Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



William J. McShea, Ph.D., Research Scientist
Conservation and Science


Bucknell University, B.S. 1977, Animal Behavior

University of New Hampshire, M.S. 1981, Zoology

State University of New York at Binghamton, Ph.D., 1985

Professional History and Interest

Bill McShea is an ecologist who has worked at the National Zoo's facility in Front Royal, Virginia, since 1986.  His research focuses on wildlife management and conservation of mammals and forests. His research involves forest ecology issues on public lands in the eastern U.S. and conservation issues in developing countries.

The local research has included focus on the ecological impacts of white-tailed deer, forest ecology of migratory birds, and small mammal ecology. A second effort has been to understand the dynamics of oak forests and their management for wildlife. Part of this work has involved survey work for migratory birds and small mammals for both the National Forest and Park Service lands in the region. In recent years this work has involved use of GIS and Remote Sensing technology to describe and understand animal distributions on a landscape scale. He also is working with a local landowner group to restore native grasslands on their properties and to monitor biodiversity following those activities.

Current projects in developing countries include deer ecology in Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia; large mammal surveys and the distribution of Asiatic black bears in China; and mapping large mammal use of forest corridors in China.

He has more than 80 peer-reviewed articles on wildlife ecology, in addition to many articles for public or professional education. McShea has co-edited three volumes, one each on deer management, oak ecosystem management, and dry tropical forest ecology. He is currently involved in teacher and professional training by offering short courses in forest biodiversity, large mammal survey techniques, and wildlife management. He is co-chair of the IUCN Deer Specialist Group and a member of the IUCN Bear Specialist Group.

Professional training for wildlife managers has been conducted in Burma, China, Brazil, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. McShea serves as an adjunct with several universities (University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Utah State University, Peking University, and James Madison University). He has taught courses at the University of Pennsylvania, George Mason University, St. Lawrence University, Cornell University, and SUNY Binghamton.

Bill is interested in providing knowledge that helps solve human/animal conflicts and conserves biodiversity.

Selected Publications

McShea, W. J., S. J. Davies, and N. Bhumpakphan. editors. 2011. Ecology and Conservation of Seasonally Dry Forests in Asia. Smithsonian Scholarly Press.

Liu, F. W. J. McShea, D. L. Garshelis, X. Zhu, D. Wang, and L. Shao. 2011. Human-wildlife conflicts influence attitudes but not necessarily behaviors: Factors driving the poaching of bears in China. Biological Conservation 144: 538-547.

Heckel, C. D., N. A. Bourg, W. J. McShea and S. Kalisz. 2010. Nonconsumptive effects of a generalist ungulate herbivore drive decline of unpalatable forest herbs. Ecology 91:319-326.

McShea, W. J. C. Stewart, L. Peterson, P. Erb, R. Stuebing and B. Giman. 2009. The importance of secondary forest blocks for terrestrial mammals within an Acacia/secondary forest matrix in Sarawak, Malaysia. Biological Conservation 142: 3108-3119.

Liu, F., W. J. McShea, D. L. Garshelis, X. Zhu, D. Wang, J. Gong, and Y. Chen. 2009. Spatial distribution as a measure of conservation needs: an example with Asiatic black bears in Southwestern China. Biodiversity and Distribution 15: 649-659.

Garshelis, D. L., H. Wang, D. Wang, X. Zhu, S. Li, and W. J. McShea. 2008. Do revised giant panda estimates aid in their conservation? Ursus 19:168-176.

McShea, W. J., W. M. Healy, P. Devers, T. Fearer, F. H. Koch, D. Stauffer, and J. Waldon. 2007. Forestry Matters: Decline of oaks will impact wildlife in hardwood forests. Journal of Wildlife Management 71: 1717-1728.

McShea, W. J., K. Koy, T. Clements, A. Johnson, C. Vongkhamheng, and M. Aung. 2005. Finding a needle in the haystack: Regional analysis of suitable Eld’s deer (Cervus eldi) forest in Southeast Asia. Biological Conservation 125:101-111

McShea, W. J., and W. M. Healy. editors. 2002. Oak Forest Ecosystems: Ecology and Management for Wildlife. Johns Hopkins University Press. (Paperback 2003)

McShea, W. J. and J. H. Rappole. 2000. Managing the abundance and diversity of breeding bird populations through manipulation of deer populations. Conservation Biology 14:1161-1170.

McShea, W. J. 2000. The influence of acorn crops on annual variation in rodent and bird populations. Ecology 81:228-238.

McShea, W. J., H. B. Underwood, and J. H. Rappole. editors. 1997. The Science of Overabundance: Deer ecology and population management. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington DC. (Paperback 2003)

Contact Information

mailSmithsonian's National Zoo
Conservation & Research Center
1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, VA 22630