Dr. Daniel Shustack

Professor, Environmental Studies

Daniel Shustack
(413) 662-5301
Center for Science & Innovation 225D


Ph.D. in Natural Resources

M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

B.S. in Biology

View my CV

Courses Taught

ENVI 100: Entering Student Seminar

ENVI 150: Introduction to Environmental Systems

ENVI 225: Nature of New England

ENVI 260: Green Living Seminar: Issues and Approaches to Avian Conservation

ENVI 400: Senior Seminar

The Environment of South Florida

Ornithology, Environmental Resources: Science and Management



My courses revolve around the themes of wildlife biology, natural history, and environmental history. Some of my course, such as Ornithology and Nature of New England, are focused on wildlife biology. Other courses are strongly interdisciplinary and these include Landscape History, Everglades and South Florida and Representations of Nature. In all my courses, I hope students will develop in their knowledge and appreciation of the natural world as they pursue their professional and personal ambitions related to the environment. Students who take my courses should be ready to spend our lab periods in the field, no matter the season! MCLA is located in the heart of the Berkshires, an ideal place to pursue Environmental Studies. Our campus is surrounded by endless deciduous and coniferous forests, streams, rivers, fields, wetlands, lakes, all of which we visit, study and use during my courses. All of my courses in the Environmental Studies department and the Core Curriculum are open to any students who have satisfied the prerequisites.


My research focusses on wildlife, especially songbirds in the forests of western Massachusetts. Since 2009, I have studied a breeding population of Veeries (a mid-sized songbird) in the MCLA forest, ~1/2 mile from campus in North Adams, MA. As part of this project, students and I capture and band the breeding Veeries, and then monitor their reproduction and survival. Starting in 2017, we have collected data on migratory movements by using geolocators. Students can get involved in the Veery project through summer field work or developing one’s own research projects to investigate Veery natural history.

I am also researching the overwinting and movement ecology of slate-colored juncos in the Berkshires. In particular, we are trying to unravel the seasonal movements and breeding locations of juncos that overwinter in the Berkshires. During each season, we mist net or trap the juncos, band them, and monitor their movements and returns. As part of the junco project, we are also collaborating with one of MCLA’s microbiogists, Dr. George Hamaoui, to examine the plumage microbiota of migratory and overwintering juncos.

I welcome motivated students to participate in these, or other ongoing research projects. Stop, by and we can chat about the options for working on these research project or potentially developing your own projects.


Selected Research Publications

Rodewald, A. D., L.J.Kearns, and Shustack, D. P. 2013. Consequences of urbanizing landscapes to reproductive performance of birds in remnant forests. Biological Conservation 160:32-39.

Shustack, D. P., A. D. Rodewald, and T. A. Waite. 2009. Springtime in the city: exotic shrubs promote earlier green-up in urban forests. Biological Invasions 11:1357-1371. 

Shustack, D. P., and A. D. Rodewald. 2008. Nearctic-Neotropical migrant bird distributions across an urban to rural gradient: simulating the mechanisms. Avian Conservation and Ecology. 3(2)

Hudon, J., R. J. Driver, N.H. Rice, T.L. Lloyd-Evans, J.A. Craves and D.P. Shustack. 2016. Diet explains red flight feathers in Yellow-shafted Flickers in eastern North America. Auk: Ecological Advances 134:22-33.

Rodewald, A. D., L.J.Kearns, and D. P. Shustack. 2013. Consequences of urbanizing landscapes to reproductive performance of birds in remnant forests. Biological Conservation 160:32-39.

Rodewald, A.D., D.P. Shustack, and T.M. Jones. 2011. Dynamic selective environments and evolutionary traps in human-dominated landscapes. Ecology 92:1781-1788.

Shustack, D.P. and A.D. Rodewald. 2011. Nest predation reduces benefits to early clutch initiation in northern cardinals Cardinalis cardinalis. Journal of Avian Biology 42:204-209.

Shustack, D.P., A.M. Strong and T.M. Donovan. 2010. Habitat Use Patterns of Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows in the Northeastern United States. Avian Conservation and Ecology 5:11; www.ace-eco.org/vol5/iss2/art11/

Selected Presentations

127th Meeting of the American Ornithologists (2009). D. P. Shustack. How many nests are in the population? A systematic evaluation of the Horvitz-Thompson estimator for nests present but undetected.

127th Meeting of the American Ornithologists (2009). A. D. Rodewald, L.J. Kearns, and D. P. Shustack. Urbanization does not reduce avian nest survival in forest parks.

Urban Wildlife Ecology & Management Conference (2009). D.P. Shustack and A.D. Rodewald. No apparent benefit to early breeding by Northern Cardinals in urban and rural forests.  

Invited And Outreach Presentations

Avian Reproductive Phenology: Examples from an Urbanizing Landscape, Ohio Phenology Network Annual Workshop, March 2008

Cool Birds in the Hot City: Patterns of Avian Reproductive Phenology in Urban and Rural Forests, School of Environment and Natural Resource Seminar Series, February 2008

City Birds and Country Chippers, Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society at Ohio State, February 2005