Theodore R. Simons 

Assistant Unit Leader, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Professor, Applied Ecology and Forestry
Department of Applied Ecology

226A David Clark Labs
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
FAX 919-515-4454


B.S. University of Wisconsin, 1975
M.S. University of Washington, 1979
Ph.D. University of Washington, 1983

Full Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Avian ecology, wildlife biology, conservation biology

My research strives to improve species conservation and monitoring programs, and the management of protected areas, through a better understanding of wildlife habitat relationships and sampling methods. Central to that research has been the application of ecological principles to the conservation of rare, endangered, or declining species and their habitats. Research is focused in three broad areas: (1) understanding the ecological factors that constrain species diversity and abundance, (2) modeling wildlife habitat relationships at the population and landscape level, and (3) improving wildlife population sampling methods. Studies have contributed to the restoration of endangered Bald Eagles and Hawaiian and Black-capped Petrels, and the conservation of American Oystercatchers on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Models of wildlife habitat relationships inform the conservation and management of Neotropical migratory landbirds on their breeding grounds in southern Appalachian forests, and at migratory stopover habitats along the Gulf Coast. Recent experimental studies of the factors affecting detection probability on auditory point count surveys for birds and frogs help practitioners account for previously unknown sources of uncertainty in nationwide population monitoring programs such as the Breeding Bird Survey and the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program.

Current Research Topics

Breeding ecology of forest songbirds in the southern Appalachians
Modeling habitat associations of breeding songbirds and terrestrial salamanders
Ecology and conservation of American Oystercatchers AMOY Working Group, AMOY Tracking Project
Improving animal sampling methods 
Conservation of Hawaiian and Black-capped Petrels 

Estimating detection probabilities on bird point counts "All Bird Radio"
and frog call surveys "Ribbit Radio"

Current Graduate Students and Post-docs

Michael Cove (Post-doc)
Shilo Felton (Ph.D.)

Recent Graduate Students and Post-docs

George Farnsworth (Ph.D./Post-doc)
Susan Shriner (Ph.D.)
Melissa Davis (M.S.)
Erin Hyde (M.S.)
Jeremy Lichstein (M.S.)
Kendrick Weeks

Conor McGowan (M.S.)
Andrei Podolsky (Ph.D.)
Larissa Bailey (Ph.D.)
Sarah Mabey (Post-doc)
Mat Alldredge (Ph.D./Post-doc)
Ray Webster (Post-doc)
Jerome Brewster (M.S.)
Krishna Pacifici (M.S.)

ason Riddle (Post-doc)
Nathan Tarr (M.S.)
Arielle Waldstein (M.S.)
Shiloh Schulte (Ph.D.)
Becky Keller (Ph.D.)

Jessica Stocking (M.S.)
Matthew Krachey (Post-doc)
Tracy Borneman (M.S.)
Allison Nolker (M.S.)
Eli Rose (M.S.)
Michael Cove (Ph.D.)
Nathan Hostetter (Ph.D.)


AEC 501 - Ornithology

Selected Readings

Abstract 528 KBSimons, T.R. 2017. The American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) Working Group: 15 Years of Collaborative Focal Species Research and Management. Waterbirds 40: 1-9.
Abstract 528 KBStocking, J.J., T.R. Simons, A.W. Parsons, and A.F. O'Connell. 2017. Managing Native Predators to Protect Shorebirds: Evidence from a Partial Removal of Raccoons (Procyon lotor) on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Waterbirds 40: 10-18.
Abstract 528 KBFelton, S.K., N.J. Hostetter, K.H. Pollock, and T.R. Simons. 2017. Managing American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) Population Growth by Targeting Nesting Season Vital Rates. Waterbirds 40: 44-54.

Abstract 528 KBDenmon, P., S.A. Heath, F.J. Sanders, T.R. Simons, and S.L. Jones. 2017. American Oystercatcher. Waterbirds 40 Special Publication 1: 126 pp.

