Caren Cooper

Assistant Head, Biodiversity Research Lab

11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601


  • Ph.D. in Biology, Virginia Tech, 2000
  • M.S. in Zoology & Physiology, University of Wyoming, 1994
  • B.S. in Zoology, North Carolina State University, 1988


  • Director of Research Partnerships,
  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Citizen Science: Theory and Practice
  • Senior Fellow, Environmental Leadership Program

Research Interests

Caren Cooper is an ecologist with broad interest in conservation and natural resource management, particularly related to public stewardship of residential areas, the influence of lightscapes and soundscapes on birds, and the use of birds as bioindicators of environmental contaminants. She leads the development of software for the analysis of incubation behavior (Rhythm) and carries out studies in the field and lab. She seeks out research questions that are best solved through public engagement and collaborates with social scientists to better understand and refine citizen science methods to harness the potential of citizen science to create both scientific and social impacts.

You can find Cooper’s blog posts at Discover, PLOS, and Scientific American.

For more on Caren’s research, please visit

More Information about Caren's research activities can be found on the Citizen Science page

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Cooper CB, LR Larson, A Dayer, R Stedman, and D Decker. 2015. Are wildlife recreationists conservationists? Linking hunters, birdwatchers, and pro-environmental behaviors. J Wildlife Management
  • Cooper CB, J Shirk, and B Zuckerberg. 2014. The invisible prevalence of citizen science in global climate change research. PLoSONE 9(9): e106508. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106508
  • Crain R, Cooper CB, JL Dickinson. 2014. Citizen Science: a tool for integrating studies of human and natural systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 39:641-665.
  • Hille SM and CB Cooper. 2014. Elevational trends in life histories: revising the pace-of-life framework. Biological Reviews 90:204-213.
  • Cooper CB. 2014. Is there weekend bias in clutch-initiation dates from citizen science: Implications for studies of avian breeding phenology. International Journal of Biometeorology. 58:1415-1419.
  • Cooper CB and MV Voss. 2013. Incubation Patterns Reflect Temporal Changes in Developing Clutches. PLoS ONE 8(6):e65521. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065521
  • Cooper CB. 2012. Links and distinctions among citizenship, science, and Citizen Science. Democracy & Education 21:13.
  • Cooper CB, MA Voss, DR Ardia, WD Robinson, and SH Austin. 2011. Light increases the rate of embryonic development: implications for latitudinal trends in incubation period. Functional Ecology 25:769-776. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01847.x
  • Cooper CB. 2011. Media Literacy as a Key Strategy toward Improving Public Acceptance of Climate Change Science. BioScience 61: 231-237. doi:10.1525/bio.2011.61.3.8
  • Cooper CB and J Smith. 2010. Gender patterns in bird-related recreation in the USA and UK. Ecology and Society 15(4):4. [online]URL:
  • Bonney R, CB Cooper, J Dickinson, S Kelling, T Phillips, K Rosenberg, and J Shirk. 2009. Citizen Science: A new paradigm for increasing science knowledge and scientific literacy. BioScience 59:977-984.
  • Cooper CB, SJ Daniels, and JR Walters. 2008. Can we improve estimates of juvenile dispersal distance and survival? Ecology 89:3349-3361.
  • Cooper CB and D Bonter. 2008. Artificial nest site preferences of Black-capped Chickadees. Journal of Field Ornithology 79:193-197.
  • Cooper CB, J Dickinson, T Phillips, and R Bonney. 2007. Citizen Science as a Tool for Conservation in Residential Ecosystems. Ecology and Society 12(2):11. [online] URL:
  • Cooper CB, W Hochachka, G Butcher, and AA Dhondt. 2005. Egg viability as a constraint on seasonal and latitudinal trends in clutch size. Ecology 86:2018-2031.
  • Cooper CB and H Mills. 2005. Software to quantify incubation behavior from time series recordings. Journal of Field Ornithology 76:352-356.
  • Cooper CB and JR Walters. 2002. Experimental evidence of disrupted dispersal causing decline of an Australian passerine in fragmented habitat. Conservation Biology 16:471-478.

Fields of Research