Scientists & Staff

Frank R. Thompson

Frank R. Thompson

Research Wildlife Biologist
202 ABNR Bldg., University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO, 65211-7260
Phone: 573-875-5341 x224

Contact Frank R. Thompson

Current Research

I discover and develop information needed for conservation strategies for songbirds and other wildlife. My primary focus is to determine the effects of selected land use practices on forest songbirds, determine population demographics of selected neotropical migratory birds and identify factors regulating populations, and to determine factors affecting nest predation and brood parasitism. This information is used in landscape and habitat modeling to assist with conservation planning at landscape and ecoregional-scales. As Project Leader, I lead a multidisciplinary unit to develop the information needed for sustainable management of Central Hardwood ecosystems.

Research Interests

I am very interested in the development of tools and technologies to assist conservation planners and managers in planning wildlife conservation at large spatial scales. This involves the development of landscape change and wildlife habitat and viability models that can be used with existing data sources and GIS products over large areas such as national forests and ecological sections and provinces.

Why This Research is Important

Land managers and conservationists need tools based on state of the art science to accomplish conservation and management objectives.


  • University of Missouri, Ph.D. Wildlife Biology, 1987
  • University of Vermont, M.S. Wildlife Biology, 1982
  • Rutgers University, Cook College, B.S. Wildlife Science, 1979

Professional Organizations

  • The Wildlife Society
  • American Ornithologists' Union
  • Cooper Ornithological Society

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Datasets

  • Potts, Robert S.; Gustafson, Eric J.; Stewart, Susan I.; Thompson, Frank R.; Bergen, Kathleen; Brown, Daniel G.; Hammer, Roger; Radeloff, Volker; Bengston, David; Sauer, John; Sturtevant, Brian. 2005. The changing Midwest assessment: data and shapefiles. St. Paul, MN: USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station.

National Research Highlights

1) Biologist conducting bird monitoring
2) Eastern towhee

Long-term Monitoring Reveals Bird Population Dynamics in the South

Year: 2020

The USDA Forest Service monitors birds because of interest in bird conservation, and many birds are important management indicator species or are threatened, endangered, or sensitive species. Scientists analyzed 26 years of bird monitoring data from southern national forests to determine the status of birds on these forests to help guide land management planning.

An Acadian flycatcher sitting on its nest.  We found that Acadian flycathcer nests failed more oftent at warmer temperatures due to increased nest predation.

A Warmer Midwest Could Lead to a Common Bird Becoming Less Common

Year: 2018

A warmer future may lead to a common midwestern songbird becoming considerably less common because nesting success is predicted to decline with warmer temperatures. Scientists discovered that climate warming can affect species through complex effects on their population ecology and not simply by causing species to move north.

Prairie Warbler.

The importance of forest management to birds affected by climate change

Year: 2017

In their ongoing efforts to better understand how bird species will respond to changes in the forest from climate change, Forest Service scientists find that forest management can play an important role in protecting forest bird populations.

Numbers indicate the future:current ratio, while colors represent the change class, where red=large decrease (future:current ratio 0.5 & 0.2 & 1.2 & 2.0). Louis Iverson, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Forecasts from Multiple Models Provides more Reliable Results

Year: 2016

Using multiple models instead of a single model allows researchers to develop more reliable forecasts of future forest change.

Oak savanna and woodlands are being restored through the use of prescribed fire and tree thinning and provide habitat for many birds of conservation concern. Jennifer Reidy, University of Missouri

Many Bird Species Benefit From Oak Savanna Woodland Restoration

Year: 2014

Many bird species of conservation concern in the midwestern United States are associated with early successional or open forest conditions that are maintained by disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest. Growing interest in restoring savannas and woodlands in the Midwest for a variety of objectives can benefit many of these bird species.

Models indicate strategically placed habitat restoration is effective at reversing declines of Prairie Warblers whereas randomly placed management is not. Wolfgang Wander, Wikimedia Commons.

Prairie Warbler and Wood Thrush Populations Respond Well to Strategic Conservation Efforts

Year: 2013

A Forest Service scientist and his research partners demonstrated the power of landscape-based population viability models by evaluating responses of prairie warbler and wood thrush populations to different landscape-scale conservation scenarios. They found that relying on randomly placed habitat conservation was ineffective and potentially counterproductive, whereas strategic conservation focused around concentrations of public land and highly forested landscapes reversed regional population declines. These findings will help ensure scarce conservation funding is spent in the most effective manner.

Forest Service

Research Addresses Decline of Young Forests in Central Hardwood Region

Year: 2012

Report details how young forests can be sustainably created and managed in a landscape context

Last modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2014