Abstract 528 KBSchulte, S.K. and T.R. Simons. 2016. Hurricane Disturbance Benefits Nesting American Oystercatchers. Waterbirds 39: 327-337.
Abstract 528 KBCove, M.V., T.R. Simons, B. Gardner, A.S. Maurer, and A. F. O’Connell. 2016. Evaluating nest supplementation as a recovery strategy for the endangered rodents of the Florida Keys. Restoration Ecology. doi:10.1111/rec.12418.
Abstract 528 KBRose, E.T. and T.R. Simons. 2016. Avian response to fire in pine-oak forests of Great Smoky Mountains National Park following decades of fire suppression. The Condor 118: 179-183.
Abstract 528 KBBorneman, T.E., E.T. Rose, and T.R. Simons. 2016. Off-road vehicles affect nesting behavior and reproductive success of American Oystercatchers. Ibis 158: 261-78.
Abstract 528 KBRose, E.T.,T.R. Simons, R. Klein, and A.J. McKerrow. 2016. Normalized burn ratios link fire severity with patterns of avian occurrence. Landscape Ecology 31: doi:10.1007/s10980-015-0334-x.
Abstract 528 KBParsons, A.W., T.R. Simons, A.F. O'Connell, K. Pollock, M.K. Stoskopf, and J.J. Stocking. 2015. Camera Traps and Mark-Resight Models: The Value of Ancillary Data for Evaluating Assumptions. Journal of Wildlife Management 79: 1163-1172.
Abstract 528 KBHostetter, N.J. B. Gardner, S.H. Schweitzer, R. Boettcher, A. L. Wilke, L.Addison, W.R. Swilling, K.H. Pollock, and T.R. Simons. 2015. Repeated count surveys help standardize multi-agency estimates of American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) abundance. The Condor 117: 354-363.

Abstract 528 KBMiller, D.A.W., L.L. Bailey, E.H. Campbell Grant, B.T. McClintock, L.A. Weir, and T.R. Simons. 2015. Performance of occupancy estimators when basic assumptions are not met: a test with field data where truth is known. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6: 557-565.

Abstract 528 KBSchulte, S.A. and T.R. Simons. 2015. Factors affecting the reproductive success of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Marine Ornithology 43: 37-47.

Abstract 528 KBBorneman, T.E., E.T. Rose, and T.R. Simons.  2014.  Minimal changes in the heart rate of incubating American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) in response to human activity.  The Condor 116: 493-503.

Abstract 528 KBKeller, R.A, D. B. Buchwalter, L. Xie, K. E. Franzreb, and T. R. Simons. 2014. Mercury bioaccumulation in southern Appalachian avifauna.  Ecotoxicology 23:304-316.

Abstract 528 KBR.P. Clay, A.J. Lesterhuis, S. Schulte, S. Brown, D. Reynolds, and T.R. Simons. 2014. A global assessment of the conservation status of the American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus). Special Issue, International Wader Study Bulletin 20:62-82.

Abstract 528 KBSollmann, R., B. Gardner, A.W. Parsons, J.J. Stocking, B.T. McClintock, T. R. Simons, K.H. Pollock, and A.F. O’Connell. 2013. A spatial mark-resight model augmented with telemetry data. Ecology 94: 553-559.

Abstract 528 KBSimons, T.R., D.S. Lee, and J. C. Haney. 2013. Diablotin Pterodroma hasitata: A biography of the endangered Black-capped Petrel. Marine Ornithology 41: 1-43.

Abstract 528 KBParsons, A.W., T.R. Simons, A.F. O’Connell, and M.K. Stoskopf. 2013. Demographics, diet, movements, and survival of an isolated, unmanaged raccoon Procyon lotor (Procyonidae, Carnivora) population on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Mammalia 77: 21-30.

Abstract 528 KBMiller, D.A.W., L.A. Weir, B.T. McClintock, E.H. Grant, L.L. Bailey, and T.R. Simons. 2012. Experimental investigation of false positive errors in auditory species occurrence surveys. Ecological Applications 22: 1656-1674.

Abstract 528 KBMcClintock, B.T., L.L. Bailey, K.H. Pollock and T.R. Simons. 2010. Unmodeled observation error induces bias when inferring patterns and dynamics of species occurrence via aural detections. Ecology 91(8): 2446-2454.

Abstract 528 KBMcClintock, B.T., L.L. Bailey, K.H. Pollock and T.R. Simons. 2010. Experimental Investigation of Observation Error in Anuran Call Surves. Journal of Wildlife Management 74(8): 1882-1893.

Abstract 528 KBStringer, E.M., M.K. Stoskopf, T.R. Simons, A.F. O’Connell, and A. Waldstein. 2010. Ultrasonic Measurement of Body Fat as a Means of Assessing Body Condition in Free-Ranging Raccoons (Procyon lotor). International Journal of Zoology 2010: 1-6.

Abstract 528 KBMartin, J., A.F. O’Connell Jr., W. L. Kendall, M.C. Runge , T.R. Simons, A.H. Waldstein, S.A. Schulte, S.J. Converse, G.W. Smith, T. Pinion, M. Rikard, E.F. Zipkin. 2010. Optimal control of native predators. Biological Conservation 143: 1751-1758.

Abstract 528 KBStanislav, S., Pollock, K.H., T.R. Simons, and M.W. Alldredge. 2010. Separation of Availability and Perception Processes for Aural Detection in Avian Point Counts: a Combined Multiple Observer and Time-Of-Detection Approach. Avian Ecology and Conservation 5(1): 3.

