Mark R. Herse

I am a wildlife ecologist with research interests in landscape ecology, population ecology, and conservation science.

In the field, I have extensive experience with techniques used to study birds and other vertebrates including mark-recapture, radio telemetry, aerial- and ground-based surveys, and camera recordings. In the office, I use a variety of quantitative tools to model species-habitat relationships and test hypotheses about drivers of population dynamics. In the community, I have experience educating families about conservation through outreach, and working alongside Indigenous peoples to gain alternative perspectives and knowledge about environmental values and management.

My postgraduate education began in Alice Boyle's research group at Kansas State University where I studied the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on threatened birds in agricultural landscapes. For my PhD, I am now working in Jason Tylianakis’ group at the University of Canterbury in Āotearoa-New Zealand. My research here focuses on informing biocultural conservation approaches and local decision-making by Māori, the Indigenous peoples of Āotearoa-New Zealand. To that end, I am studying population dynamics of a taonga (beloved) species, the kakīānau (black swan), and estimating sustainable rates for customary egg harvests by kaitiaki (guardians) from the South Island tribe of Ngāi Tahu.


  • PhD in progress (Ecology), University of Canterbury, New Zealand (2017 to present). Adviser: Jason Tylianakis
  • MSc, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Kansas State University (2017). Thesis: "Landscape ecology of two species of declining grassland sparrows." Adviser: Alice Boyle
  • BSc, Wildlife Ecology and Management, Montana State University (2010)


  • Lyver P.O'B., Ruru J., Scott N., Tylianakis J.M., Arnold J., Malinen S.K., Bataille C.Y., Herse M.R., Jones C.J., Gormley A.M., Peltzer D.A., Taura Y., Timoti P., Stone C., Wilcox M., & Moller H.M. (2018). Building biocultural approaches into Aotearoa-New Zealand's conservation future. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1−8. Open access
  • Herse M.R., With K.A., & Boyle W.A. (2018) The importance of core habitat for a threatened species in changing landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology 55: 2241-2252. Journal
  • Herse M.R., Estey M.E., Moore P.J., Sandercock B.K., & Boyle W.A. (2017) Landscape context drives breeding habitat selection by an enigmatic grassland songbird. Landscape Ecology 32: 2351−2364. Journal
  • Herse M.R. (2016) Diet and behavior of extralimital Western Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia hypugea) in tallgrass prairie. Southwestern Naturalist 61: 341−348. Journal
  • Winder V.L., Herse M.R., Hunt L.M., Gregory A.J., McNew L.B., & Sandercock B.K. (2016) Patterns of nest attendance by female Greater Prairie-Chickens in northcentral Kansas. Journal of Ornithology 157: 733−745. Journal
  • Herse M.R. & Ray J.M. (2014) A review and correction of data on a poorly known leaf litter snake, Trimetopon slevini (Dunn 1940), from Panama, including additional data on defensive behaviours. Herpetology Notes 7: 359−361. Open access

Manuscripts in prep

  • Herse M.R., Lyver P.O'B., Scott N., McIntosh A.R., Gormley A.M., Coats S.C., and Tylianakis J.M. Empowering Indigenous peoples and local communities to help resolve scale mismatches in social-ecological systems. In prep for submission to Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
  • Herse M.R., With K.A., & Boyle. W.A. Where habitat fragmentation matters for tallgrass prairie birds. In prep for submission to Biological Conservation.