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Cagan Sekercioglu

Professor | Section Head, Ecology & Physiology

Graduate Program Membership:

Office/Building: Biol 241
Phone: 801-585-1052
Sekercioglu Lab:

Research Statement

I am a conservation ecologist, ornithologist, tropical biologist, and nature photographer. My doctoral research focused on the causes and consequences of bird extinctions around the world. I have conducted ornithological fieldwork in Alaska, Angola, Colorado, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Turkey and Uganda to investigate the ecological factors behind the extinction-proneness of certain groups, such as tropical understory insectivores. I have an extensive ongoing bird banding and radio tracking study in Costa Rica to understand the factors behind the disappearance and survival of tropical forest bird species in human-dominated landscapes. I have compiled and continue to analyze a database of all the world's bird species to understand the distributions and determinants of avian life history traits and extinction correlates, and to assess the implications of avian extinctions on bird-mediated ecosystem processes and services, such as pollination, seed dispersal, and control of insect outbreaks. In addition to my empirical research, I am currently conducting community-based conservation projects in Ethiopia and Turkey, funded by the Christensen Fund. Our objectives are to integrate conservation education, research, capacity building and income generation, to increase the contribution of ecotourism, especially birdwatching, to community-based conservation in the developing world, and to improve the role of the private sector in the conservation of biodiversity. My ultimate goal is to prevent extinctions and consequent collapses of critical ecosystem processes while making sure that human communities benefit from conservation as much as the wildlife they help conserve.

Research Interests

General Interests
Specific Interests
  • Conservation Biology
  • Nature Photography
  • Tropical Biology
  • Ornithology
  • Landscape Ecology

Selected Publications

  • Frehner, E.H., Buechley, E.R., Şekercioğlu, C.H. Subterranean caching of domestic cow (Bos taurus) carcasses by North American badgers (Taxideataxus) in the Great Basin Desert, Utah. Western North American Naturalist. In press.
  • Alexandrino, E.R., Buechley, E.R., Karr, J.R., Forte, Y.A., Ferraz, K.M.P.M.B, Ferraz, S.F.B, Couto, H.T.Z., Şekercioğlu, C.H. 2017. Bird-based index of biotic integrity: assessing the ecological condition of Atlantic Forest patches in a human-modified landscape. Ecological Indicators 73, 662-675.
  • Kennedy, C.M., et al. 2016. Optimizing land use decision-making to sustain Brazilian agricultural profits, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Biological Conservation 206, 221-230.
  • Horns, J.J., Buechley, E., Aktay, L., Coban, E., Kırpık, M.A., Herman, J.M., Şaşmaz, Y., Şekercioğlu, C.H. 2016. Geolocator tracking of great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) identifies key regions of importance to migratory wetland specialists throughout the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Condor 118, 835-849.
  • Engelen, D., Lemessa, D., Şekercioğlu, C.H., Hylander, K. 2016. Similar bird communities in homegardens at different distances from Afromontane forests. Bird Conservation International. In press. Published online. DOI:10.1017/S0959270916000162.
  • Keinath, D., Doak, D., Hodges, K., Prugh, L., Fagan, W., Şekercioğlu, C.H., Butchart, S.H.M., Kauffman, M. 2017. A global analysis of traits predicting sensitivity to habitat fragmentation. Global Ecology and Biogeography 26(1), 115-127.

Courses Taught

  • 5385: Ornithology