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Dr. Travis L. DeVault



Dr. Travis L. DeVault
Research Wildlife Biologist


Dr. Travis L. DeVault is the Field Station and Project Leader for the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) Sandusky, OH, Field Station. He earned a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Purdue University where he studied foraging behaviors and movement patterns of vultures and other vertebrate scavengers at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. After a postdoctoral appointment at Purdue, Dr. DeVault worked as a research wildlife biologist for NWRC in central New York for two years. While there, he researched issues associated with predation on sportfish by double-crested cormorants in the Great Lakes states. He has been at the NWRC Ohio Field Station since 2008.

Dr. DeVault has led multiple studies in basic and applied wildlife ecology, including investigations of vertebrate food habits and foraging strategies, trophic interactions in terrestrial ecosystems, endangered species management in highly altered environments, and wildlife depredation in agricultural systems. In his current work at the NWRC Ohio Field Station, he leads a research program dedicated to the development of strategies to reduce wildlife strikes with aircraft. In addition to his appointment with NWRC, Dr. DeVault is an adjunct professor at Purdue University and Cornell University.

NWRC Research Project: New Technologies to Deter Wildlife from Airports and Aircraft

  Current Research   

  • Alternate land uses at airports
  • Bird responses to aircraft approach
  • Lethal enhancement of nonlethal hazing
  • Reproductive status of double-crested cormorants at colonies in the eastern United States
  • Evaluation of the response of fish populations in Oneida Lake, New York to cormorant management


  • Ph.D., Purdue University, Wildlife Ecology, Scavenging by vertebrates: patterns of resource acquisition and implications for multi-trophic dynamics
  • M.S., (thesis), Indiana State University, Ecology and Systematics, Avian communities of large reclaimed mine grasslands in southwestern Indiana
  • B.S., Indiana State University, Life Sciences

Contact Information

  • Address: Wildlife Services, NWRC Ohio Field Station, 6100 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky, Ohio 44870
  • Telephone: 419.625.0242
  • Fax: 419.625.8465
  • E-mail: travis.l.devault@aphis.usda.gov



DeVault, T.L., B.F. Blackwell, T.W. Seamans, S.L. Lima, and E. Fernandez-Juricic. 2015. Speed kills: ineffective avian escape responses to oncoming vehicles. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282:20142188.  doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2188.  http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1801/20142188

Lima, S.L., B.F. Bradwell, T.L. DeVault, and E. Fernandez-Juricic. 2015. Animal reactions to oncoming vehicles : a conceptual review. Biological Reviews 90:60-76.  doi: 10.1111/brv.12093.


Dorr, B.S., K.C. Hanson-Dorr, T.L. DeVault, A.Guillaumet, and S.C. Barras. 2014. Geographic segregation and evidence of density-dependent changes in sex ratios in an abundant colonial waterbird. Integrative Zoology 9:570-583.  doi: 10.1111/1749-4877.12091.

Washburn, B.E., P.J. Cisar, and T.L. DeVault. 2014. Wildlife strikes with U.S. military rotary-wing aircraft deployed in foreign countries. Human-Wildlife Interactions 8(2):251-260.

Blackwell, B.F., T.W. Seamans, T.L. DeVault. 2014. White-tailed deer response to vehicle approach: Evidence of unclear and present danger. PLoS ONE 9(10):e109988.  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109988.

Schwarz, K.B., J.L. Belant, J.A. Martin, T.L. DeVault, and G.Wang. 2014. Behavioral traits and airport type affect mammal incidents with U.S. civil aircraft. Environmental Management 54:908-918. doi: 10.1007/s00267-014-0345-4.

Biondi, K., J.L. Belant, J.A. Martin, T.L. DeVault, and G. Wang. 2014. Integrating mammalian hazards with management at U.S. civil airports: a case study. Human-Wildlife Interactions 8(1):31-38.

Washburn, B.E., P.J. Cisar, and T.L. DeVault. 2014. Wildlife strikes with military rotary-wing aircraft during flight operations within the United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin 38(2):311-320. doi: 10.1002/wsb.409.

DeVault, T.L., P.M. Schmidt, F.E. Pogmore, J. Gobeille, J.L. Belant, and T.W. Seamans. 2014.Influence of egg oiling on colony presence of ring-billed gulls. Human-Wildlife Interactions 8(1):22-30.

Drey, K.M., J.A. Martin, J.L. Belant, T.L. DeVault, B.F. Blackwell. 2014. Interactions between wildlife and civil aircraft in Mississippi. Southeastern Naturalist 13(1): 156-165.

DeVault, T.L., B.F. Blackwell, T.W. Seamans, S.L. Lima, E. Fernandez-Juricic. 2014. Effects of vehicle speed on flight initiation by turkey vultures: Implications for bird-vehicle collisions. PLoS ONE 9(2): e87944. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087944.

DeVault, T. L., T. W. Seamans, J. A. Schmidt, J. L. Belant, B. F. Blackwell, N. Mooers, L. A. Tyson, and L. Van Pelt. 2014. "Bird use of Solar Photovoltaic Installations at US Airports: Implications for Aviation Safety." Landscape and Urban Planning 122: 122-128. .


DeVault, T.L., and B.E. Washburn. Identification and management of wildlife food resources at airports. In: T.L. Devault, B.F. Blackwell, and J.L. Belant, editors. Wildlife in Airport Environments: Preventing Animal-Aircraft Collisions through Science-Based Management. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore Maryland, in association with The Wildlife Society. 79-90.

