Personal Biography of John McCarty, Ph.D.
Dr. John McCarty studies the effects of variation in the environment on species and ecological communities. The goal of this work is to better understand the impacts of human activities on wildlife, with a focus on birds, and to help land and resource managers maintain healthy and diverse ecological communities. His lab is currently studying the ecology of grassland birds in a landscape dominated by farming. One focus of this work is to find ways to maximize the benefits to birds of remaining patches of natural habitat and to maximize the return on investments in on-farm conservation such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (U.S.D.A.) Conservation Reserve Program. The second focus is on understanding how the changes in farming practices associated with the adoption of transgenic crop varieties might impact birds.
Dr. McCarty's earlier research efforts examined the effects of forest management on fruit-eating birds, such as hermit thrushes and yellow-rumped warblers, in South Carolina (in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service), and the effects of PCB-contamination in the Hudson River on aquatic and riparian birds, especially tree swallows (in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).
Prior to his current position, Dr. McCarty spent three years in Washington D.C. working on the interface between science and environmental policy, as part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program. He served first as an Environmental Policy Fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Global Change Research Program. He was then awarded the AAAS Roger Revelle Fellowship in Global Stewardship and spent a year working with the USDA Forest Service and other federal agencies on the role of ecological research in land and resource management. Currently Dr. McCarty directs an interdisciplinary environmental studies program, teaches courses in ornithology, environmental science, and ecology, and conducts research.