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Fish Science

Habitat Science


Project Leads


Scott on a coastal Island with an infrared burrow probe used to assess burrow occupancy and reproductive success for burrow nesting species like the rhinoceros auklet and tufted puffin
Scott on a coastal Island with an infrared burrow probe used to assess burrow occupancy and reproductive success for burrow nesting species like the rhinoceros auklet and tufted puffin


Research Focus
Shorebird and seabird ecology, and Puget prairie ecology 

Ph.D., University of Washington
M.S., University of Michigan
B.S., University of Michigan

University Affiliations
Affiliate Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology, University of Washington

Museum Research Associate, The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington

Scott F. Pearson, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist and Westside Research Team Leader

Dr. Pearson joined WDFW in 2004. His research is focused primarily on assessing population status and trends, diet, habitat use and quality, evaluating the effectiveness of conservation efforts, and identifying mechanisms responsible for animal population declines.

Scott has been studying avian ecology for over 20 years.  Scott’s previous research focused on evaluating the importance of various food resources to migrant and over-wintering birds, the behavioral and ecological aspects of hybridization in warblers, and identifying the habitat features important to bird reproduction and survival.  After completing his postdoc at the University of Florida, Scott worked as the Westside Natural Areas Ecologist for Washington Department of Natural Resources.

As an associate faculty member at the University of Washington, Scott works with graduate students and faculty to help address questions of management concern.

Current Research

Selected Publications

  • Pearson, S.F., P.J. Hodum, T.P. Good, M. Schrimpf, S. Knapp.  2013.  A model approach for estimating colony size, trends and habitat associations of burrow-nesting seabirds.  Condor 115(2):356–365.
  • Lance, M.M., W.Y. Chang, S.J. Jeffries, S.F. Pearson, and A. Acevedo-Gutiérrez.  2012.  Harbor seal diet in northern Puget Sound: implications for the recovery of depressed fish stocks. Marine Ecology Progress Series 464: 257–271
  • Pearson, S.F., R. Moore, and S.M. Knapp.  2012. Nest exclosures do not improve Streaked Horned Lark nest success.  Journal of Field Ornithology 83(3):315-322
  • Schrimpf, M.B., J.K. Parrish and S.F. Pearson.  2012. Trade-offs in prey quality and quantity revealed through the behavioral compensation of breeding seabirds.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 460: 247–259
  • Miller, S.L., M.G. Raphael, G.A. Falxa, C. Strong, J. Baldwin, T. Bloxton, B.M. Galleher, M. Lance, D. Lynch, S.F. Pearson, C.J. Ralph, and R.D. Young.  2012.  Recent population decline of the marbled murrelet in the Pacific Northwest.  Condor 114:771-781.
  • Camfield, A.F., S.F. Pearson, and K. Martin. 2010. Life history variation between high and low elevation subspecies of horned larks. Journal of Avian Biology: in press
  • Drovetski, S.V., S.F. Person, and S. Rohwer. 2005. Streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) has distinct mitochondrial DNA. Conservation Genetics: 6:875-883.
  • Pearson, S.F. and D.A. Manuwal. 2001. Breeding bird response to riparian buffer width in managed Douglas-fir forests of the Pacific Northwest. Ecological Applications: 11(3): 840-853.
  • Pearson, S.F. J. Giovanini, J.E. Jones, and A.J. Kroll. 2015. Breeding bird community continues to colonize riparian buffers ten years after harvest.  PLoS ONE:10(12): e0143241. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143241