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Mitchell Eaton

Adjunct Faculty

Research Ecologist, SE CASC



Ph.D., University of Colorado (2009)

Research Interests

Population ecology and conservation, decision-theoretic science

I am a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, and an adjunct faculty member in the Applied Ecology Department. My focus is in applied wildlife ecology/management, emphasizing the use of quantitative modeling to understand resource dynamics and use of decision-theoretic methods to guide management decisions under uncertainty. My research includes endangered-species conservation, modeling species’ distribution, abundance, and connectivity, and developing parameter estimation and decision-optimization methods. I work closely with natural resource decision makers and their stakeholders to help frame management problems, formulate approaches to evaluate trade-offs and optimally allocate limited resources, and consider how science can most effectively support management needs. I have an ongoing interest in tropical ecology including crocodilian conservation and wildlife harvest dynamics.

Web Resources

Selected Publications

Eaton, MJ, DR Breininger, JD Nichols, PL Fackler, S McGee, M Smurl, D DeMeyer, J Baker, and MB Zondervan2021Integrated hierarchical models to inform management of transitional habitat and the recovery of a habitat specialistEcosphere 121):e03306.

Yurek S, MJ Eaton, R Lavaud, RW Laney, D DeAngelis, WE Pine III, M La Peyre, J Martin, P Frederick, H Wang, MR Lowe, FA Johnson, EV Camp, R Mordecai.  2021.  Modeling structural mechanics of oyster reef self-organization including environmental constraints and community interactions. Ecological Modelling 440: 109389

Sollmann, R, MJ Eaton, W Link, P Mulondo, S Ayebare, S Prinsloo, AJ Plumptre, D Johnson.  2020.  A Bayesian Dirichlet process community occupancy model to estimate community structure and species similarity. Ecological Applications 0000):e02249

Johnson, FA, MJ Eaton, J Mikels-Carrasco, and DJ Case.  2020.  Building adaptive capacity to respond to global change. Ecology & Society 25(3):9

Carlson, AK, WW Taylor, MR Cronin, MJ Eaton, L Eckert, M Kaemingk, A Reid, and A Trudeau. 2020. A Social–Ecological Odyssey in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. Fisheries 45(5):238–243.

Sierra-Altamiranda A, H Charkhgard, MJ Eaton, J Martin, S Yurek, BJ Udell.  2020.  Spatial conservation planning under uncertainty using modern portfolio theory and Nash bargaining solution. Ecological Modelling 423: 109016.

Rubenstein, MA, SR Weiskopf, SL Carter, MJ Eaton, C Johnson, AJ Lynch, BW Miller, TL Morelli, MA Rodriguez, A Terando, and LM Thompson. 2020. Do empirical observations support commonly ‑ held climate change range shift hypotheses ? A systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence 9:1–10.

Eaton, MJ, S Yurek, Z Haider, J Martin, FA Johnson, BJ Udell, H Charkhgard, and C Kwon. 2019. Spatial conservation planning under uncertainty: adapting to climate change risks using modern portfolio theory. Ecological Applications 29:1–19.

Xiao, X, E Seekamp, MP van der Burg, MJ Eaton, S Fatorić, and A McCreary. 2019. Optimizing historic preservation under climate change: Decision support for cultural resource adaptation planning in national parks. Land Use Policy 83:379–389.

Shea, CP, MJ Eaton, DI MacKenzie. 2019. Implementation of an occupancy-based monitoring protocol for a widespread and cryptic species, the New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis). Wildlife Research. 46(3): 222-235.

Eaton, MJ, AK Fuller, FA Johnson, RC Stedman, M Hare. 2016. Application of Decision Science to Resilience Management in Jamaica Bay. In W Solecki, E Sanderson, J Waldman and A Parris (eds) Prospects for Resilience.   Island Press.

Johnson, FA, MJ Eaton, J Williams, G Jensen, and J Madsen. 2015. Training Conservation Practitioners to be Better Decision Makers. Sustainability. 7:8354–8373.

Johnson, FA, MJ Eaton, G McMahon, R Nilius, M Bryant, DJ Case, J Martin, NJ Wood, and LO Taylor. 2015. Global Change and Conservation Triage on National Wildlife Refuges. Ecology & Society. 20(4): 14.

Nichols, JD, MJ Eaton and J Martin. 2014. Thresholds for conservation and management: structured decision making as a conceptual framework. In P Geissler, J Gross, G Guntenspergen, (eds) Application of Threshold Concepts in Natural Resource Decision Making. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heildeberg.

Eaton, MJ, J Martin, JD Nichols, C McIntyre, MC McCluskie and JA Schmutz. 2014. Application of threshold concepts to ecological management problems: occupancy of golden eagles in Denali National Park, Alaska. In P Geissler, J Gross, G Guntenspergen, (eds) Application of Threshold Concepts in Natural Resource Decision Making. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heildeberg.

Eaton, MJ, PT Hughes, JE Hines and JD Nichols. 2014. Testing metapopulation concepts: effects of patch characteristics and neighborhood occupancy on the dynamics of an endangered lagomorph. Oikos. 123(6): 662-676.

Breininger, D, B Duncan, MJ Eaton, F Johnson, and JD Nichols. 2014. Integrating land cover modeling and adaptive management to conserve endangered species and reduce catastrophic fire risk. Land. 3:874–897.

Eaton, MJ. 2012. Monitoring trends in hunting returns and harvest sustainability: catch per unit effort (CPUE). In Clark, C.J. and J.R. Poulsen (eds). Tropical Forest Conservation and Industry Partnership: an Experience from the Congo Basin. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK.

Laurance, WF, et al. 2012. Averting biodiversity collapse in tropical protected areas. Nature. 489: 290-294.

Link, WA and MJ Eaton. 2012. On thinning of chains in MCMC. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 3(1): 112-115.

Eaton, MJ, PT Hughes, JD Nichols, A Morkill and C Anderson. 2011. Spatial occupancy patterns of the Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri). Journal of Wildlife Management. 75(5): 1186-1193.

Eaton, MJ and WA Link. 2011. Estimating age from recapture data: integrating incremental growth measures with ancillary data to infer age-at-length. Ecological Applications.   21(7): 2487-2497.

Martin, J, JD Nichols, BC Lubow, MJ Eaton, MC Runge, BM Stith, and CA Langtimm. 2011. Structured decision making as a proactive approach to dealing with sea level rise in Florida. Climatic Change. 107(1-2): 185-202.

Williams, BK, MJ Eaton, D Breininger. 2011. Adaptive resource management and the value of information. Ecological Modelling. 222(18): 3429– 3436.

Eaton, MJ, G Myers, SO Kolokotronis, M Leslie and G Amato. 2010. Barcoding bushmeat: molecular identification of Central African and South American harvested vertebrates. Conservation Genetics. 11(4): 1389-1404.

Eaton, MJ, A Martin, JB Thorbjarnarson and G Amato. 2009. Species-level diversification of African dwarf crocodiles (Genus Osteolaemus): a geographic and molecular phylogenetic perspective. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 50(3): 496-506.


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