Marie Pitts

Marie Pitts

Master's student

Office: ISC 2092
Email: [[mlpitts]]
Website: {{}}
Advisor: John Swaddle

Biographical Information
  • M.S. Biology, The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, 2010
  • B.S. Zoology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 2006 
  • Sushi connoisseur for the greater Williamsburg area
Research interests


Graduate Research

I am broadly interested in animal behavior, ecology, and conservation, with a particular focus on how anthropogenic landscapes affect wildlife survival and reproduction. Currently I am investigating whether patterns of land cover and chemical use predict the presence and reproductive success of eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) living on golf courses. Golf courses are an increasingly common human-altered landscape that can vary widely in design and chemical use. Using GIS, I map out land cover and golf course pesticide intensity then test for associations between land cover composition and configuration with reproductive parameters such as clutch size and number of fledged young. These data will be analyzed at multiple spatial scales in order to determine which features at which scales are most influential. The results may provide golf course managers with guidelines for designing and maintaining golf courses in a way that optimizes bluebird success, and add to our overall understanding of how human activity is impacting native wildlife.


Current Consulting with ACER Lab

I and others in the ACER lab (Matthias Leu, Dan Ramos) are attempting to use GIS to model traffic volume across the United States. This information can then be used
with the lab's current amphibian studies, as well as for other research dealing with the affect of roads on wildlife patterns.