamondback terrapins, loggerhead sea turtles, green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, crocodilians, and Burmese pythons. She is based in Davie, FL and has field sites in both Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks in South Florida, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (Gulf Shores, AL), and Buck Island Reef National Monument (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands).



2015/In press


Lamont MM, Putman N, Fujisaki I, Hart KM (2015) Spatial requirements of different life-stages of loggerhead turtles from a Distinct  Population Segment in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 10(1):26-43.


Hart KM, Cherkiss MS, Smith BJ, Mazzotti FJ, Fujisaki I, Snow RW, Dorcas ME (2015) Home range, habitat use, and movement patterns of non-native Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. Animal Biotelemetry (2015) 3:8, DOI 10.1186/s40317-015-0022-2.


Hunter ME, Oyler-McCance SJ, Reed RN, Fike JA, Smith BJ, Hunter CT, Hart KM (2015) Environmental DNA can enhance detection probability and range delimitation for invasive Burmese pythons and other giant constrictors. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121655, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121655.


Hart KM, Sartain AR, Fujisaki I (2015). Bahamas connection: Residence areas selected by breeding female loggerheads tagged in Dry Tortugas National Park, USA. Animal Biotelemetry (2015) 3:3, DOI 10.1186/s40317-014-0019-2.


McCleery RA, Sovie A, Reed RN, Cunningham MW, Hunter ME, Hart KM (2015) Marsh rabbit mortalities tie pythons to the precipitous decline of mammals in the Everglades. Proc. R. Soc. B 282: 20150120.


Smith BJ, Rochford MR, Brien M, Cherkiss MS,Mazzotti FJ, Snow S, Hart KM (2015) Largest Breeding Aggregation of Brumese Pythons and Implication for Potential Development of a Control Tool. ICRF Amphibians and Reptiles 22(1):16-19.


Vander Zanden HB, Tucker AD, Hart KM, Lamont ML, Fujisaki I, Addison DS, Mansfield KL, Phillips KF, Wunder MB, Bowen GJ, Pajuelo M, Bolten AB, Bjorndal KA (2015) Determining origin in a migratory marine vertebrate: a novel method to integrate stable isotopes and satellite tracking. Ecological Applications 25(2):320-335.




Hart KM, Zawada DG, Sartain AR, Fujisaki I (2014) Breeding loggerhead marine turtles Caretta caretta in Dry Tortugas National Park, USA show high fidelity to diverse habitats near nesting beaches. Oryx doi:10.1017/S0030605314000854.


Shamblin BM, Bagley DA, Ehrhart LM, Desjardin NA, Martin RE, Hart KM, Naro-Maciel E, Rusenko K, Stiner JC, Sobel D, Johnson C, Wilmers TJ, Wright LJ, Nairn CJ (2014) Genetic structure of Florida green turtle rookeries as indicated by mitochondrial DNA control region sequences. Conservation Genetics DOI 10.1007/s10592-014-0692-y.


Catano CP, Beerens J, Brandt L, Hart KM, Mazzotti FJ, Romanach S, Pearlstine L, Trexler JC (2014) Using scenario planning to evaluate the impacts of climate change on wildlife populations and communities in the Florida Everglades. Environmental Management,


Hart KM, Lamont ML, Sartain AR, Fujisaki I (2014) Residency and foraging patters of Northern Gulf loggerheads: Implications of local threats and international movements. PLoS ONE 9(7): e103453. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103453.



Fujisaki I, Hart KM, Mazzotti FJ, Cherkiss MS, Sartain AS, Jeffery B, Beauchamp J, Denton M (2014) Home range and movements of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in an estuary habitat. Animal Biotelemetry 2014,2:8,


Pittman SE, Hart KM, Cherkiss MS, Snow RW, Fujisaki I, Smith BJ, Mazzotti FJ, Dorcas ME (2014) Homing of invasive Burmese pythons is South Florida: evidence for map and compass senses in snakes. Biology Letters 10: 20140040.


Hart KM, Hunter M, King TL (2014) Regional differentiation among populations of the Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). Conservation Genetics. 10.1007/s10592-014-0563-6.




