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Gavin Jones


Research Ecologist

333 Broadway Blvd SE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Contact Gavin Jones

Current Research

Primary responsibilities are to conduct research relating to wildlife distribution, dynamics, and responses to disturbances and climate change to inform land management. This includes (1) studying species habitat ecology, occurrence, and space use across environmental gradients, (2) evaluating wildlife responses to fire, forest restoration activities, and associated trade-offs, and (3) engaging in co-production of knowledge to narrow the gap between science and management.

Research Interests

Fire, restoration, and wildlife conservation in seasonally dry forest ecosystems

Biodiversity conservation in a changing climate

Occupancy estimation and modeling in wildlife conservation

Mechanisms of wildlife population decline and recovery

Movement ecology and resource selection by animals

Social-ecological resilience

Ecosystem services and biodiversity in managed forests

Past Research

Spotted owl population responses and space use after ‘megafires’

Effects of woody bioenergy intensification on biodiversity

How logging legacies and trophic interactions influence population declines

Assessing trade-offs associated related to fuels reduction and species conservation

Effects of climate change on population dynamics and conservation planning

Modeling behavioral thermoregulation in response to climate warming

Why This Research is Important

Forest ecosystem conservation is not going to be easy in the coming decades. Climate change and fire suppression have together created a tenuous situation where a continuation of the status-quo could lead to wholesale loss of some forest ecosystems, with enormous implications for people and wildlife that depend on them. Forest restoration through increased prescribed fire use and thinning can restore natural structure and processes to ecosystems but may have collateral impacts to sensitive wildlife species. My research focuses figuring out how we can restore forests while safeguarding wildlife populations over the short- and long-term. The most important aspect of my research is knowledge co-production: developing science together with land managers so that the science (1) asks the right questions and (2) can be better integrated into conservation planning and forest management. A new era of science-management partnership is needed to solve some of the most pressing and complex issues: science informed by management needs, and managers co-producing the latest science.


  • University of Florida, Postdoc, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, 2020
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology, 2019
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.S., Wildlife Ecology, 2015
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S., Zoology, 2011
  • Professional Experience

    Research Ecologist, RMRS - Wildlife and Terrestrial Ecosystems
    2020 to present

    Adjunct Professor, University of New Mexico
    2020 to present

    Professional Organizations

    • Journal of Wildlife Management, Associate Editor ( 2019 to present )
    • American Ornithological Society, Member ( 2016 to present )
    • Ecological Society of America, Member ( 2016 to present )
    • The Wildlife Society, Member ( 2014 to present )


    Best Dissertation Award, 2019
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology
    Student Presentation Award, 2018
    The Wildlife Society
    Robert B. Berry Award, 2018
    American Ornithological Society
    Best Talk by and Early-Career Researcher, 2017
    British Ornithologists Union
    McCabe-Keith Graduate Research Excellence Award, 2016
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology
    Finalist, Best Student Talk, 2016
    North American Congress for Conservation Biology


    Hobart, Brendan K.; Kramer, H. Anu; Jones, Gavin; Dotters, Brian P.; Whitmore, Sheila A.; Keane, John J.; Peery, M. Zachariah., 2021. Stable isotopes reveal unexpected relationships between fire history and the diet of Spotted Owls
    Jones, Gavin; Gutierrez, R. J.; Block, William M.; Carlson, Peter C.; Comfort, Emily J.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Raymond J. Davis,; Eyes, Stephanie A.; Franklin, Alan B.; Ganey, Joseph L.; Hedwall, Shaula; Keane, John J.; Kelsey, Rodd; Lesmeister, Damon B.; North, Malcolm P.; Roberts, Susan L.; Rockweit, Jeremy T.; Sanderlin, Jamie S.; Sawyer, Sarah C.; Solvesky, Ben; Tempel, Douglas J.; Yiwan, Ho; Westerling, A. Leroy; White, Gary C.; Peery, M. Zachariah., 2020. Spotted owls and forest fire: Comment

    Featured External Publications

    An adult and juvenile spotted owl looking out from a hole in a dead, charred tree.
    Whether severe fire is good or bad for spotted owls will influence how some forests are managed for fire risk. In reality, the effects of severe fire on spotted owls depends on the size of severely-burned patches, as well as their configuration and complexity. Owls actively use small patches of severely-burned forest, but they avoid larger patches and will abandon territories that are extensively affected by severe fire.
    Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) scientists have been at the forefront of efforts to understand the ecology of the threatened Mexican spotted owls (Strix occidentalis lucida) for more than 25 years. These scientists and their cooperators have produced most of the existing scientific information on this species. Today, RMRS scientists continue to be actively involved in developing new knowledge on this owl, synthesizing existing information, and working with managers to integrate habitat requirements for the owl and its important prey species into land management plans.