Joseph Smith, Ph.D.

I am an ecologist living and working in Cape May, New Jersey.  Much of my work and free time is spent learning about the coastal marshes and forests of the area.

Conservation of coastal and forest ecosystems and the biology of migratory birds are the focus of my current projects.

My bachelor’s degree is in Forestry and Wildlife Management and my Ph.D is in Environmental Science and Policy.  My graduate research focused on the non-breeding period of migratory birds in the tropics.

I have had the opportunity to do field biology in a range of amazing places.  Here are some highlights:


Southeast Arizona. I helped study the migration and foraging ecology of the nectar-feeding lesser long-nosed bat.Northeast Kingdom, Vermont – the “warbler factory”. I did bird surveys here. Imagine a forest saturated with breeding birds. This is it.Mississippi, where I earned my bachelors in Forestry and Wildlife Management at Mississippi State University.Kona, Hawaii. Where I worked with the Hawaiian Crow. The picture is of Clermontia. The crows loved this fruit.Blackwater NWR. I studied the effect of prescribed fire on salt marsh-nest sparrows.Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Where I worked with the Palila, a Hawaiian honeycreeper.MIdway Atoll NWR. I worked with albatross and other nesting seabirds at this remote Hawaiian Island.
Yucatan, Mexico. I worked with American redstarts in the mangroves of Celestun, Mexico.The Connecticut River, where I spent summers helping volunteer crews snuff out the invasive aquatic plant, water chestnut.Fort Knox, Kentucky. My first field job was banding birds in the floodplain forests of the Ohio River. There are a lot of Kentucky warblers in Kentucky. They named that one right.Puerto Rico. I studied migrant birds in mangroves for my graduate research.Aleutian Islands, Alaska. I monitored seabird populations, productivity and diets on Aiktak, a tiny Aleutian Island.Auburn, Alabama. Where I studied nesting blue grosbeak living on the margins of cotton fields.
I’ve had the opportunity to join two field expeditions to the wilderness coast of northern Brazil. Read more about it in these blog posts:Postcard from MaranhaoBeetle gets a 1,630 mile range extensionThe willet’s winter worldMaranhaoNew Jersey, my current base of operations. New Jersey has it all!Shenendoah National Park. I spent a summer here banding birds. My favorite sites were Appalachian Cove Forests. We would catch 100 breeding birds in 6 hours in these incredibly productive areas.Belize. We studied wintering migrant birds in the Toledo district of southern Belize. To get to one of our study sites, we had to walk through these Mayan ruins.New Hampshire. I searched for black-throated blue warber nests at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.East slope of the Andes, winter home of the cerulean warbler, Canada warbler, blackburnian warbler and SWARMS of young male Swainson’s thrush that are the focus of our research.

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