Sarah Karpanty

Sarah Karpanty, Associate Professor

Assistant Department Head
Graduate Program Coordinator

B.S., Miami University (1998) 
Ph.D., The State University of New York
at Stony Brook (2003)

VT Shorebird Program
Google Scholar
Office: 150 Cheatham
Phone: (540) 231-4586

Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation
310 West Campus Drive
Virginia Tech,Cheatham Hall, Room 101 (MC 0321)
Blacksburg, VA 24061


Applied behavioral and population ecology; top-down and bottom-up drivers of population and community dynamics; climate change impacts on wildlife populations; shorebird and waterbird conservation; primate ecology; carnivore ecology; predator-prey interactions; tropical forest restoration; endangered species management

Courses Taught:

  • Principles of Fisheries and Wildlife Management (FiW 2114)

  • Vertebrate Population Ecology and Management (FiW 5314)

  • Conservation Biology (FiW 4314)

Current Research Projects:

U.S.-Based Projects

  • Fire Island Inlet to Moriches Inlet (FIMI) Stabilization Project: Assessing the interactions of red foxes and piping plovers on Fire Island, NY with implications for design of best management practices.
  • Harnessing plant biodiversity at Multiple Spatial Scales To Increase Ecosystem Services In Agricultural Systems
  • VCR Long Term Ecological Research on Shorebirds and Predators
  • Assessing the importance of Cape Cod National Seashore to Staging Endangered Roseate Terns
  • Long-term monitoring of red knots and other migratory shorebirds in coastal Virginia
  • Assessing deer population size, abundance and density at Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Forecasting effects of accelerating sea-level rise on Atlantic Coast piping plovers and identifying responsive conservation strategies
  • Piping plover adaptive management at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Multiple Factor Analysis of Piping Plover Responses to Hurricane Sandy

 International Projects:

  • Assessing the responses of the critically endangered golden crowned sifaka to climate change in northern Madagascar. 
  • An assessment of the ecology and human dimensions of warthogs in Nimule National Park to develop a possible plan for sustainable harvest by local human populations.
  • Native tree reforestation and school-based environmental education in Madagascar


Select Recent Publications:

*graduate, **undergraduate student, ***post-doc under my direction

  • Davis, K.L.*, D.H. Catlin, K.L. Hunt, M.J. Friedrich, S.J. Ritter, J.D. Fraser, and S.M. Karpanty. 2017. Hatch-year piping plover (Charadrius melodus) prospecting and habitat quality influence second-year nest site selection. The Auk. 134(1): 92-103.
  • Murphy, A*., Farris, Z.J.*, Karpanty, S., and Kelly, M.J. 2016. Estimating encounter rates and densities of lemur species in Northeastern Madagascar. International Journal of Primatology 37: 1-19.
  • Hillman, M.*, Karpanty, S.M., Fraser, J.D., and Derose-Wilson, A.  2015.  Effects of aircraft and recreation on colonial waterbird nesting behavior.  Journal of Wildlife Management. 79(7): 1192-1198.
  • Derose-Wilson, A.*, Fraser, J.D., Karpanty, S.M., and Hillman, M.* 2015.  Effects of overflights on incubating Wilson’s Plovers behavior and heart rate.  Journal of Wildlife Management. 79 (8): 1246-1254.
  • Farris Z.J.*, Golden C., Karpanty S., Murphy, A.*, Stauffer D., Andrianjakarivelo V.,Ratelolahy F., Holmes C, and Kelly M.J (2015). Hunting, exotic carnivores, and habitat loss: Anthropogenic effects on a native carnivore community, Madagascar.. PLoS One.  10(9): e0136456. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0136456
  • Farris Z.J.*, Karpanty S., Kelly M., Murphy A., Ratelolahy F., and Holmes C. 2015. Patterns of spatial co-occurrence among native and exotic carnivores in Northeastern Madagascar. Animal Conservation. 19(2): 189-198.
  • Farris Z.J.*, Gerber B.*, Kelly M.J., Karpanty S., Murphy, F., and Andrianjakarivelo V. 2015. When the carnivores roam: temporal patterns and partitioning among Madagascar’s native and exotic carnivores. Journal of Zoology 296: 45-57.
  • Kotschwar Logan, M.*, Gerber, B.D.*, Karpanty, S.M., Justin, S. and Rabenahy, F.N.  2015.  Assessing carnivore distribution from local knowledge across a human-dominated landscape in central-southeastern Madagascar.  Animal Conservation 18(1): 82-91.
  • Gieder, K.*, Karpanty, S.M.,  Fraser, J.D., Catlin, D.H., Gutierrez, B.T., Plant, N.G., Turecek, A.M., and Thieler, E.R.  2014.  A Bayesian network approach to predicting nest presence of the federally-threatened piping plover using barrier island features.  Ecological Modelling 276: 38-50.
  • Hillman, M.D.*, Karpanty, S.M., Fraser, J.D. 2013.  Nest and breeding population abundance of Least Terns:  Assessing bias and variation in timing and methods.   Journal of Field Ornithology, 84(3): 287-298.

Last updated January, 2017