Meet the Director
School of Natural Resources
Wm. J. Rucker Professor of Wildlife Conservation
Curator's Teaching Professor
- Phone: 573-882-0314
- Fax: 573-884-2636
- E-mail: RyanMR@missouri.edu
- Address: 103 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building
- Ph.D., 1982, Iowa State University
- Endangered species, avian ecology, conservation biology, population ecology, grassland and wetland ecosystem management.
- Ryan's research is focused on the population dynamics and habitat relations of non-game and endangered bird species in grassland and wetland ecosystems. Since 1983, Ryan and his students have been investigating factors limiting endangered Piping Plover populations in North America. They have developed a series of demographic simulation models predicting extinction times (Ryan et al. 1993), evaluating management efficacy (Larson et al. 2002), and identifying optimal recovery strategies for Piping Plovers (Larson et al. 2003). Their work has contributed to the purchase, by the Natural Conservancy, of a reserve protecting the largest breeding population of plovers in the United States; to establishing population recovery goals; and to the development of management strategies to enhance reproduction. They are currently testing the effects of "incidental take," as allowed under the Endangered Species Act, on viability of the Great Plains population of Piping Plovers.
- Another aspect of Ryan's program relates to conservation of grassland birds. Ryan has been investigating the federal Conservation Reserve Program to assess its value for the conservation of prairie birds (e.g., Farrand and Ryan 2005) and examining the population performance (source-sink status) of several species in CRP fields. This work is yielding information useful in federal policy decisions regarding continuing farm set-aside programs and grassland restoration efforts. His most recent work has assessed the conservation significance of agriculture field border plantings. Other recently completed studies evaluated the effect of grazing on grassland passerine reproductive success at National Wildlife Refuges in North Dakota; and (with Josh Millspaugh, associate professor, fisheries and wildlife) examined post-fledging habitat use, movements, and survival of grassland birds. We have just begun an investigation of patch burn-grazing management on grassland birds in Missouri.
- A final aspect of Ryan's program relates to application of active learning strategies to university education in wildlife conservation (e.g., Ryan and Campa 2005).
- McGowan, C. P., M. R. Ryan, M. C. Runge, J. J. Millspaugh, J. Cochrane. 2011.
The role of demographic compensation theory in incidental take assessments for endangered species. Biological Conservation 144:730-737.
- McGowan, C. P., D. C. Kesler, and M. R. Ryan. 2010.
Endangered Species Management. Lessons In Conservation, Network of Conservation and Education Practitioners. American Museum of Natural History. New York, NY.
- McGowan, C. P., and M. R. Ryan. 2010.
Arguments for using population models as quantitative tools in incidental take assessments for endangered species. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 1:183-188.
- Kerns, C. K., M. R. Ryan, R. K. Murphy, F. R. Thompson, and C. S. Rubin. 2010.
Factors affecting songbird nest survival in northern mixed-grass prairie. J. Wildlife Manage. 74:257-264.
- McGowan, C. P., and M. R. Ryan. 2009.
The effect of incidental take in the Missouri River on piping plovers in the Great Plains: Does flooding eggs and chicks cause jeopardy? Biological Conservation 142: 3128–3136
- McGowan, C. P., J. J. Millspaugh, M. R. Ryan, K. Kruse, and G. Pavelka. 2009.
Estimating survival of precocial chicks in the pre-fledging period using a catch curve analysis and count based age class data. J. Field Ornithology 80:79-87.
- Mayer, P. M., L M. Smith, R. Ford, D. C. Watterson, M. D. McCutchen, and M. R. Ryan. 2009.
Nest construction by a ground-nesting shorebird represents a trade-off between egg crypticity and thermoregulation. Oecologia 159: 893-901.