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Mitchell Eaton

USGS Research Ecologist

Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

919-515-8640

Area(s) of Expertise

My research focuses on applied wildlife ecology, with a two-fold emphasis on decision analytic techniques for management and the use of quantitative methods for ecological inference. My research program includes parameter estimation and modeling species distribution/abundance and integrated species-habitat modeling to promote endangered species conservation. My work in decision analysis involves close collaboration with decision makers and their stakeholders to characterize management goals, the decision context and the most efficient use of science and monitoring to support decision-making. I apply principles of adaptive management to allow decisions to be made under uncertainty while formalizing learning through comparisons of observations with predicted system dynamics and behaviors.

Peer Reviewed Publications

Johnson, FA, MJ Eaton, J Mikels-Carrasco, and DJ Case. Accepted. Building adaptive capacity to respond to global change. Ecology & Society.

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

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. Accepted. Modeling structural mechanics of oyster reef self-organization including environmental constraints and community interactions. Ecological Modelling.

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

Rubenstein MA, SR Weiskopf, SL Carter, MJ Eaton, C Johnson, AJ Lynch, BW Miller, TL Morelli, M Rodriguez, A Terando, LM Thompson. Accepted. Do empirical observations support commonly-held climate change range shift hypotheses? A systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence.

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 PDF

Xiao, X, E Seekamp, M Post van der Burg, MJ Eaton, S Fatorić, 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. PDF

Shea, CP, MJ Eaton, and 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, 222-235. PDF

Eaton, MJ, AK Fuller, FA Johnson, MP Hare, and RC Stedman. 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, G McMahon, R Nilius, MR Bryant, DJ Case, J Martin, NJ Wood and L Taylor. 2015. Global change and conservation triage on National Wildlife Refuges. Ecology and Society. 20 (4):14. [onlinePDF]

Johnson, FA, MJ Eaton, JH Williams, GH Jensen and J Madsen. 2015. Training Conservation Practitioners to be Better Decision Makers. Sustainability. 2015(7), 8354-8373.

Breininger, D, B Duncan, M 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, 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.  Blog post.

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, pages 67-86 in P Geissler, J Gross, G Guntenspergen, (eds.) Application of Threshold Concepts in Natural Resource Decision Making. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heildeberg.

Nichols, JD, MJ Eaton and J Martin.  2014. Thresholds for conservation and management: structured decision making as a conceptual framework, pages 9-28 in P Geissler, J Gross, G Guntenspergen, (eds.) Application of Threshold Concepts in Natural Resource Decision Making. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heildeberg.

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

Eaton, MJ. 2012. Crocodilia in Central African Forests: a long history of exploitation and the impacts of modern commercial logging. 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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

Ntie, S, ID Soto-Calderón, MJ Eaton and NM Anthony. 2010. Cross-species amplification of bovid microsatellites in central African duikers (genus Cephalophus) and other sympatric artiodactyls.  Molecular Ecology Resources. 10(6): 1059–1065.

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.

Reports and Other Publications

Seekamp, E, M Post van der BurgS FatorićMJ EatonX Xiao, and A McCreary. 2019. Optimizing Historical Preservation Under Climate Change—An Overview of the Optimal Preservation Model and Pilot Testing at Cape Lookout National Seashore.  USGS Open File Report 2018-1180.  PDF

Runge MC, AM Romito, G Breese, JF Cochrane, SJ Converse, MJ Eaton, MA Larson, JE Lyons, DR Smith, AF Isham, eds. Introduction to Structured Decision Making, 2016 edition. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA.

Nilius, R, Dawsey, S, Eaton, M, Martin, J, Romanach, S, Baird, S, Bryant, M, Case, D, Johnson, F, McMahon, G, Pau, N, Pienaar, E, Ratnaswamy, M, Seibert, S, Wingrove, P, Wood N. 2014. Maximizing the social and ecological value of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina as the effects of global change processes increase.  USF&WS National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, WV. Download PDF from NCTC website.

Eaton, MJ, JA Royle.  2010.  Use of simulation to provide guidance for design of a telemetry study for detecting survival of shorebirds affected by contamination from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. USGS, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

Eaton, MJ. 2010. Dwarf Crocodile Osteolaemus tetraspis. In Manolis, SC & C Stevenson. (eds) Crocodiles. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Third Edition, pp. 127-132. Crocodile Specialist Group, Darwin.

Runge MC, JF Cochrane, SJ Converse, JA Szymanski, DR Smith, JE Lyons, MJ Eaton, A Matz, P Barrett, JD Nichols, MJ Parkin, K Motivans, DC Brewer.  2009.  Introduction to structured decision making, 5th edition. US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, USA