Dr. Ashley Dayer

Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Dr. Dayer is a conservation social scientist. Her research program focuses on understanding people’s and organizations’ conservation behavior, especially related to private lands habitat conservation, human-wildlife conflict, endangered species management, citizen science, and conservation funding. As part of this research, she explores the role that policy tools and educational interventions can play in influencing behavior.

In relation to global change, Dr. Dayer is particularly interested in landowners’ willingness to take action to minimize the impacts of sea level rise on wildlife habitat and the implementation gap between climate adaptation science and resource managers’ decision-making.


Dr. Dayer is an Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, and she teaches an undergraduate/graduate level course in Human Dimensions of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. She is currently studying the role of the Department of Interior’s Climate Science Centers as boundary organizations and facilitators of actionable science and co-production of knowledge. She came to Virginia Tech from Cornell Lab of Ornithology and State University of New York – Environmental Science and Forestry.

Dr. Dayer is actively engaged with the wildlife conservation community. She serves as the Co-Chair of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative’s Human Dimensions Subcommittee, on the Board of Directors of the Society for Conservation Biology Social Science Working Group, and as a member of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s Human Dimensions Working Group. She works closely with multiple migratory bird habitat joint ventures that implement international bird conservation plans at the regional level.


Lab Website

Recent Relevant Publications

Lindall, K.R. & Dayer, A.A. (2020). Evidence-based recommendations for strategic communication efforts for shorebird conservation. Wader Study.

Harshaw, H.W., Cole, N.W., Dayer, A.A., Rutter, J.D., Fulton, D.C., Raedeke, A.H., Schuster, R.M. & Duberstein, J.N. (2020). Testing a continuous measure of recreation specialization among birdwatchers. Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

Barnes, J., Sketch, M.G, Gramza, A., Sorice, M., Iovanna, R., & Dayer, A. (2020). Land use decisions after the Conservation Reserve Program: Re-enrollment, reversion, and persistence in the southern Great Plains. Conservation Science and Practice.

Dayer, A., Silva-Rodriguez, E., Albert, S., Chapman, M., Zukowski, B., Ibarra, T., Gifford, G., Echeverri, A., Martinez-Salinas, A., & Sepulveda Luque, C. (2020). Applying conservation social science to study the human dimensions of neotropical bird conservation. The Condor: Ornithological Applications.

Dayer, A.A. & Mengak, L.G (2020). Human dimensions in undergraduate fisheries and wildlife degree programs in United States universities. Human Dimensions of Wildlife. DOI: 10.1080/10871209.2020.1755748

Dayer, A.A., Redford, K.H., Campbell, K.J., Dickman, C.R., Epanchin-Niell, R.S., Grosholz, E.D., Hallac, D.E., Leslie, E.F., Richardson, L.A., & Schwartz, M. W. (2020). The unaddressed threat of invasive animals in U.S. National Parks. Biological Invasions, 22, 177-188. DOI:10.1007/s10530-019-02128-0

Mengak, L.G & Dayer, A.A. (2020). Defining human disturbance to shorebirds using manager and scientist input. Environmental Management, 65, 62-73. DOI:10.1007/s00267-019-01230-2

Sketch, M.G, Dayer, A.A., & Metcalf, A.L. (2020). Engaging landowners in the conservation conversation through landowner-listening workshops. Society and Natural Resources 33(5): 669-680. DOI:10.1080/08941920.2019.1657996

Sketch, M.G, Dayer, A.A., & Metcalf, A (2020). Western ranchers’ perspectives on enablers and constraints to flood irrigation. Rangeland Ecology and Management, 73, 285-296.

Wilkins, E., Miller, H., Schuster, R., Dayer, A.A., Duberstein, J., Fulton, D, Harshaw, H., Raedeke, A. (2019). Rural-urban differences in hunting and birdwatching attitudes and participation intent. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 24, 530-547. DOI:10.1080/10871209.2019.1661046

Lutter, S.H.G, Dayer, A.A., Rodewald, A.D., McNeil, D.J., & Larkin, J.L. (2019). Early successional forest management on private lands as a coupled human and natural system. Forests, 10(6), 499. DOI:10.3390/f10060499