Abstract 528 KBRiddle, J.D., J.H. Pollock, and T.R Simons. 2010. An unreconciled double-observer method for estimating detection probability and abundance. The Auk 127(4):841-849.

Abstract 528 KBRiddle, J.D., R.S. Mordecai, K.H. Pollock, and T.R. Simons. 2010. Effects of prior detections on estimates of detection probability, abundance, and occupancy. The Auk 127: 1-6.

Abstract 528 KBBrewster, J.P. and T.R. Simons. 2009. Testing the importance of auditory detections in avian point counts. Journal of Field Ornithology 80: 178-182.

Abstract 528 KBSimons, T. R., K. H. Pollock, J. M. Wettroth, M. W. Alldredge, K. Pacifici, and J. Brewster. 2009. Sources of measurement error, misclassification error, and bias in auditory avian point count data. pp. 237-254 in D.L. Thomson et al. (eds.), Modeling Demographic Processes in Marked Populations, Environmental and Ecological Statistics 3, Springer Science and Business Media.

Abstract 528 KBPacifici, K., T.R. Simons, and K.H. Pollock.  2008.  Effects of vegetation and background noise on the detection process in auditory avian point count surveys.  The Auk 125: 600-607.

Abstract 528 KBAlldredge, M.W., Pacifici, K., T.R. Simons, and K.H. Pollock.  2008.  A field evaluation of the effectiveness of distance sampling and double independent observers to estimate detection probability in aural avian point counts.  Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 1349-1356.

Abstract 528 KBWebster, R. A., Pollock, K. H., and Simons, T. R. 2008.  Bayesian spatial modeling of point transect data from bird surveys.  Journal of Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Statistics (13): 121-139.

Abstract 528 KBAlldredge, M.W. T.R. Simons, K.H. Pollock, and K. Pacifici.  2007.  A Field Evaluation of the Time-of-detection method to estimate population size for Aural Avian Point Counts.  Avian Ecology and Conservation 2 (2):13.

Abstract 528 KBSimons, T.R., M.W. Alldredge, and K.H. Pollock.  2007.  Experimental analysis of the auditory detection process on avian point counts.  The Auk 124: 986-999.

Abstract 528 KBAlldredge, M.W., T.R. Simons, and K.H. Pollock.  2007.  An experimental evaluation of distance measurement error in avian point count surveys.  Journal of Wildlife Management 71: 2759-2766.

Abstract 528 KBAlldredge, M.W., K.H. Pollock, T.R. Simons, J.A. Collazo, and S.A. Shriner  2007.  Time of detection method for estimating abundance from point count surveys.  The Auk 124:653-664.
Abstract 528 KBAlldredge, M.W., T.R. Simons, and K.H. Pollock.  2007.  Factors affecting aural detections of songbirds.  Ecological Applications 17:948-955.

Abstract 528 KBAlldredge, M.W., K.H. Pollock, T.R. Simons, and S.A. Shriner.  2007.  Multiple species analysis of point count data: a more parsimonious modeling framework.  Journal of Applied Ecology.44: 281-290.

Abstract 528 KBPodolsky, A.L., T.R. Simons, and J.A. Collazo.  2007.  Modeling population growth of the Ovenbird in the southern Appalachians .  The Auk 124: 1359-1372.

Abstract 528 KBAlldredge, M.W., K.H. Pollock, and T.R. Simons.  2006.  Estimating detection probabilities from multiple-observer point counts.  The Auk 123: 1172-1182.

Abstract 528 KBMcGowan, C.P. and T.R. Simons.  2006.  Effects of human disturbance on the incubation behavior of American Oystercatchers.  Wilson Bulletin 118: 485-493.

Abstract 528 KBSimons, T.R., S.A. Shriner, and G.L. Farnsworth.  2006.  Comparison of breeding bird and vegetation communities in primary and secondary forests of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Biological Conservation 129: 302-311.

Abstract 528 KBMcGowan, C.P., T.R. Simons, W. Golder, and J. Cordes.  2005 A comparison of American Oystercatcher reproductive success on barrier beach and river island habitats in coastal North Carolina.  Waterbirds 28: 150-155.

Abstract 528 KBHyde, E.J., and T.R. Simons.  In 2004.  Sampling Salamanders in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: What are we really sampling?  In: Status and Conservation of US Amphibians (M.J. Lannoo ed.).  University of Iowa Press.

Abstract 528 KBSimons, T.R., F.R. Moore, and S.A. Gauthreaux.  2004.  Mist netting trans-Gulf migrants at coastal stopover sites: the influence of spatial and temporal variability on capture data.  In: The use of mist nets to monitor bird populations, (C.J. Ralph et al. eds.).  Studies in Avian Biology.

