Nathan Van Schmidt
Dr. Nathan Van Schmidt is Director of Waterbird Science at San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. After getting a B.S. in Zoology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, his dissertation at University of California-Berkeley researched how human irrigation created wetlands in the Sierra Nevada foothills that allowed rails to persist through California's droughts. He also worked at the U.S. Geological Survey, where his work included a review of the staff of waterbird populations and threats to their persistence in Saline lakes of the Great Basin. Most recently, his team has focused on estimating and understanding the collapse of Phalarope populations in San Francisco Bay, which once rivaled Mono Lake in size but have since dwindled to a few thousand individuals. His research focuses on analyzing long-term field monitoring datasets and using them to parameterize simulation models that forecast coupled changes in habitats and the species that depend on them into the future, with the aim of identifying effective long-term conservation strategies.