Skip to main content


Common Nighthawk

February 2017 Speaker Event

We were fortunate to have Dr. Peter Marra present research and case studies used to determine the effects of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife.

Dr. Peter Marra is the Head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. He earned an M.S. from Louisiana State University in 1989, a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1998 and has been a conservation scientist at the Smithsonian Institution's Conservation Biology Institute since 1999.

Pete's research in avian conservation science has three broad themes, including the ecology of migratory birds, urban ecosystem ecology, and disease ecology. His primary interests lie in understanding the factors that control population persistence and dynamics. Pete's research examines the roles of climate, habitat, food and pathogens as well as other direct sources of mortality on the individual condition of both individual migratory and resident birds and their populations.

His research is both fundamental and applied. It emphasizes incorporating events throughout the annual cycle to understand how more complex interactions across seasons drive the ecology and evolution of life history strategies. To that end, Pete is ambitiously pursuing technological solutions to track animals (dragonflies to bats) throughout their lifetimes. He is the co-author of Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer and co-editor of Birds of Two Worlds: The Ecology and Evolution of Migration.