Abstract 528 KBBailey, L. L., T. R. Simons, and K. H. Pollock.  2004.  Estimating site occupancy and species detection probability parameters for terrestrial salamanders. Ecological Applications 14: 692-702. 

Abstract 528 KBBailey, L. L., T. R. Simons, and K. H. Pollock.  2004.  Estimating detectability parameters for plethodon salamanders using the robust capture-recapture design. Journal of Wildlife Management 68: 1-13. 

Abstract 528 KBBailey, L. L., T. R. Simons, and K. H. Pollock.  2004.  Spatial and temporal variation in detection probability of plethodon salamanders using the robust capture-recapture design. Journal of Wildlife Management 68: 14-24. 

Abstract 528 KBLichstein, J.W., T.R. Simons, S.A Shriner, and K.E. Franzreb.  2002.  Spatial autocorrelation and autoregressive models in ecology. Ecological Monographs.  72(3): 445-463.

Abstract 528 KBLichstein, J.W., T.R. Simons, and K.E. Franzreb.  2002.  Landscape effects on breeding songbird abundance in managed forests.  Ecological Applications 12(13): 836-857.

Abstract 528 KBFarnsworth, G. L., K. H. Pollock, J. L. Nichols, T. R. Simons, J. E. Hines, and J. R. Sauer.  2002.  A removal model for estimating detection probabilities from point count surveys.  The Auk 119: 414-425.
Abstract 528 KBPollock, K.H., J.D. Nichols, T.R. Simons, G.L. Farnsworth, L.L. Bailey, and J.R. Sauer.  2002.  Large scale wildlife monitoring studies: statistical methods for design and analysis.  Environmetrics 13: 105-119.
Abstract 528 KBShriner, S.A., and T.R. Simons.  2002.  Modeling habitat associations of breeding birds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Chapter 47 In: Predicting Species Occurrences: Issues of Scale and Accuracy (J.M. Scott et al. eds.).  Island Press.
Abstract 528 KBPearson, S.M., and T.R. Simons.  2002.  Spatial analysis of stopover habitats of Neotropical migratory birds.  Chapter 52 In: Predicting Species Occurrences: Issues of Scale and Accuracy (J.M. Scott et al. eds.).  Island Press.
Abstract 528 KBFarnsworth, G.L. and T.R. Simons. 
2001.  How many baskets?  Clutch sizes that maximize annual fecundity of multiple- brooded birds.  The Auk 118: 973-982.
Abstract 528 KBDavis, M.B., T.R. Simons, M.J. Groom, J.L. Weaver, and J.R. Cordes. 2001.  American Oystercatcher Reproductive Success on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Status of Atlantic Coast and Florida Populations.  Waterbirds 24:195-202.
Full Paper 758KHyde, E.J. and T.R. Simons.  2001.  Sampling Plethodontid salamanders: sources of variability.  Journal of Wildlife Management 65:624-632.
Full Paper 744 KBSimons, T.R., G.L. Farnsworth, and S.A. Shriner.  2000.  Evaluating Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a population source for the Wood Thrush.  Conservation Biology 14:1133-1144.
Abstract 583 KBSimons, T.R., S.A. Pearson, and F.R. Moore. 
2000.  Application of spatial models to the stopover ecology of trans-Gulf migrants.  Studies in Avian Biology 20:4-14.
Abstract 688 KBFarnsworth, G.L. and T.R. Simons.  2000.  Observation of Wood Thrush nest predators in a large contiguous forest.  Wilson Bulletin 112:82-87.
Abstract 688 KBFarnsworth, G.L., K.C. Weeks, and T.R. Simons.  2000.  Validating the assumptions of the Mayfield Method.  Journal of Field Ornithology 71:658-664.
Abstract 688 KBFarnsworth, G.L. and T.R. Simons.  1999.  Factors affecting nesting success of Wood Thrushes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.The Auk 116: 1075-1082.
BNA Cover 572 KBSimons, T.R., S.K. Sherrod, M.W. Collopy, and M.A. Jenkins.  1998.  Restoring the Bald Eagle.  Chapter 23 In: Exploring Ecology and Its Applications (P.M. Kareiva ed.).  Sigma Xi, Research Triangle Park, NC.
BNA Cover 572 KBSimons, T.R. and C.N. Hodges.  1998.  The Dark-rumped Petrel (Pterdroma phaeopygia).  The Birds of North America, No. 345 (A. Poole, and F. Gill, Eds.). The Birds of North America Inc., Philadelphia, PA.


Last Modified January 2017