Shaver DJ, Hart KM, Fujisaki I, Rubio C, Sartain AR (2013) Movement mysteries unveiled: Spatial ecology of juvenile green sea turtles. In: Reptiles in Research: Investigations of Ecology, Physiology, and Behavior from Desert to Sea, Lutterschmidt WI, Ed. 463-484, Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


Hart KM, Lamont MM, Sartain AR, Fujisaki I, Stephens BS (2013) Movements and Habitat-Use of Loggerhead Sea Turtles in the Northern Gulf of Mexico during the Reproductive Period. PLoS ONE 8(7): e66921. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066921.


Shaver DJ, Hart KM, Fujisaki I, Rubio C, Sartain AR, Peña J, Burchfield PM, Gomez Gamez D, Ortiz J (2013) Foraging area fidelity for Kemp’s ridleys in the Gulf of Mexico. Ecology and Evolution, doi: 10.1002/ece3.594.


Bjorndal KA, Schroeder BA, Foley AM, Witherington BE, Bresette M, Clark D, Herren RM, Arendt MD, Schmid JR, Meylan AB, Meylan PA, Provancha JA, Hart KM, Lamont MM, Carthy  RR, Bolten AB (2013) Temporal and spatial variation in growth rates of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the Northwest Atlantic. Marine Biology, DOI 10.1007/s00227-013-2264-y.


Hart KM, Zawada DG, Fujisaki I, Lidz BH (2013) Habitat use of breeding green turtles Chelonia mydas tagged in Dry Tortugas National Park: Making use of local and regional MPAs. Biological Conservation Conservation 161:142-154, 


Hart KM, Sartain AR, Hillis-Starr Z-M, Phillips B, Mayor PA, Roberson K, Pemberton RA Jr, Allen JB, Lundgren I, Musick S (2013) Ecology of juvenile hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) at Buck Island Reef National Monument, US Virgin Islands. Marine Biology DOI 10.1007/s00227-013-2249-x.


Hunter ME, Hart KM (2013) Rapid microsatellite marker development using next generation pyrosequencing to inform invasive Burmese python – Python molurus bivittatus – management. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 14(3):4793-4804.




Fujisaki I, Mazzotti FJ, Hart KM, Rice KG, Ogurcak D, Rochford M, Jeffery BM, Brandt LA, Cherkiss MS (2012) Use of alligator hole abundance and occupancy rate as indicators for restoration of a human-altered wetland. Ecological Indicators 23:627-633.


Krysko KL, Hart KM, Smith BJ, Selby TH, Cherkiss MS, Coutu NT, Reichart RM, Nuňez, Mazzotti FJ, Snow RW (2012) Record length, mass, and clutch size in the Nonindigenous Burmese Python, Python bivittatus Kuhl 1820 (Squamata: Pythonidae), in Florida. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 19(4):267-20.


Hart KM, Sartain AR, Fujisaki I, Pratt HLJr, Morley D, Feeley MW (2012) Home range, habitat use and migrations of hawksbill turtles tracked from Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series 457:193-207, doi: 10.3354/meps09744.


Hart KM, Lamont MM, Fujisaki I, Tucker AD, Carthy RR (2012) Common coastal foraging areas for loggerheads in the Gulf of Mexico: opportunities for marine conservation. Biological Conservation 145:185-194.


Mazzotti FJ, Cherkiss MS, Brandt LA, Fujisaki I, Hart KM, Jeffery B, McMurry ST, Platt SG, Rainwater TR, Vinci J (2012) Body Condition of Morelet’s Crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii) from Northern Belize. Journal of Herpetology 46(3):356–362.


Dorcas ME, Willson JD, Reed RN, Snow RW, Rochford MR, Miller MA, Meshaka WE Jr, Andreadis PT, Mazzotti FJ, Romagosa CM, Hart KM (2012) Severe mammal declines coincide with proliferation of invasive Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,


Hart KM, Schofield PJ, Gregoire DR (2012) Experimentally derived salinity tolerance of hatchling Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) from the Everglades, Florida (USA). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 413:56–59.


Hart KM, Fujisaki I, Sartain AR (2012) Chapter 5: Use of Dry Tortugas National Park by threatened and endangered marine turtles.  Pp 28-33. In:  Ziegler, T.A. and Hunt, J., editors.  2012. Implementing the Dry Tortugas National Park Research Natural Area Science Plan: The 5-Year Report 2012.  South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, Homestead, FL, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, FL.  63 pp,




Hart KM, Crowder LB (2011) Mitigating bycatch of diamondback terrapins in crab pots. Journal of Wildlife Management 75(2):264-272, DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.49.


