Sarah J. Converse

  • Associate Professor

Research areas

My research group is focused on the development of methods for conserving populations. This generally involves two distinct but interrelated focal areas: quantitative population ecology and decision science. We’ve worked on a variety of taxa, including marine and terrestrial birds, marine and terrestrial mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Our focus is on applied science, with an emphasis on assisting managers of populations with decision making in the face of uncertainty, and complex and conflicting societal values. We work closely with managers in developing and executing research projects.

We use a variety of quantitative methods for building models of populations, and often integrate statistical estimation with expert judgment for parameterizing models. Hierarchical Bayesian methods and integrated modeling are frequently aspects of research projects. Currently, we’re involved in projects with collaborators in North America, Europe, New Zealand, and the Arctic.

Other appointments

Unit Leader, Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Associate Professor, UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Member, Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management Faculty



  • Conservation Biology
  • Decision Science
  • Demographic Estimation
  • Hierarchical Modeling
  • Integrated Population Modeling
  • Reintroduction Biology

Selected publications

  • Gerber BD, SJ Converse, E Muths, HJ Crockett, BA Mosher, and LL Bailey. 2017. Identifying species conservation strategies to reduce disease-associated declines. Conservation Letters DOI:10.1111/conl.12393.

  • Canessa S, SJ Converse, M West, N Clemman, G Gillespie, M McFadden, AJ Silla, KM Parris, and MA McCarthy. 2016. Planning for ex-situ conservation in the face of uncertainty. Conservation Biology 30:599-609.

  • Lunn NJ, S Servanty, EV Regehr, SJ Converse, E Richardson, and I Stirling. 2016. Demography of an apex predator at the edge of its range – impacts of changing sea ice on polar bears in Hudson Bay. Ecological Applications 26:1302-1320

  • Royle JA and SJ Converse. 2014. Hierarchical spatial capture-recapture models: modeling population density from replicated capture-recapture experiments. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5:37-43.

  • Converse SJ, CT Moore, MJ Folk, and MC Runge. 2013. A matter of tradeoffs: reintroduction as a multiple objective decision. Journal of Wildlife Management 77:1145-1156

  • Mueller T, RB O’Hara, SJ Converse, RP Urbanek, and WF Fagan. 2013. Leadership and spatial learning of migratory performance. Science 341:999-1002.

  • Runge MC, SJ Converse, and JE Lyons. 2011. Which uncertainty? Using expert elicitation and expected value of information to design an adaptive program. Biological Conservation 144:1214-1223.

  • Converse SJ, WL Kendall, PF Doherty Jr, and PG Ryan. 2009. Multistate models for estimation of survival and reproduction in grey-headed albatross. The Auk 126:77-88.