Sara Kross

Research: Birds and ecosystem services

Columbia University

The department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology at Columbia University’s mission is to educate a new generation of scientists and practitioners in the theory and methods of ecology, evolution, and environmental biology. The Kross Conservation Lab in E3B does wide-ranging research on wildlife in human-dominated landscapes.
We seek to quantify the ecosystem services (such as control of insect pests) and disservices (such as damage to crops) from birds for multiple crops grown at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub. To our knowledge, this will be the first study to quantify the impacts of a single community of birds to multiple crops in one location, and the first to provide information on which species of bird provide such services (or disservices) to a number of commonly grown market vegetables and grain crops in the Northeastern United States. In addition to quantifying the net services from birds, we will collect natural history information on the avian communities on the farm.
About Sara Kross:

Born and raised in New York City, Sara Kross completed a BSc at Cornell University, a masters at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and a PhD at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. Kross returned to the United States as a David H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis and is now a Lecturer and Director of the Master’s Program in Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology at Columbia University. Dr. Kross’ research seeks to untangle the complex relationships between conservation biology, animal behavior, and anthropogenic forces by bridging diverse topics including predator-prey interactions, ecotoxicology, restoration ecology, and human-wildlife conflict.