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Faculty Profile
Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan  Cohen

Associate Professor and Graduate Director

Orange horizontal rule

403 Illick Hall



Ph.D. Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, VA Tech University, May 2005
M.S. Renewable Natural Resources, University of Connecticut, May 1998
B.S. Natural Resources, Cornell University, May 1994

Current Projects and Research Interests

My research focuses on wildlife habitat and population management issues.  Much of my past work has focused on shorebirds of conservation concern.   Although I am continuing that work, I have current and upcoming projects focusing on various nongame and game 
species, including birds and mammals.


EFB 493/693: Wildlife Habitats and Populations

Three hours of lecture/discussion and one three-hour laboratory per week.  Application of ecological concepts, including succession and population biology to wildlife management planning and program assessment. Students are exposed to basic habitat and population modeling, and concepts in adaptive management and structured decision making.  Creation of a management plan for a game species at Heiberg Memorial Forest is at the core of the course.  Enrollees in 693 will write a management plan for bobcats in Cortland County.  Fall. 4 cr.

EFB 696: Population Parameter Estimation in R and MARK

This course provides an introduction to the principles and practice of estimating population parameters, particularly from capture-mark-recapture studies, using Program MARK and the R package RMark. Statistical models and software for estimating survival, recruitment, movement, and population size are covered. Fall or Spring. 3 cr.

EFB 796: Introduction to WinBUGS for Ecologists

Following the book “Introduction to WinBUGS for Ecologists” by Marc Kery, this course will provide experience using Bayesian methods to address statistical tests that are common in ecology.    We will compare and contrast frequentist and Bayesian methods.  Using R and WinBUGS, we will use both approaches to analyze linear models (including t-tests, ANOVA, and regression) and generalized linear models (such as logistic and count regressions).  We also will discusshierarchical (mixed) models and their solution using Bayesian methods.  Students will be expected to lead at least one chapter’s discussion, and each week a problem set will be assigned, to be completed outside of class. Fall. 3 cr. 

​EFB 797: Environmental and Forest Biology Core Course
A seminar focusing on the writing of thesis proposals and grant proposals.  Spring. 1 cr.

Refereed Monographs

Cohen JB, Houghton LM, Fraser JD. 2009. Nesting density and reproductive success of piping plovers in response to storm- and human-created habitat changes. Wildlife Monographs 173:1-24.

Recent Refereed Journal Articles

Stantial ML, Cohen JB, Darrah AJ, Farrell S, Maslo B. 2020. Red fox use of landscapes with nesting shorebirds. Journal of Wildlife Management. In press.

Falkowski TB, Vázquez‐Pérez JR, Chankin A, Campos‐Beltrán AY, Rangel‐Salazar JL, Cohen JB, Diemont SAW. 2020. Assessing avian diversity and community composition along a successional gradient in traditional Lacandon Maya agroforests. Biotropica. In press.

Marshall H, Blomberg EJ, Watson V, Conway M, Cohen JB, Correll MD, Elphick CS, Hodgman TP, Kocek AR, Kovach AI, Shriver WG, Wiest WA, Olsen BJ. 2020. Habitat openness and edge avoidance predict Saltmarsh Sparrow abundance better than habitat area.  Condor. In press.

Naerhulan H, Kupán K, Valdebenito JO, Kubelka V, Carmona-Isunza MC, Burgas D, Catlin D, St Clair JJH, Cohen J, Figuerola J, Yasué M, Johnson M, Mencarelli M, Cruz-López M, Stantial M, Weston M, Lloyd P, Que P, Montalvo T, Bansal U, McDonald GC, Liu Y, Kosztolányi A, Székely T. 2020. Successful breeding predicts divorce in plovers. Scientific Reports 10:15576 (

Darrah AJ, Cohen JB, Castelli PM. 2020. A decision support tool to guide the use of nest exclosures for piping plover conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin. In press.

Whipps CM, Cheeseman AE, Lindsay KA, Cohen JB. 2020. CM Whipps, AE Cheeseman, KA Lindsay, JB Cohen. Wildlife Society Bulletin 44:182-190.

Petracca LS, Funston PJ, Henschel P, Cohen JB, Maclennan S, Frair JL. 2019. Modeling community occupancy from line transect data: a case study with large mammals in post-war Angola. Animal Conservation 23: 420-433.

Field CR, Ruskin KJ, Cohen JB, Hodgman TP, Kovach AI, Olsen BJ, Shriver WG, Elphick CS. 2019. Framework for quantifying population responses to hurricanes reveals high resilience for coastal birds. Ecology Letters 22:2039-2048.

