Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources


Tom Prebyl

Education Background


B.S. Biology, Kansas State University
M.S. Student, University of Georgia


Curriculum vitae


Research Interests


I am interested in the fields of conservation biology, landscape ecology, and global change biology.  I am primarily focused on investigating how spatial analyses can be used to inform conservation planning and to answer basic ecological questions.





Graduate Research Focus


Monitoring the Effects of Climate on Southern Appalachian Forest Phenology


Current research indicates that warming global temperatures are capable of altering phenological cycles in deciduous forests.  Potential climate induced changes to deciduous forest phenology are particularly important as they form the base for higher level trophic interactions and affect carbon and water cycles.  The objective of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of remotely-sensed MODIS imagery to monitor deciduous forest phenology and predict effects of temperature variability in the Southern Appalachians.  We test the ability of satellite data to predict phenological events by comparing to intensive field observations of canopy and understory spring greenup.  Additionally, we utilize local temperature models and landscape level forest phenology data to test hypotheses regarding the relative influence of winter chilling, spring warming, and topographic variables on the timing spring leaf emergence.  This study furthers knowledge on the interpretation of satellite-based phenology in mountainous regions where such studies have been lacking.  Results from this study will inform companion studies on Black-throated Blue Warbler demography in the Southern Appalachians and will improve understanding of how climate change may impact this ecosystem.



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Additional Information

Funding for this research is provided by NASA.




Gregory, A. J., L. B. McNew, T. J. Prebyl, B. K. Sandercock, and S. M. Wisely. 2011. Hierarchical modeling of lek habitats of greater prairie-chickens. Pages 21-32 in B. K. Sandercock, K. Martin, and G. Segelcacher, editors. Ecology, Conservation, and Management of Grouse. Studies in Avian Biology. University of California Press, Berkely, CA.


York, A. M., M. Shrestha, C. G. Boone, S. A. Zhang, J. A. Harrington, T. J. Prebyl, A. Swann, M. Agar, M. F. Antolin, B. Nolen, J. B. Wright, and R. Skaggs. 2011. Land fragmentation under rapid urbanization: A cross-site analysis of Southwestern cities. Urban Ecosystems 14:429-455.


McNew, L. B., T. J. Prebyl, and B. K. Sandercock. 2012. Effects of rangeland management on the site occupancy dynamics of prairie-chickens in a protected prairie preserve. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:38-47.


Gregory, A. J., R. S. A. Kaler, T. J. Prebyl, B. K. Sandercock, and S. M. Wisely. 2012. Influence of translocation strategy and mating system on the genetic structure of a newly established population of island ptarmigan. Conservation Genetics 13:465-474.