Theodore R. Simons

Professor Emeritus

Department of Applied Ecology

North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC 27695-7617


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.

Recent 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

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"

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 (M.S.)

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.)

Jason 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./Post-doc)

Nathan Hostetter (Ph.D.)

Shilo Felton (Ph.D.)


AEC 501 - Ornithology

Selected Publications

Kwon, E., Robinson, S., Weithman, C.E., Catlin, D.H., Karpanty, S.M., Altman, J., Simons, T.R. and Fraser, J.D., 2021. Contrasting long-term population trends of beach-nesting shorebirds under shared environmental pressures. Biological Conservation, 260, p.109178.

Cove, M.V., T.R. Simons, B. Gardner, and A.F. O'Connell. 2019. Towards recovery of an endangered island endemic: Distributional and behavioral responses of Key Largo woodrats associated with exotic predator removal. Biological Conservation 237: 423-429.

Hostetter, N. J., Gardner, B., Sillett, T. S., Pollock, K. H., & Simons, T. R. 2019. An integrated model decomposing the components of detection probability and abundance in unmarked populations. Ecosphere, 10(3), e02586.

Cove, M.V., B. Gardner, T.R. Simons, and A.F. O’Connell. 2018. Co-occurrence dynamics of endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbits and free-ranging domestic cats: prey responses to an exotic predator removal program. Ecology and Evolution 2018; 1-11.

Cove, M. V., Gardner, B., Simons, T. R., Kays, R., & O’Connell, A. F. 2018. Free-ranging domestic cats (Felis catus) on public lands: estimating density, activity, and diet in the Flo ida Keys. Biological Invasions, 20(2), 333-344.

Felton S.K., K.H. Pollock, and T.R. Simons. 2018. Response of beach-nesting American Oystercatchers to off-road vehicles: An experimental approach reveals physiological nuances and decreased nest attendance. Condor 120: 47-62.

Simons, T.R. 2017. The American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) Working Group: 15 Years of Collaborative Focal Species Research and Management. Waterbirds 40: 1-9.

Cove, M.V., B. Gardner, T.R. Simons, R. Kays, and A.F. O’Connell. 2017. Free Ranging domestic cats (Felis catus) on public lands: estimating density, activity, and diet in the Florida Keys. Biological Invasions. DOI 10.1007/s10530-017-1534-x.

Stocking, 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.

Felton, 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.

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

Schulte, S.K. and T.R. Simons. 2016. Hurricane Disturbance Benefits Nesting American Oystercatchers. Waterbirds 39: 327-337.

Cove, 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.

Rose, 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.

Borneman, 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.

Rose, 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.

Parsons, 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.

Hostetter, 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.

Miller, 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.

Schulte, 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.

Borneman, 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.

Keller, 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.

R.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.

Simons, 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.

Parsons, 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.

Miller, 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.

McClintock, 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.

McClintock, 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.

Stringer, 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.

Stanislav, 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.

Riddle, 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.

Riddle, 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.

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

Simons, 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.

Pacifici, 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.

Alldredge, 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.

Webster, 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.

Alldredge, 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.

Simons, 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.

Alldredge, 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.

Alldredge, 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.

Alldredge, M.W., T.R. Simons, and K.H. Pollock. 2007. Factors affecting aural detections of songbirds. Ecological Applications 17:948-955.

Alldredge, 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.

Podolsky, 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.

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

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

Simons, 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.

McGowan, 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.

Hyde, 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.

Simons, 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.

Bailey, 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.

Bailey, 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.

Bailey, 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.

Lichstein, 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.

Lichstein, 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.

Farnsworth, 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.

Pollock, 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.

Shriner, 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.

Pearson, 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.

Farnsworth, 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.

Davis, 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.

Hyde, E.J. and T.R. Simons. 2001. Sampling Plethodontid salamanders: sources of variability. Journal of Wildlife Management 65:624-632.

Simons, 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.

Simons, 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.

Farnsworth, G.L. and T.R. Simons. 2000. Observation of Wood Thrush nest predators in a large contiguous forest. Wilson Bulletin 112:82-87.

Farnsworth, G.L., K.C. Weeks, and T.R. Simons. 2000. Validating the assumptions of the Mayfield Method. Journal of Field Ornithology 71:658-664.

Farnsworth, 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.

Simons, 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.

Simons, 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 February 2021