Jonathon Valente is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. He is interested in how landscape composition and patterns influence avian habitat selection, movement, behavior and population dynamics. Because he has a background in both ecology and statistics, Valente is also interested in understanding how variability in statistical or biological assumptions can impact the outcome of population modeling approaches. In his current work with SMBC, he investigates the roles of habitat fragmentation and conspecific attraction on wood thrush metapopulation processes.

Much of Valente’s past research focused on understanding avian habitat use at multiple spatial scales. For instance, he helped define habitat requirements for secretive marsh birds in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, and quantify the impacts of invasive riparian vegetation (e.g., saltcedar and Russian olive) on western bird communities. In more recent projects, he has helped identify bird species groups particularly sensitive to fragmentation effects and link avian space use with movement corridors and barriers. He also worked on multiple projects aimed at improving avian sampling techniques, such as point-count protocols and migrant monitoring using radar technology. Finally, because of his keen interest in the quantitative aspects of ecology, Valente has assisted colleagues on numerous other projects, including distinguishing animal personalities, long-term monitoring of habitat restoration sites and quantifying the effectiveness of insect sampling approaches.

Valente received a bachelor of arts with majors in zoology and environmental science from Miami University in 2004. In 2009, he completed a master's degree in wildlife science from Louisiana State University. From 2009 to 2012, he worked as a biologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he assisted with a suite of projects aimed at mitigating conflicts between avian conservation and military readiness or management activities. In 2012, Valente returned to school at Oregon State University and graduated in 2017 with his second master's degree, this time in statistics, and a Ph.D. in forest ecosystems and society.


Wood Thrush

The wood thrush, a bird known for its flute-like song, was once common throughout North American forests. Scientists want to understand why its population is declining.