image for Benson, Thomas J

Benson, Thomas J

Senior Wildlife Ecologist
Critical Trends Assessment Program Coordinator
Research Associate Professor, Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences

Address and Contact Information

2080 Forbes Natural History Building
1816 S. Oak Street, M/C 652
Champaign, IL  61820

Current Projects

Critical Trends Assessment Program

Ecology and conservation of grassland, shrubland, wetland, and woodland birds

Quantitative approaches in ecology and conservation

Demography of tropical birds

Avian incubation

Arthropod population dynamics

Selected Publications

Merrill, L., S. J. Chiavacci, R. T. Paitz, and T. J. Benson. 2019.  Quantification of 27 yolk steroid hormones in seven shrubland bird species: interspecific patterns of hormone deposition, and links to life history, development, and predation risk.  Canadian Journal of Zoology 97:1–12.

Reiley, B. M., K. W. Stodola, and T. J. Benson. 2019. Are avian population targets achievable through programs that restore habitat on private land? Ecosphere 10:e02574.

Ospina, E. A., L. Merrill, and T. J. Benson. 2018. Incubation temperature impacts nestling growth and survival in an open-cup nesting passerine.  Ecology and Evolution 8:3270–3279.

Chiavacci, S. J., T. J. Benson, and M. P. Ward. 2018. Linking landscape composition to predator-specific nest predation requires examining multiple landscape scales. Journal of Applied Ecology 55:2082–2092.

Ward, M. P., T. J. Benson, J. L. Deppe, R. H. Diehl, A. Celis-Murillo, R. T. Bolus, T. J. Zenzal, F. R. Moore. 2018. Estimating apparent survival of songbirds crossing the Gulf of Mexico during autumn migration. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 285:20181747.

Brawn, J. D., T. J. Benson, N. D. Sly, M. Stager, and C. E. Tarwater. 2017. Impacts of changing rainfall regime on the demography of tropical birds. Nature Climate Change 7:133–136.

DeGregorio, B. A., S. J. Chiavacci, T. J. Benson, J. H. Sperry, and P. J. Weatherhead. 2016. Nest predators of North American birds: continental patterns and implications. BioScience: 66:655–665.

Buxton, V. L., and T. J. Benson. 2016. Conservation-priority grassland bird response to urban landcover and habitat fragmentation.  Urban Ecosystems 19:599–613.

Deppe, J. L., M. P. Ward, R. T. Bolus, R. H. Diehl, A. Celis-Murillo, T. J. Zenzal, F. R. Moore, T. J. Benson, J. A. Smolinsky, L. N. Schofield, D. A. Enstrom, E. H. Paxton, G. Bohrer, T. A. Beveroth, A. Raim, R. L. Obringer, D. Delaney, and W. W. Cochran. 2015. Fat, weather, and date affect migratory songbirds’ departure decisions, routes, and the time it takes to cross the Gulf of Mexico. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112:E6331–E6338.

Benson, T.J., S.J. Chiavacci, and M.P. Ward. 2013. Patch size and edge proximity are useful predictors of brood parasitism but not nest survival of grassland birds. Ecological Applications 23:879–887.
Benson, T.J., J.D. Brown, and J.C. Bednarz. 2010. Identifying predators clarifies predictors of nest success in a temperate passerine. Journal of Animal Ecology 79:225–234.
Benson, T.J., N.M. Anich, J.D. Brown, and J.C. Bednarz. 2010. Habitat and landscape effects on brood parasitism, nest survival, and fledgling production in Swainson's Warblers. Journal of Wildlife Management 74:81–93.
Walk, J.W., M.P. Ward, T.J. Benson, J.L. Deppe, S. Lischka, S.D. Bailey, and J.D. Brawn. 2010. Illinois Birds: A Century of Change. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Publication 31.  
Anich, N.M., T.J. Benson, and J.C. Bednarz. 2009. Estimating territory and home-range sizes: do singing locations alone provide an accurate estimate of space use? Auk 126:626–634.
For a more complete list, see my Research Page or Google Scholar Page

Professional Affiliations

American Ornithological Society
Association of Field Ornithologists
The Wildlife Society
Wilson Ornithological Society


Ph.D., Arkansas State University, 2008
M.S., Iowa State University, 2003
B.S., University of Iowa, 2000

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