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Laura Cisneros
Assistant Extension Professor
Department of Natural Resources & the Environment
Institute of the Environment

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

Office: Young 230
Phone: (860) 486-4917

Extension & Research Interests

My extension efforts focus on promoting environmental action and civic participation in addressing local conservation issues by diverse participants (e.g. teens, adult community volunteers, and teachers). Through UConn’s Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA;, I develop and implement experiential, place-based environmental learning opportunities that integrate tools and technology used by professionals and support intergenerational (e.g., teen & adult teams) community conservation projects. My integrated research efforts center on understanding how environmental action programs and citizen science impact student achievement, develop informed & engaged citizens, and expand capacity to address environmental issues.


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


2019 - Present  Assistant Extension Professor, Department of Natural Resources & the Environment and Institute of the Environment, University of Connecticut
2014 - 2019 Visiting Assistant Extension Educator & 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