Faculty and Staff

David Stokes

Associate Professor

B.A. Geology, Williams College
Ph.D. Zoology, University of Washington

Office: UW1-144
Phone: 425-352-3665
Email: dstokes@uw.edu
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


I teach courses in the biological realm of environmental science, in subjects such as conservation biology, conservation planning, and ecology, as well as more general courses in environmental studies.  In all of my classes, my teaching is motivated by the critical need to improve our understanding of our environment.  We are facing conservation and sustainability dilemmas of unprecedented complexity.  To resolve these issues will require a thorough and rigorous understanding of our earth and its biological components.  I try to develop in students not only a depth of knowledge in a particular subject, but also the critical thinking skills, broad interdisciplinary understanding, and effective communication skills they will need to intelligently address future challenges.


BES 312  Ecology
BES 485  Conservation Biology
BIS 243  Introduction to Environmental Issues
BIS 390 Ecology and the Environment
BIS 391  Environmental History of the Pacific Northwest Bioregion
BPOLST 593  Land Use Policy and Conservation
BBIO 495/BIS 490  Investigative Biology/Senior Seminar


My research addresses topics in the fields of conservation biology, avian ecology, behavioral ecology, and landscape ecology. I am most interested in questions that have both theoretical and applied aspects. 

Currently I am investigating the ecology and conservation implications of migration and movement of diverse organisms: penguins, salamanders, and invasive plants. My colleagues and I have found that penguins in the South Atlantic travel great distances—hundreds of kilometers—to forage during the breeding season, and even greater distances during migration.  This finding raises questions relating to the ecology of these marine birds (Why do they travel so far? What determines where they go?), as well as conservation issues (How to conserve a species that is so wide ranging?). Similarly, I am researching the shifting spatial patterns of breeding activity of the California tiger salamander, a federally listed endangered species, to learn more about the species' ecology and how to better conserve it in its diminishing habitat.  In a different way, invasive plants also "move," and I am investigating the patterns of spread of non-native invasive trees. Ultimately, this work may have applications in the control of environmentally destructive invasive species.

Other areas in which I have research interest are various topics in behavioral ecology such as habitat selection and mate choice in penguins, land-use planning and biodiversity conservation, GIS-based conservation planning, and human biodiversity preferences.  Most of my research is field-oriented, and makes use of both high- and low-tech techniques. I welcome participation in my research by graduate students and undergraduates.

Selected Publications

Stokes, D.L., Church, E.D., Cronkright, D.M., and S. Lopez. 2014. Pictures of an invasion: English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) invasion of a Pacific Northwest forest. Northwest Science 88:75-93.

Stokes, D.L., Boersma, P. D., Lopez de Casenave, J., and P. GarcĂ­a-Borboroglu. 2014. Long-distance migration of Magellanic penguins requires marine zoning for conservation. Biological Conservation 170:161-171.

Stokes, D.L., Hansen, M.F., Oaks, D.D., Straub, J.E., and A.V. Ponio. 2010. Biodiversity conservation in local land-use planning: what planners can tell us about what works. Conservation Biology 24:450-560.

Miller, J.R., Groom, M., Hess, G.R, Steelman, T.A., Stokes, D.L., Thompson, J.R., Bowman, T.A., Fricke, L., King, B., and R. Marquardt. 2009. Where is biodiversity conservation in local planning? Conservation Biology  23:53-63.

Stokes, D.L.  2007.  Things we like: Human preferences among similar organisms and implications for conservation. Human Ecology 35: 361-369.

Boersma, P.D., Rebstock, G.A., Stokes, D/L/ and Majluf, P. 2007. Oceans apart: conservation models for two temperate penguin species shaped by the marine environment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 335:217-225.

Stokes, D. L. 2006.  Conservators of experience.  BioScience 56: 6-7.

Stokes, D.L., and P.H. Morrison.  2003.  GIS-based conservation planning: a powerful tool... to be used with care.  Conservation in Practice 4: 38-41.

Stokes, D.L., and P.D. Boersma. 2000.  Nesting density and reproductive success of a colonial seabird. Ecology 81: 2878-2891.