Matt D Stephenson

Matt D Stephenson

  • Data Analyst II


Contact Info

Biorenew Lab
617 Bissell Rd

Area of Expertise

  • Landscape Ecology
  • Avian Nest Success


  • Ph.D., Iowa State University, 2022
  • B.S., Animal Ecology, Iowa State University, 2010

Background: Like many of my colleagues, I grew up camping, hiking, and canoeing around Iowa and the United States, which led to me to a career in wildlife.  While an undergraduate at Iowa State, I served as a Biological Science Technician for a summer at the Valentine NWR in the Nebraska Sandhills.  After graduating with a BS in Animal Ecology (wildlife focus) in 2010, I spent several field seasons working for the Iowa DNR on the Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program (MISM) doing surveys for birds, herptiles, mammals, odonates, butterflies, bats, and mussels in central Iowa.  I then served as an Iowa DNR AmeriCorps member assisting with the Iowa Wildlife Action Plan as well as many other projects, before beginning my Master’s program at Iowa State in the spring of 2015.

Research Interests: My background with the MSIM program has led to an interest in a wide variety of taxa, but my research is currently focused on avian nesting density and nest success as well as herptile occupancy and reptile population dynamics.

Current Project: I am studying the impact prairie STRIPS have on wildlife, specifically comparing measures of avian nest success and herp occupancy in agricultural settings with prairie STRIPS to those without.  I am also validating some newer survey techniques including the use of a thermal imager to find early nesters in sparsely vegetated landscapes and the use of thermal data loggers to record nest temperatures to allow a reduced frequency of nest monitoring.

Personal Interests: I enjoy bird watching, nature photography, travel, camping, hiking, canoeing, and collecting butterflies, moths, and dragonflies.  I also advise a medieval sword fighting club on campus and travel around the Midwest to fighting events several times a year.