Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Jeffrey P Hoover
Title: Avian Ecologist
Mailing address:
1816 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820
Office address:
Address mailcode: 652
Office room:
Location: 2018 I-Bldg
Phone: 217-244-2922
Fax: 217-244-0802

Plan, develop, & conduct field-oriented research on the ecology/ conservation of birds, with applications to conservation and management issues in IL
My research philosophy is as integrative as the field of ecology itself. I conduct both basic and applied research. I address research questions and test hypotheses both with field experiments and with correlational studies. Within the broad field of ecology, I study behavioral ecology, population dynamics, ecological factors affecting diversity and community composition, variation in life-history traits, and the effects of ecosystem restoration on biotic communities. My research spans hierarchical levels of biological organization including individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. It is important to me that my research leads to scientific discovery, furthers the field of ecology, and is relevant to conservation.

For the past 15 years, I have studied the ecology of birds (particularly migratory songbirds) in forest and grassland ecoystems of the midwestern and eastern U.S. I have conducted rigorous experimental and correlational field studies to address ecological questions and conservation issues. A primary focus of my research is determining how landscape composition affects selective ecological forces such as nest predation and brood parasitism in breeding birds. I examine how these forces directly influence community structure, population dynamics, and breeding decisions in birds and apply the results of my research to ongoing ecosystem restoration projects.

Focal species are an integral part of my research program. For example, I have been conducting a long-term (11-year) study of breeding populations of Prothonotary Warblers (a migratory species that is a forested wetland specialist) in southern Illinois. This research has yielded information from >3,000 individually marked adults, >6,000 nesting attempts, >5,500 offspring produced and represents one of the most detailed and extensive data sets ever recorded for a migratory passerine. Innovative field experiments with this species led to the discovery that the between-year breeding-site fidelity of adults is driven by experience-based decision rules (based on their own reproductive success). This study system is now supporting many new research directions and collaborations which include analyzing stable isotopes in feathers to link breeding and wintering grounds and determine natal dispersal distances, modeling the evolution of host defenses against brood parasitism, determining factors affecting extra-pair paternity (EPP), and linking EPP to the subsequent breeding decisions of individuals.

I have additional research interests that include studying annual variation in bird communities over-wintering in temperate forests, the response of grassland birds to mine reclamation, and the effects of hydrologic restoration on bird communities in bottomland forests.
Message to students:
Professional affiliations:
Selected publications:
Hoover, J. P. 2009. Effects of hydrologic restoration on birds breeding in forested wetlands. Wetlands 29:563-573.

Hoover, J. P., and M. E. Hauber. 2007. Individual patterns of habitat and nest-site use by hosts promote transgenerational transmission of avian brood parasitism status. Journal of Animal Ecology 76:1208-1214.

Hoover, J. P., and S. K. Robinson. 2007. Retaliatory mafia behavior by a parasitic cowbird favors host acceptance of parasitic eggs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104:4479-4483.

Hoover, J. P., and M. J. Reetz. 2006. Brood parasitism increases provisioning rate, and reduces offspring recruitment and adult return rates, in a cowbird host. Oecologia 149:165-173.

Hoover, J. P., K. Yasukawa, and M. E. Hauber. 2006. Spatially and temporally structured avian brood parasitism affects the fitness benefits of hosts
INHS Publink:
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Education: PhD, Animal Biology, University of Illinois, 2001

MS, Wildlife & Fisheries Science, Pennsylvania State University, 1992

BS, Wildife Management, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, 1989
Lab name: Lab research: Lab publications: Lab current projects:

Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

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