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  • UC Riverside
  • College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

John Rotenberry


Professor of Biology
Campus Director of the Natural Reserve System
Office 3772 Spieth Hall
Phone (951) 827-3953


Ph.D., Oregon State University, 1978

My laboratory studies community ecology and conservation biology, particularly how environmental factors interact to determine species diversity and community composition, and how the relative importance of those factors varies.  My research has focused on communities in semi-arid shrubsteppe habitat, with emphasis on birds, shrubs, and arthropods; annual plants and their pollinators in old-field ecosystems; and conservation biology of vertebrates from a landscape ecological perspective.

Other research interests include general issues in avian ecology, particularly behavioral aspects such as habitat and diet selection, reproductive biology, and community ecology.  We are especially interested in modelling habitat associations of passerine birds and documenting changes in these associations through time and space.  Much of my laboratory's research relies on extensive use of multivariate statistics, and I have a broad interest in application of multivariate analysis to biological problems, and the conceptualization of ecological systems in a multivariate framework.

I participate in the Evolutionary Biology graduate group, and am also the Campus Director for the portion of the UC Natural Reserve System managed by UCR.  Recent and ongoing research includes:

Arthropod-plant associations in coastal sage scrub habitats: implications for the distribution and management of vertebrate insectivores.  PI's R.  Redak, J.  Rotenberry, and T.  Scott.  Highway rights-of-way as wildlife habitat and corridors: a regional and local analysis.  PI's T.  Scott, J.  Rotenberry, and M.  Morrison.  Monitoring neotropical migratory birds in forest habitat and transition zones surrounding montane meadows.  PI's J.  Rotenberry and B.  Carlson.  Impacts of habitat alteration on raptors in the Snake River Birds of Prey Area.  PI John Rotenberry.  Autecological studies of sensitive coastal sage scrub target birds and mammals.  PI's John Rotenberry and Mary Price.  Autecological studies of sensitive coastal sage scrub birds and mammals: regional distributions and local edge effects.  PI's J.  Rotenberry and M.  Price.

Some Representative Publications....

  • Chase, M.K., W.B.  Kristan, III, A.J.  Lynam, M.V.  Price, and J.T.  Rotenberry.  2000.  Single species as indicators of species richness and composition in California coastal sage scrub bird and small mammal communities.  Conservation Biology 14:474-487.  Click here to download a PDF copy. 
  • Rotenberry, J.T., and J.A.  Wiens.  In press.  Foraging patch selection by shrubsteppe sparrows.  Ecology. 
  • Rotenberry, J.T.  In press.  Avian conservation research needs in western shrublands: exotic invaders and the alteration of ecosystem processes.  In J.  Marzluff and R.  Sallabanks (editors).  Avian conservation: research needs and effective implementation.  Island Press. 
  • Rotenberry, J.T., and S.T.  Knick.  In press.  From the individual to the landscape: multiscale habitat associations of a shrubsteppe passerine and its implications for conservation biology.  In P.  Vickery and J.  Herkert (editors).  Ecology and conservation of grassland and shrubland birds. Studies in Avian Biology.
  • Knick, S.T., and J.T.  Rotenberry.  In press.  Landscape characteristics of disturbed shrubsteppe habitats in southwestern Idaho.  Landscape Ecology.
  • Bolger, D.T., T.A.  Scott, and J.T.  Rotenberry.  1997.  Breeding bird abundance in an urbanizing landscape.  Conservation Biology 11:406-421. 
  • Rotenberry, J.T., M.  Zuk, L.  Simmons, and C.  Hayes.  1996.  Phonotactic parasitoids and cricket song structure: an evaluation of alternative hypotheses.  Evolutionary Ecology 10:233-243. 
  • Knick, S.T., and J.T.  Rotenberry.  1995.  Landscape characteristics of shrubsteppe habitats and breeding passerine birds.  Conservation Biology 9:1059-1071. 
  • Rotenberry, J.T., R.J.  Cooper, J.M.  Wunderle, and K.S.  Smith.  1995.  When and how are populations limited: the roles of insect outbreaks, fires, and other natural disturbances.  Pages 55-84 in T.E.  Martin and D.M.  Finch (eds.) Ecology and management of neotropical migratory birds: a synthesis and review of critical issues.  Oxford Univ.  Press. 

Recent Teaching....

  • Biology 5C, Introduction to Population Biology
  • Biology 217, Population and Community Ecology
  • Biology 230, Multivariate Analysis of Ecological Communities