Research in the Luther lab at George Mason University focuses on behavioral ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. We investigate how species respond to their surrounding environment and alterations to those environments. We use a combination of field and laboratory techniques to address our research topics and work in a wide range of ecosystems.

Tropical Forest Ecosystems

                                                              LAB NEWS


Sarah Farinelli, Jessica Roberts, and Tovah Seigel all complete their qualifying exams and are now PhD Candidates!


Jon Clark successfully defends his Masters thesis!!

David Luther is awarded the 4-VA Mason Collaborative Research Grants award for his project entitled,  "Species richness resilience to habitat fragmentation and restoration in tropical rainforests."

Sarah Farinelli and Jessica Roberts are awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Nigeria and Brazil, respectively. 



  Justin Cooper successfully defends his Masters thesis!!


  Shawn Smith and Lara Kazo join the lab as graduate students.

  Charlie Coddington successfully defends his Masters thesis!!


  NSF awards grant to David Luther (Mason), Bill McShea (SCBI), and Gil Bohrer (OSU) for              

  workshop entitled, "Linking remote animal detection and movement data with macrosystem

  environmental datasets and networks." held at the Smithsonian Mason School of 

  Conservation on October 22 and 23, 2018. See the workshop website for more information.


  Charlie Coddington is awarded the SMSC ConocoPhillips Conservation Research Fellowship for   

  his upcoming PhD research on the effects of forest fragmentation on mixed species flocks of birds

  in the Amazon.



  Jon Clark joins the lab as a graduate student.


  Amy Johnson successfully defends her PhD!! Amy Johnson starts a new position as the director of 

  the Virginia Working Landscapes.


  Grassland avian research team, Jon Clark, Jess Roberts, and Charlie Coddington, conduct 

  research at Manassas National Battlefield and Sky Meadows State Park.


  Dana Mosely accepts tenure track assistant professor position at James Madison University!!


  Kate Gentry begins Postdoc in the Lucas Lab at Purdue!!


  Kate Gentry successfully defends her PhD!!


  Kate Gentry's manuscript from her masters thesis is published in the journal Bioacoustics and 

  receives international press




  Dana Mosely joins the lab as Postdoctoral Associate!!


  Current graduate students Kate Gentry, Amy Johnson and Lisa Schreffler pass qualifying exams


  and become PhD candidates. Congratulations!!!


  David is promoted to Term Associate Professor!!


  Mason undergraduate Jesse Wong begins investigation of climate on bill morphology of

  Puerto Rican birds.


  New graduate students Jessica Roberts and Charlie Coddington join the lab.


  GMU undergraduate Jonathon Clark and incoming graduate student Charlie Coddington

  begin summer fieldwork at Manassas National Battlefield on the effects of anthropogenic noise on

  grassland bird community structure and grasshopper sparrow population density.




  David was awarded a Mentoring Excellence Award for his support of undergraduate research from

  the OSCAR program at GMU.


  Laura McDonald won the BIS capstone student project award for her project on citizen science and

  butterflies in northern Virginia!!


  Jesi Hessong won third place for best poster at the GMU College of Science Undergraduate 

  Research Symposium!!


  Ray Danner accepted a faculty position at the University of North Carolina Wilmington!!


  Jesi Hessong presented her research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. 


  Emma Boyer started her new job as the Waccamaw Riverkeeper with the Winyah Rivers

  Foundation in South Carolina.


  David and Kate Gentry were awarded a Scholarship Development Grant to transform the Animal

  Behavior laboratory, BIO 472, into a research intensive course.




  Emma Boyer successfully defended her Masters thesis entitled, “A behavioral investigation of the

  thermal solar niche."


  Kate Gentry successfully defended her Masters thesis entitled, “An investigation of how vehicular

  noise mitigation impacts acoustic communication in avian fauna."


  A 2-year NSF EAGER grant entitled, “Coupling remote acoustic recorders and camera traps with

  crowd sourcing for monitoring vertebrate biodiversity” was funded. This is a collaborative project 

  between GMU and Smithsonian researchers David Luther, Bill McShea, and Tavis Forrester.


  Jesi Hessong presented her research on plumage differences between urban and rural white-

  crowned sparrows at the Ecological Society of America conference in Sacramento, CA.


  Amy Johnson presented on grassland bird conservation at the North America Society for

  Conservation Biology meeting in Montana.


  Lisa Schreffler passed her written qualifying exam!


  Jessica Magnotti abstract, "Can You Hear Me Now? The Impact of Our Sound Environment on

  Avian Communication” accepted at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. 


  Urban-dependent selection on bird song grant funded by NSF!! A collaborative project between

  GMU and Tulane researchers David Luther and Elizabeth Derryberry.




  "Assessing the impact of conservation actions on population trends of endangered species," a

Tech and David Luther, funded by 4VA!   collaboration between Jeff Walters at Virginia


David Luther, PhD


Associate Professor (Term)

Deputy Director for the Mason Center for Conservation Studies

Phone: 703-993-5267

Fax: 703-993-1046

Biology Department

George Mason University

4400 University Drive, MS 3E1

Fairfax, VA

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