Dr. Jeff Walters

Biological Sciences

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.

At Virginia Tech, Dr. Walters teaches graduate courses in Advanced Conservation Biology and Behavioral Ecology. He also has taught undergraduate courses in Ethology and Ornithology.

Dr. Walters is the Harold H. Bailey Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, and the co-Director 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.

Email                 Lab Website


Recent Relevant Publications

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.

Hiers, J. K., R. J. Mitchell, A. Barnett, J. R. Walters, M. Mack, B. Williams and R. Sutter.  2012.  The dynamic reference concept: measuring restoration success in a rapidly changing no-analogue future.  Ecological Restoration 30:27-36.

Reynolds, M. H., J. S. Hatfield, L. P. Laniawe, M. S. Vekasy, J. L. Klavviter, P. Berkowitz, L. H. Crampton and J. R. Walters.  2012.  Influence of space use on fitness and the reintroduction success of the Laysan teal.  Animal Conservation 15:305-317.

Walters, J. R., S. R. Derrickson, D. M. Fry, S. M. Haig, J. M. Marzluff and J. M. Wunderle, Jr.  2010.  Status of the California Condor and efforts to achieve its recovery.  Auk 127:969-1001.

Ford, H. A., J. R. Walters, C. B. Cooper, S. J. S. Debus and V. A. J. Doerr.  2009.  Extinction debt or habitat change? – Ongoing losses of woodland birds in north-eastern New South Wales, Australia.  Biological Conservation 142:3182-3190.

Schiegg, K., G. Pasinelli, J. R. Walters and S. J. Daniels.  2002.  Inbreeding and experience affect response to climate change by endangered woodpeckers.  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (B) 269:1153-1159.

Cooper, C. B. and J. R. Walters.  2002.  Experimental evidence of disrupted dispersal causing decline of an Australian passerine in fragmented habitat.  Conservation Biology 16:471-478.