Dr. Walters’ research focuses on avian behavioral ecology and conservation biology. He has worked with a number of endangered species around the world, most notably the red-cockaded woodpecker in the southeastern United States. In relation to global change he studies how habitat loss affects dispersal behavior and other aspects of population dynamics, as well as impacts of climate change on populations. Dr. Walters is also actively engaged in the science-policy interface, frequently serving on panels that evaluate relevant science to inform important policy decisions, and in management applications of research. Current research efforts in his laboratory include studies of the evolution of cooperative breeding, effects of habitat fragmentation on movement, and restoration of ecosystems and endangered species populations.
In his home department, Dr. Walters teaches graduate courses in Advanced Conservation Biology and Behavioral Ecology and has also taught undergraduate courses in Ethology and Ornithology. In addition, he has co-taught the IGC seminars and capstone course since their inception. He currently mentors 4 graduate students (all IGC Fellows) in his own lab, and serves on an additional 16 graduate advisory committees, including those of 9 IGC Fellows.
Dr. Walters is the Harold H. Bailey Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, and the co-Chair of the IGC IGEP. He also holds an adjunct professor appointment in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. He has served on the editorial boards of three journals, two recovery teams for endangered species and three National Academy of Sciences panels, and is currently chairing a fourth panel that is evaluating the restoration of the Everglades. Dr. Walters is leading new initiatives in conservation by the North American ornithological societies, including converting one of their leading journals to an avian conservation theme. Dr. Walters has published more than 125 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters on subjects pertaining to conservation biology, behavioral ecology and population biology. He has received the Elliot Coues Award from the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Alumni Research Award from Virginia Tech for his research and two awards from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for his conservation activities.
Recent Relevant Publications
SmithP, J. A., K. Brust, J. Skelton, and J. R. Walters. 2018. How effective is the Safe Harbor program for conservation of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers?The Condor: Ornithological Applications120: 223-233.
WilliamsonU, L., V. GarciaG, and J. R. Walters. 2016. Life history trait differences in isolated populations of endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Ornis Hungarica24: 55-68.
McKellar, A. E., D. C. Kesler, and J. R. Walters. 2016. Resource selection reflects fitness associations for an endangered bird in restored habitat. Animal Conservation 19: 131-138.
Luther, D., J. SkeltonG, C. Fernandez, and J. Walters. 2016. Conservation action implementation, funding, and population trends of birds listed on the Endangered Species Act. Biological Conservation 197: 229-234.
JusinoG, M. A., D. L. Lindner, M. T. Banik, K. R. Rose, and J. R. Walters. 2016. Experimental evidence of a symbiosis between red-cockaded woodpeckers and fungi. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (B) 283. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0106.
Jachowski, D. S., D. C. Kesler, D. A. Steen and J. R. Walters. 2015. Redefining baselines in endangered species recovery. Journal of Wildlife Management 79: 3-9.
McKellarP, A. E., D. C. Kesler and J. R. Walters. 2015. Resource selection reflects fitness associations for an endangered bird in restored habitat. Animal Conservation DOI: 10.1111/acv.12225.
Luther, D., J. Skelton, C. Fernandez and J. Walters. 2016. Conservation action implementation, funding, and population trends of birds listed on the Endangered Species Act. Biological Conservation 197: 229-234.
JusinoG, M. A., D. L. Lindner, M. T. Banik, K. R. Rose and J. R. Walters. 2016. Experimental evidence of a symbiosis between red-cockaded woodpeckers and fungi. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (B) 28320160106; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0106.
DuRant, S. E., W. A. Hopkins, G. R. Hepp and J. R. Walters. 2013. Ecological, evolutionary, and conservation implications of temperature-dependent phenotypes in birds. Biological Reviews 88:499-509.