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Elizabeth Hunter

Assistant Professor
image of Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hunter
101 Cheatham Hall

Assistant Unit Leader, Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Ph.D, University of Georgia (2016)
M.S., State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2012)
B.S., University of Wisconsin (2006)


Elizabeth Hunter is a vertebrate conservation biologist and landscape ecologist focusing on developing management strategies for at-risk species in the face of global change. Her research program combines field data collection on birds and reptiles with quantitative models that are tailored to management-relevant questions. She is particularly interested in the conservation and management of species in the face of climate change, ecosystem restoration through species reintroductions, and decision-making and habitat management for multi-species conservation.

  • Vulnerability of salt marsh bird species to sea level rise
  • Habitat management for declining grassland bird species
  • Climate influences on Gopherus tortoise populations
  • Conservation and management of Galapagos giant tortoises
  • Hunter, E.A. and D.C. Rostal.  2021.  Fire management effects on long-term gopher tortoise population dynamics.  Journal of Wildlife Management.
  • Mitchell, C.I., D.A. Friend, L.T. Phillips, E.A. Hunter, J.E. Lovich, M. Agha, S.R. Puffer, K.L. Cummings, P.A.Medica, T.C. Esque, K.E. Nussear, and K.T. Shoemaker. 2021. ‘Unscrambling’ the drivers of egg production in Agassiz’s desert tortoise: climate and individual attributes predict reproductive output.  Endangered Species Research 44:217-230. 
  • Hunter, E.A., J.P. Gibbs, L.J. Cayot, W. Tapia, M.C. Quinzin, J.M.Miller, A. Caccone, K.T. Shoemaker.  2020.  Seeking compromise across competing goals in conservation translocations: The case of the “extinct” Floreana Island Galapagos giant tortoise. Journal of Applied Ecology 57:136-148. 
  • Hunter, E.A., M.D. Matocq, P.J. Murphy, and K.T. Shoemaker.  2017. Differential effects of climate on survival rates drive hybrid zone dynamics. Current Biology 27:3898-3903.  
  • Hunter, E.A., N.P. Nibbelink.  2017.  Using environmental heterogeneity to plan for sea level rise. Conservation Biology 31:1409-1417.
  • Hunter, E.A. 2017.  How will sea level rise affect threats to nesting success for Seaside Sparrows?  The Condor: Ornithological Applications 119:459-468. 
  • Hunter, E.A., N.P. Nibbelink, and R.J. Cooper. 2017. Divergent forecasts for two salt marsh specialists in response to sea level rise. Animal Conservation 20:20-28. 
  • Hunter, E.A., N.P. Nibbelink, and R.J. Cooper.  2016. Threat predictability influences seaside sparrow nest site selection when facing trade-offs from predation and flooding. Animal Behaviour 120:135-142. 
  • Nuse, B.L., R.J. Cooper, and E.A. Hunter. 2015. Prospects for predicting changes to coastal wetland bird populations due to accelerated sea level rise. Ecosphere6:art286. 
  • Hunter, E.A., N P. Nibbelink, C.R. Alexander, K. Barrett, L.F. Mengak, R.K. Guy, C.T. Moore, and R.J. Cooper. 2015. Coastal vertebrate exposure to predicted habitat changes due to sea level rise. Environmental Management 56:1528-1537.
  • Gibbs, J.P., E.A. Hunter, K.T. Shoemaker, W.H. Tapia, and L.J. Cayot. 2014. Giant tortoise reintroduction to Española Island, Galápagos: demographic outcomes and ecosystem implications. PLoS ONE 9:e110742. 
  • Hunter, E.A., and J.P. Gibbs. 2014. Densities of ecological replacement herbivores required to restore plant communities: a case study of giant tortoises on Pinta Island, Galápagos. Restoration Ecology 22:248-256. 
  • Hunter, E.A., J.P. Gibbs, L.J. Cayot, and W. Tapia. 2013. Equivalency of Galápagos giant tortoises used as ecological replacement species to restore ecosystem functions. Conservation Biology 27:701-709.