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Dr. Duane Diefenbach

Duane R. Diefenbach


  • Ph D University of Georgia 1992
  • MS University of Maine 1988
  • BS Washington State University 1985


Upon completion of my Ph.D. I worked for the Pennsylvania Game Commission as their biometrician for 7 years. There I began my current research involving grassland sparrows and black bears. Since 1999 I have been a research scientist with the Pennsylvania Unit and enjoy the challenges in integrating research to improve management decisions.

Research Interests

My primary research interests focus on empirically evaluating models used to estimate population parameters and how those models are incorporated in management decisions. Consequently, many of my research projects involve game species (white-tailed deer, black bear, and wild turkey). My research has focused on methods of estimating abundance as well as hunter attitudes and behavior and how that influences harvest rates and the spatial distribution of hunter harvest. Recent collaboration with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and DCNR Bureau of Forestry has involved the use of Structured Decision Making in developing management decision tools. Future research will likely work on integrating these tools in a quantitative manner into decision making processes.

However, not all my research involves game species. For over 10 years I have been studying grassland sparrows on reclaimed surface mines in Pennsylvania. There are several endangered and special concerns species that use reclaimed surface mines and I have focused on grasshopper, Savannah, and Henslow's sparrows because they are relatively abundant and are obligate grassland species. My research has focused on methods of estimating abundance and my students have addressed ecological issues related to their use of these habitats.

Teaching Interests

I teach graduate courses in methods of estimating population parameters (WFS 560) and analyzing animal location data.

Professional Society Service

  • The Wildlife Society - Vice President, Northeast Section (April 2006 - April 2008)
  • The Wildlife Society - Member, Publications Committee (November 2005 - September 2006)
  • The Wildlife Society - Past Chair, Biometrics Working Group (September 2003 - September 2004)
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Research Publications

  • Walter, W.D., T.S. Evans, D. Stainbrook, B.D. Wallingford, C.S. Rosenberry, and D.R. Diefenbach. 2018. Heterogeneity of a landscape influences size of home range in a North American cervid. Scientific Reports 8:14667. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-32937-7. Abstract |  Download  |  Publisher Website | 
  • Williamson, L. T., W. David Walter, S. R. Klinger, and D. R. Diefenbach. 2018. Incorporating detection probability to estimate pheasant density. Journal of Wildlife Management. 82(8):1680–1688; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21545
  • Begley-Miller, D. R., D. R. Diefenbach, M. E. McDill, C. S. Rosenberry, and E. H. Just. 2018. Evaluating inter-rater reliability and statistical power of vegetation measures assessing deer impact. Forests 9:669. Download  | 
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Current Projects

Completed Projects


  • Population Estimation and Modeling (2018)
  • Advances in Ecology (2016)
  • Population estimation and modeling (2016)
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Pennsylvania Other Professional Positions and Memberships

  • Duane DiefenbachWildlife Action Plan Advisory Committee (December 2012 - October 2015)
  • Duane DiefenbachAt-large Member, Pennsylvania Biological Survey (August 2002 - August 2010)
  • Duane DiefenbachMember, Steering Committee, Rethinking Deer Management from an Ecological Perspective (October 2001 - November 2003)

Pennsylvania University Committees and Workgroups

  • Duane DiefenbachGraduate Program Committee (January 2014 - August 2016)
  • Duane DiefenbachChair, Curriculum Committee for IGDP in Ecology (August 2007 - August 2010)
  • Duane DiefenbachMember, ad hoc Computer Technology Committee (July 2006 - August 2010)
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Technical Publications

  • Stainbrook, D. P., and D. R. Diefenbach. 2012. Estimating white-tailed deer abundance at Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR—2012/626. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.Abstract |
  • Diefenbach, D. R., B. J. Irwin, and T. Wagner. 2011. Summary of outcomes for the structured decision making workshop for catch and release trout regulations. State College, PA.
  • Diefenbach, D. R., and S. A. Christensen. 2009. Movement and habitat use of sika and white-tailed deer on Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland. Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR—2009/140. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA.Abstract |
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 4

Phd Students: 3

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 3

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 21

Scientific Publications: 92

Presentations: 121


Contact Information

Tel: (814) 865 - 3992

Current Students

Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  2. Pennsylvania Game Commission
  3. Pennsylvania State University
  4. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  5. U.S. Geological Survey
  6. Wildlife Management Institute