Welcome to the Kitzes Lab

University of Pittsburgh

Research in the Kitzes Lab focuses on measuring, understanding, and predicting biodiversity loss on a planet increasingly dominated by human activities. The central question that guides our research is

How does human alteration of natural habitat impact species abundance and diversity at large spatial scales?

In order to answer this question, we pursue three complementary research themes.

  • Bioacoustics: To improve our ability to measure biodiversity change in the field, we develop new methods and tools for surveying biodiversity using automated acoustic recorders and machine learning models.
  • Conservation: To better understand and prevent impacts on individual species, we conduct field surveys and data analysis focused on understanding the relationships between specific species populations, habitat changes, and human activities.
  • Spatial ecology: To better explain and predict large scale biodiversity patterns, we use our large data sets and newly developed theory and models to uncover the general patterns and processes underlying species distributions and community organization.

Our research involves a wide variety of taxa, although our main groups of interest at the moment are temperate breeding birds and anurans. All of our work is heavily quantitative, drawing on both mathematical and computational methods. Our work has been financially supported by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, Microsoft, the Moore Foundation, and the Academic Data Science Alliance.

Our lab is part of the Ecology and Evolution group in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. We frequently have openings for postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students to join our lab.