Reed RN, Hart KM, Rodda GH, Mazzotti FJ, Snow RW, Cherkiss MS, Rozar R, Goetz S (2011) A field test of attractant traps for invasive Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) in southern Florida. Wildlife Research 38:114–121.




Hart KM, Zawada DG, Fujisaki I, Lidz BH (2010) Inter-nesting habitat-use patterns of loggerhead sea turtles: Enhancing satellite tracking with benthic mapping. Aquatic Biology 11:77-90.


Hart KM, Fujisaki I (2010) Satellite tracking reveals habitat use by juvenile green sea turtles Chelonia mydas in the Everglades, Florida, USA. Endangered Species Research 11:221-232, doi:10.3354/esr00284.


Mazzotti FJ, Cherkiss MS, Hart KM, Snow S, Rochford MR, Dorcas ME, Reed R (2010) Cold-induced mortality of invasive Burmese Pythons in south Florida. Biological Invasions, DOI 10.1007/s10530-010-9797-5.


Hart KM (2010) Use of protected areas by threatened and endangered marine turtles in the Dry Tortugas Pg:12-13, In: Hallac, D and J. Hunt, editors. Implementing the Dry Tortugas National Park Research Natural Areas Science Plan: the 3-year report. South Florida Natural Resources Center, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, Homestead, FL, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, FL. 37 pp.


Zawada DG, Hart KM (2010) Detailed seafloor habitat mapping to enhance marine-resource management. USGS Fact Sheet 2010-3090.




Fujisaki I, Hart KM, Mazzotti FJ, Rice, KG, Snow R, Rochford MR (2009) Risk Assessment of Potential Invasiveness of Exotic Reptiles to South Florida Based on Import Pathway. Biological Invasionsdoi 10.1007/s10530-009-9667-1.


Hart KM, Hyrenbach KD (2009) Satellite Telemetry of Marine Megavertebrates: The Coming of Age of an Experimental Science. Endangered Species Research 10:9-20doi: 10.3354/esr00238.


Avissar NA, Hart KM, Crowder LB, Marsh J, Gannon J (2009) At loggerheads: evidence of Loggerhead sea turtle damage to gear used in the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) fisheryNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management 29:163–169.




Hart KM, McIvor CC (2008) Demography and ecology of mangrove Diamondback terrapins in a wilderness area of Everglades National Park, Florida, USA. Copeia 2008(1):200-208.




FitzSimmons N, Hart KM (2007) Genetic Studies of freshwater turtles and tortoises: a review of the past 70 Years. In Shaffer, H.B., Fitzsimmons, N.N. Georges A. and Rhodin, A. (Eds). Defining turtle diversity: Proceedings of a workshop on genetics, ethics, and taxonomy of freshwater turtles and tortoises. Chelonian Research Monographs 4:15-46.


Hart KM, Langtimm CA, McIvor CC (2007) Adult survival, probability of capture, and abundance estimates for mangrove Diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) in Everglades National Park, Florida. Bulletin of Marine Science 80(3):922.





Hart KM, Mooreside P, Crowder LB (2006) Interpreting the spatio-temporal patterns of sea turtle strandings: Going with the flow. Biological Conservation 129(2):283-290.


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Oceans and Coastlinescoastal ecosystems
Oceans and Coastlinesmarine ecosystems
Oceans and Coastlinesocean processes
Oceans and Coastlinessea-level change
Ecology and Environmentbenthic ecosystems
Ecology and Environmentbiodiversity
Ecology and Environmentbiogeography
Ecology and Environmentecological processes
Ecology and Environmentecosystem diversity
Ecology and Environmentecosystem functions
Ecology and Environmentecosystems
Ecology and Environmentestuarine ecosystems
Ecology and Environmenthabitats
Ecology and Environmentisland ecosystems
Ecology and Environmentwetlands
Natural Resourcesmarine fisheries
Natural Resourcesnatural resource management

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Climate Variability & Change

The Role of Environment and Wildlife in Human Health

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Greater Everglades Reptiles

Contact Information

Kristen Hart
3205 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
954-475-4125 - Fax
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