Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Cordie Diggins

Checking Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel nest boxes on a balmy winter day at Mt. Mitchell, NC.


B.S. Wildlife Conservation (University of Delaware, 2006)
M.S. Forestry (Northern Arizona University, 2010)

My wildlife field experience includes work with bats, bog turtles, passerine birds, Carolina Northern Flying Squirrels, American Woodcocks, Green Salamanders, riverine turtles, and white-tailed deer. My forestry field experience includes work in spruce-fir forests in Maine, ecologically restored ponderosa pine forests in Arizona, oak forests in Kentucky, and upland hardwood forests in North Carolina.

From 2010-2012, I developed and ran the NC Bat Acoustic Monitoring Program (a citizen science program to monitor bat populations using acoustic driving transects) for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Research Interests

I am interested in habitat ecology and management of non-game species (especially small mammals), restoration of forested ecosystems, bioacoustics, and high-elevation ecosystems of the Central and Southern Appalachian Mountains.

My PhD research will focus on linking foraging microhabitats of the Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) and the Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus) to hypogeous fungi and folistic epipedons with potential implications for high-elevation spruce restoration. I will also be conducting ultrasonic acoustic surveys of Appalachian Northern Flying Squirrels (NFS) and Southern Flying Squirrels (SFS) in the field: 1) developing survey techniques and protocol, 2) looking at detection probability using acoustics in areas with high to low probability of NFS occupancy, and 3) determining differences in diel and seasonal call patterns of NFS and SFS in a variety of habitats in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee.

Research Publications

  • Diggins, C.A. and W.M. Ford. 2016. Microhabitat selection of the Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus Miller) Northeastern Naturalist 24(2):173-190
  • Diggins, C.A., L.M. Gilley, C. Kelly and W.M. Ford. 2016. Comparison of survey techniques on detection of northern flying squirrels. Wildlife Society Bulletin 40:654-662
  • Rentch, J.A., W.M. Ford, T.S. Schuler, J. Palmer and C.A. Diggins. 2014. Release of suppressed red spruce using canopy gap creation – testing applicability for ecological restoration in the Central Appalachians. Natural Areas Journal 36:29-37.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 11

Phd Students: 5

Post Docs: 3

University Staff: 1

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 12

Scientific Publications: 66

Presentations: 117


Contact Information


Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  2. U.S. Geological Survey
  3. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  4. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  5. Wildlife Management Institute