Seamans, T.W., B.F. Blackwell, and T.L. Devault. 2013. Brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) response to pyrotechnics and lethal removal in a controlled setting. Proceedings of the Wildlife Damage Management Conference 15: 56-62.

Biondi, K. M., J. L. Belant, T. L. Devault, J. A. Martin, and G. Wang. 2013. "Bat Incidents with U.S. Civil Aircraft." Acta Chiropterologica 15 (1): 185-192. .

Blackwell, B. F., T. W. Seamans, P. M. Schmidt, T. L. De Vault, J. L. Belant, M. J. Whittingham, J. A. Martin, and E. Fernández-Juricic. 2013. "A Framework for Managing Airport Grasslands and Birds Amidst Conflicting Priorities." Ibis 155 (1): 189-193. .

DeVault, T. L., M. J. Begier, J. L. Belant, B. F. Blackwell, R. A. Dolbeer, J. A. Martin, T. W. Seamans, and B. E. Washburn. 2013. "Rethinking Airport Land-Cover Paradigms: Agriculture, Grass, and Wildlife Hazards." Human-Wildlife Interactions 7 (1): 10-15. .

Schmidt, J. A., B. E. Washburn, T. L. Devault, T. W. Seamans, and P. M. Schmidt. 2013. "Do Native Warm-Season Grasslands Near Airports Increase Bird Strike Hazards?" American Midland Naturalist 170 (1): 144-157. .

Washburn, B. E., P. J. Cisar, and T. L. DeVault. 2013. "Wildlife Strikes to Civil Helicopters in the US, 1990-2011." Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 24: 83-88. .


Olson Z.H., Beasley J.C., Devault T.L., Rhodes O.E. (2012) Scavenger community response to the removal of a dominant scavenger. Oikos 121:77-84.

Moore B.A., Baumhardt P., Doppler M., Randolet J., Blackwell B.F., DeVault T.L., Loew E.R., Fernández-Juricic E. (2012) Oblique color vision in an open-habitat bird: spectral sensitivity, photoreceptor distribution and behavioral implications. The Journal of Experimental Biology 215:3442-3452. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.073957.

DeVault T.L., Belant J.L., Blackwell B.F., Martin J.A., Schmidt J.A., Wes Burger L., Jr., Patterson J.W., Jr. (2012) Airports offer unrealized potential for alternative energy production. Environ Manage 49:517-22. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-011-9803-4.

DeBruyne R.L., DeVault T.L., Duerr A.E., Capen D.E., Pogmore F.E., Jackson J.R., Rudstam L.G. (2012) Spatial and temporal comparisons of double-crested cormorant diets following the establishment of alewife in Lake Champlain, USA. Journal of Great Lakes Research 38:123-130.

Blackwell B.F., DeVault T.L., Seamans T.W., Lima S.L., Baumhardt P., Fernández-Juricic E. (2012) Exploiting avian vision with aircraft lighting to reduce bird strikes. Journal of Applied Ecology 49:758-766. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02165.x.

Beasley J.C., Olson Z.H., Devault T.L. (2012) Carrion cycling in food webs: Comparisons among terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Oikos 121:1021-1026.

Biondi K.M., Belant J.L., Martin J.A., Devault T.L., Wang G. (2011) White-tailed deer incidents with U.S. civil aircraft. Wildlife Society Bulletin 35:303-309.


DeVault T.L., Olson Z.H., Beasley J.C., Rhodes O.E. (2011) Mesopredators dominate competition for carrion in an agricultural landscape. Basic and Applied Ecology 12:268-274.

Fernández-Juricic E., Moore B.A., Doppler M., Freeman J., Blackwell B.F., Lima S.L., Devault T.L. (2011) Testing the terrain hypothesis: Canada geese see their world laterally and obliquely. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 77:147-158.

Greiner E.C., Fedynich A.M., Webb S.L., Devault T.L., Rhodes Jr O.E. (2011) Hematozoa and a new haemoproteid species from cathartidae (New World Vulture) in South Carolina. Journal of Parasitology 97:1137-1139.

Martin J.A., Belant J.L., DeVault T.L., Blackwell B.F., Burger L.W., Riffell S.K., Wang G. (2011) Wildlife risk to aviation: a multi-scale issue requires a multi-scale solution. Human-wildlife interactions 5:198-203.

Wenny D.G., DeVault T.L., Johnson M.D., Kelly D., Sekercioglu C.H., Tomback D.F., Whelan C.J. (2011) The need to quantify ecosystem services provided by birds. Auk 128:1-14. DOI: 10.1525/auk.2011.10248.

Wenny D.G., DeVault T.L., Johnson M.D., Kelly D., Sekercioglu C.H., Tomback D.F., Whelan C.J. (2011) Perspectives in ornithology the need to quantify ecosystem services provided by birds. Auk 128:1-14.


Keirn G., Cepek J., Blackwell B., DeVault T. (2010) On a quest for safer skies. The Wildlife Professional Summer 2010:52-55.

Bernhardt G.E., Blackwell B.F., Devault T.L., Kutschbach-Brohl L. (2010) Fatal injuries to birds from collisions with aircraft reveal anti-predator behaviours. Ibis 152:830-834.

Blackwell B.F., DeVault T.L., Fernández-Juricic E., Dolbeer R.A. (2009) Wildlife collisions with aircraft: A missing component of land-use planning for airports. Landscape and Urban Planning 93:1-9.


Additional Information