Susannah Lerman

Susannah Lerman


Dr. Susannah Lerman is a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service in the Communities and Landscapes of the Urban Northeast unit. Susannah earned her B.A. in American History from the University of Delaware in 1994, an M.S. in Conservation Biology from Antioch University in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Massachusetts in 2011. Her research explores the links between human management of urban green spaces (e.g. yards, neighborhood parks and open space) and the health and success of native wildlife populations, and how these impacts subsequently feedback to influence people due to the role of biodiversity in delivering ecosystem services. Susannah translates the application of scientific information into management tools and integrates a citizen science approach with the ultimate goal of improving the sustainability of urban environments for birds, bees and other wildlife, and advancing human well-being through reconnecting people with nearby nature. Her research has identified key mechanisms driving biodiversity patterns through the design of experimental field studies that manipulate management behaviors and predation risk to test hypotheses and address research questions. Susannah’s research emphasis is on private lands, which provide opportunities for the public to participate in science, conservation, and shared stewardship. Susannah seeks opportunities to explain scientific findings to varying audiences while trying to facilitate connections between the public’s personal lives and the urban ecosystem. This includes presentations to the scientific and management community (e.g. urban foresters, wildlife biologists), birding and gardening clubs, and she regularly contributes to popular media including Science Friday, Scientific American, Audubon and the National Wildlife Federation.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ph.D.
Current Position:
Research Ecologist
USDA Forest Service
Conservation Science & Biology
Land, Open Space, Smart Growth
Natural Resource Management
Currently Working On:
Urban Natural Resources and Urban Wildlife
UMass Amherst, 201 Holdsworth Hall, 160 Holdsworth Way
Amherst, Massachusetts 01003
(413) 545-5447

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