Scientific accuracy through independent review
REWI’s work is strengthened by technical review of our results by independent scientists and technical experts. Science Advisors provide technical input on specific projects and products to ensure rigorous review and scientific accuracy. The participation of REWI Science Advisors does not imply endorsement of REWI’s program or findings.
Senior Research Biologist
Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc.
Dr. Amanda Hale earned a BS in Biology and a BA in Spanish at Purdue University. She followed those degrees with an MS in Ecology, also at Purdue University, and then a PhD in Biology at the University of Miami. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Miami before joining the faculty at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth where she attained the rank of Professor of Biology. Dr. Hale is currently a senior research biologist with WEST, Inc. where she is the science lead for the Bat Practice Group. Dr. Hale’s areas of expertise include ecology, animal behavior, genetics, and conservation biology. She has more than 25 years of experience conducting field and lab-based research and has been investigating the effects of wind energy on birds and bats since 2008. In addition to serving as a science advisor to REWI (since 2011), Dr. Hale has been an associate editor to Ornithological Applications (2015-2022), is a member of the BWEC Scientific Advisory Committee (since 2018), and is an active member of several scientific organizations including the American Ornithological Society, the Ecological Society of America, and The Wildlife Society.
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Dr. Nelson received a B.A. in Biology from Trinity Christian College in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005. He then conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Harvard University. He joined the faculty of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory in 2009 and is currently a Professor. Dr. Nelson is a broadly trained ecologist who investigates how environmental changes affect the structure and function of ecosystems around the world. During the past decade he has led efforts to use stable isotope and genetic data to understand the movement and population dynamics of bats and birds affected by wind-energy development in North America. Dr. Nelson founded and directs the Central Appalachians Stable Isotope Facility, and he serves on the editorial boards of the journals Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and PeerJ. He is a member of the Ecological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Dr. Leslie New graduated from Cornell University (BS in Natural Resources, 2003) and the University of St Andrews (PhD in Statistics and Biology, 2010). She remained at St Andrews as a postdoctoral fellow, before continuing her research with the US Marine Mammal Commission and the US Geological Survey at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Ursinus College, where she focuses on statistical ecology. Her research interests include the practical application of hierarchical Bayesian state-space models, understanding and mitigating human-wildlife conflict, and quantitatively assessing the population consequences of disturbance. Dr. New is particularly interested in the quantification, incorporation and propagation of uncertainty in statistical models used for management and conservation decisions.
Senior Fellow (University Faculty) Emerita
Dr. Terry L. Root is Senior Fellow (University Faculty) Emerita in Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Her research addressed how plants and animals are changing with the changing climate. She was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change 4th Assessment Report that in 2007 was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Al Gore. Also, she was a lead author for the 3rd Assessment Report (2001) and a Review Editor for the 5th Assessment Report (2014). In addition to other honors, Root was awarded the Spirit of Defenders Award for Science by Defenders of Wildlife in 2010, and Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 from the conservation organization Point Blue. She serves as science advisor to several non-governmental organizations, has served on the boards of many environmental organizations, and is currently serving on the board of Defenders of Wildlife and BirdCaribbean.
Root earned her undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of New Mexico, her master’s degree in Biology from the University of Colorado and her doctorate in Biology from Princeton University. She was a Professor at the University of Michigan for 14 years, until she moved to Stanford University where she was on the faculty for 15 years. She retired and moved to Sarasota, FL, in the summer of 2015.
National Audubon Society
Dr. Sarah Saunders graduated from Washington University in St. Louis (BA in Biology, 2010) and University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (PhD in Conservation Biology, 2015). Her graduate work focused on the environmental and genetic factors influencing the survival and reproduction of Great Lakes piping plovers, an endangered shorebird. From there, she joined Elise Zipkin’s quantitative ecology lab at Michigan State University as a postdoctoral researcher, where she modeled the abundance, distribution, and climatic drivers of monarch butterfly populations using community science data. Currently, Dr. Saunders is a Quantitative Ecologist in the Science Division at the National Audubon Society (remotely from her home in Michigan), where she primarily works on projects focused on the Great Lakes region, including modeling occupancy and abundance trends of marshbirds, coordinating science work across Audubon’s Great Lakes Initiative, assisting in development writing to further regional conservation efforts, and collaborating with the Audubon Great Lakes team in Chicago. Her research interests include the application of innovative quantitative methods to understand the demography, distribution, and trend of wildlife populations. In particular, she is interested in how variation in abiotic factors throughout the annual cycle impacts the population dynamics of migratory species. To tackle these questions, Dr. Saunders specializes in integrated population modeling, a method that enables incorporation of multiple data types and seasonal factors into a unified analysis for improved inference on population dynamics. In addition to birds, she has also studied organisms as diverse as red-sided garter snakes and tigers.