Davis KL, Karpanty SM, Spendelow JA, Cohen JB, Althouse MA*, Parsons KC, Luttazi CF, Catlin DH, Gibson D. 2019. Residency, recruitment, and stopover duration of hatch-year Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) during the pre-migratory staging period. Avian Conservation and Ecology 14:11 (

Stantial ML*, Cohen JB, Loring PH, Paton PWC. 2019. Radio transmitters did not affect apparent survival rates of adult piping plovers.  Waterbirds 42:205-209.

Cheeseman AE*, Cohen JB, Whipps CM, Kovach AI, Ryan SJ. 2019. Hierarchical population structure of a rare lagomorph indicates recent fragmentation has disrupted metapopulation function. Conservation Genetics 6:1237-1249.

Grant DM**, Cohen JB, Stantial ML*, Linhart R. 2019. Substrate-level nest site selection of sympatric Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) and American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) in New Jersey, USA. Waterbirds 42:272-281.

Cheeseman AE*, Cohen JB, Ryan SJ, Whipps CM. 2019. Determinants of home range size of imperiled New England and introduced eastern cottontails. Canadian Journal of Zoology 97: 516-523.

Davis KL, Karpanty SM, Spendelow JA, Cohen JB, Althouse MA*, Parsons KC, Luttazi CF. 2019. Begging behavior as an honest signal of need and parent–offspring association during the postfledging dependency period. Ecology and Evolution ece3.5279.

Goldspiel HB, Cohen JB, McGee GG, Gibbs JP. 2019. Forest land-use history affects outcomes of habitat augmentation for amphibian conservation.  Global Ecology and Conservation e00686.

Gibson D, Hornsby A, Brown MB, Cohen JB, Dinan LR, Fraser JD, Friedrich MJ, Gratto-Trevor CL, Hunt KL, Jeffery M, Jorgensen JG, Paton PWC, Rock J, Stantial M*, Weithman C, Catlin DH. 2019. Migratory shorebird adheres to Bergmann's Rule by responding to environmental conditions through the annual lifecycle. Ecography 42:1482-1493.

Whipps CM, Gavard EJ, Cohen J, Ryan SJ. 2019. Gastrointestinal parasites of the New England cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus transitionalis) and eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) in the Hudson Valley, New York. Parasitology Research 118:2257-2262.

Book Chapters

Sheffield SR, Sawicka-Kapusta K, Cohen JB, Rattner BA. 2001. Rodentia and Lagomorpha. Pp. 215-314 In Shore RF and Rattner BA (eds.), Ecotoxicology of Wild Mammals. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.

Rattner BA, Cohen JB, Golden NH. 2000. Contaminant effect endpoints in terrestrial vertebrates at and above the level of the "individual." In: Environmental Contaminants and Terrestrial Vertebrates: Effects on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems. Albers PH, ed. SETAC Special Publication, SETAC Press, Pensacola, Florida. 61 pp

Newsletters/Popular Articles

Cohen JB, Karpanty SM, Fraser JD, Truitt BR. 2007. Initial deployment tests of tiny PTTs on the red knot (Calidris canutus rufa). Tracker News 8:2.

Cohen JB. 1996. Tricky trackers (a children's guide to making a squirrel-tracking kit). Ranger Rick. Nov 1996.

Professional Organizations

  • The Wildlife Society (Certified Wildlife Biologist)
  • The Waterbird Society (Conservation Committee Chair: 2007-Present, Elected Councilor: 2012-2014)
  • American Ornithologogical Society
  • Association of Field Ornithologists
  • World Lagomorph Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Sigma Xi


College Committee Memberships and Service

Associate Director, Roosevelt Wild Life Station

Committee on Research,  2011 – 2013

Committee on Curriculum, 2013-2016

Sussman Internship Review Committee – 2012 - Present

Faculty Advisor, SUNY-ESF Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society, 2011-2020

Business Office Search Committee, Clerical Specialist II, Spring 2016


Department Committee Memberships and Service

Associate Chair for the Graduate Program, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, 2020

Faculty Search Committee, Campfire Conservation Fund Professor, 2019

Faculty Search Committee, Conservation Biologist, 2019

Department Review Committee (promotion and tenure), 2017-2019

Graduate Program Advisory Committee, Chair 2015-2020

Course and Curriculum Advisory Committee – 2012-2017

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee – 2015 – present

Faculty Search Committee, Wildlife Habitat Ecologist, 2013

Current Graduate Advisees

Colton MoyerColton Moyer

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Cohen
  • Area of Study: Environmental & Forest Biology

Molly PicilloMolly Picillo

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Cohen
  • Area of Study: Environmental & Forest Biology

Alison SchroederAlison Schroeder

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Cohen
  • Area of Study: Environmental & Forest Biology