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Laura Cisneros
Visiting Assistant Professor
Program Coordinator for Natural Resources Conservation Academy

University of Connecticut
U-4087, 1376 Storrs Road
Storrs, CT 06269-4087

Phone: (860) 486-4917
Fax: (860) 486-5408

Research and Teaching Interests

My research and teaching interests focus on understanding how human activities affect ecological communities and using this understanding to inform students and citizens about the intimate role that humans play in global sustainability. My Ph.D. research explored the effects of human-modified landscapes on bat communities, and identified landscape characteristics that promote biodiversity and vital services provided by bats (e.g. pollination, seed dispersal). Currently, my efforts are focused on integrating research with community outreach as the coordinator of the Natural Resources Conservation Academy ( and through citizen science projects. Visit my website to learn more about my current research and teaching activities.


Ph.D. 2014 University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
B.S. 2006   Michigan State University, Zoology


2016 - Present  Visiting Assistant Professor,
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut
2014 - 2016 Assistant Extension Educator and Coordinator of Natural Resources Conservation Academy, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Connecticut
2014 Adjunct Professor,
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut

Selected Publications

  • Burgio, K.R., Davis, K.E., Dreiss, L.M., Cisneros, L.M., Klingbeil, B.T., Presley, S.J. & Willig, M.R. (2019) Phylogenetic supertree and functional trait database for all extant parrots. Data in Brief, DIB103882.
  • Chadwick, C., Dickson, D., Arnold, A., Cisneros, L., Volin, J. Campbell, T., Moss, D. & Rodriguez, L. (2018) Connecting generations through informal geospatial and conservation education.Journal of Extension, 56, 5IAW2.
  • Presley, S.J., Cisneros, L.M., Klingbeil, B.T. & Willig, M.R. (2018) Landscape ecology of mammals. Journal of Mammalogy, DOI:10.1093/jmammal/gyy169.
  • Presley, S.J., Cisneros, L.M., Higgins, C.M., Klingbeil, B.T., Scheiner, S.M. & Willig, M.R. (2018) Phylogenetic and functional underdispersion in Neotropical phyllostomid bat communities.Biotropica, 50, 135–145.
  • Pfeifer, M., Lefebvre, V., Peres, C., Wearn, O.R., Marsh, C., Banks-Leite, C., Butchart, S.H.M., Arroyo-Rodríguez, V., Barlow, J., Cerezo, A., Cisneros, L.M., D’Cruze, N., Fariah, D., Hadley, A., Klingbeil, B.T., Kormann, U., Lens, L., Medina-Rangel, G.F., Morante-Filho, J.C., Olivier, P., Peters, S., Pidgeon, A., Ribeiro, D.B., Scherber, C., Schneider-Maunory, L., Struebig, M., Urbina-Cardona, N., Watling, J.I., Willig, M.R., Wood, E.M. & Ewers, R.M. (2017) Creation of forest edges has a global impact on forest vertebrates. Nature, 551, 187–191.
  • Cisneros, L.M., Fagan, M.E. & Willig, M.R. (2016) Environmental and spatial drivers of taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic characteristics of bat communities in a human-modified landscape. PeerJ, 4, e2551.
  • Cisneros, L.M., Fagan, M.E. & Willig, M.R. (2015) Effects of human-modified landscapes on taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic dimensions of bat biodiversity. Diversity and Distributions, 21, 523–533.
  • Cisneros, L.M., Fagan, M.E. & Willig, M.R. (2015) Season-specific and guild-specific effects of anthropogenic landscape modification on metacommunity structure of tropical bats. Journal of Animal Ecology, 84, 373–385.
  • Dreiss, L.M., Burgio, K.R., Cisneros, L.M., Klingbeil, B.T., Patterson, B.D., Presley, S.J. & Willig, M.R. (2015) Taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic dimensions of rodent biodiversity along an extensive tropical elevational gradient. Ecography, 38, 001–013.
  • Cisneros, L.M., Burgio, K.R., Dreiss, L.M., Klingbeil, B.T., Patterson, B.D., Presley, S.J. & Willig, M.R. (2014) Multiple dimensions of bat biodiversity along an extensive tropical elevational gradient. Journal of Animal Ecology, 83, 1124–1136.
  • Pfeifer, M., Lefebvre, V., Gardner, T.A., Arroyo-Rodriguez, V., Baeten, L., Banks-Leite, C., Barlow, J., Betts, M.G., Brunet, J., Cerezo, A., Cisneros, L.M., Collard, S., D’Cruze, N., da Silva Motta, C., Duguay, S., Eggermont, H., Eigenbrod, F., Hadley, A.S., Hanson, T.R., Hawes, J.E., Heartsill Scalley, T., Klingbeil, B.T., Kolb, A., Kormann, U., Kumar, S., Lachat, T., Lakeman Fraser, P., Lantschner, V., Laurance, W.F., Leal, I.R., Lens, L., Marsh, C.J., Medina-Rangel, G.F., Melles, S., Mezger, D., Oldekop, J.A., Overal, W.L., Owen, C., Peres, C.A., Phalan, B., Pidgeon, A.M., Pilia, O., Possingham, H.P., Possingham, M.L., Raheem, D.C., Ribeiro, D.B., Ribeiro Neto, J.D., Robinson, W.D., Robinson, R., Rytwinski, T., Scherber, C., Slade, E.M., Somarriba, E., Stouffer, P.C., Struebig, M.J., Tylianakis, J.M., Tscharntke, T., Tyre, A.J., Urbina Cardona, J.N., Vasconcelos, H.L., Wearn, O., Wells, K., Willig, M.R., Wood, E., Young, R.P., Bradley, A.V. & Ewers, R.M. (2014) BIOFRAG – a new database for analyzing BIOdiversity responses to forest FRAGmentation. Ecology and Evolution, 4, 1524–1537.
  • Durant, K.A., Hall, R.W., Cisneros, L.M., Hyland, R.M. & Willig, M.R. (2013) Reproductive phenologies of phyllostomid bats in Costa Rica. Journal of Mammalogy, 94, 1438–1448.
  • Presley, S.J., Cisneros, L.M., Patterson, B.D. & Willig, M.R. (2012) Vertebrate metacommunity structure along an extensive elevational gradient in the tropics: a comparison of bats, rodents, and birds. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 21, 968–976.
  • Willig, M.R., Presley, S.J., Bloch, C.P., Castro-Arellano, I., Cisneros, L.M., Higgins, C.L. & Klingbeil, B.T. (2011) Tropical metacommunities along elevational gradients: effects of forest type and other environmental factors. Oikos, 120, 1497–1508.


Department of Natural Resources and the Environment
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Connecticut
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4087
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-4087
Phone: 860-486-2840