Martha Desmond

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Martha J. Desmond
Appointment: Interim Department Head and Regents Professor
Office: Knox 129
Office Phone: 575-646-1217
Expertise Avian Ecology and Conservation; Anthropogenic Stressors on Ecosystems, Collaborative Student Programs.
Desmond Publications

Martha Desmond is the Interim Department Head and Regents Professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology. Originally from Massachusetts, Martha completed her BA at Wells College in Aurora, NY (1985) and went on to receive a MS (1993) and PhD (1997) in Wildlife and Forestry from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Prior to coming to NMSU, Martha was a postdoctoral fellow at the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua in Chihuahua, Mexico and Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Early in her career at NMSU, Martha completed an E. Kika de la Garza Education Fellowship with the USDA in Washington DC.

Dr Desmond’s lab addresses research related to birds of conservation concern. Her research focuses on avian communities in arid environments and examines environmental and anthropogenic stressors to populations. Most of her research projects are collaborations with state and federal agencies to make informed decisions related to anthropogenic factors affecting bird populations including urbanization, energy development and artificial light at night, as well as forest thinning activities to reduce wildfire risk. In addition to avian research, Martha is a co-PI on the NSF National Resource Hub for STEM Education at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) providing support for HSIs nationwide and is strongly engaged in programs that mentor students from diverse backgrounds in wildlife and natural resource careers.

Recent Publications:

In Review:

  • Young, A.C., D. Meliopoulos**, F.A. Gebreselassie, and M.J. Desmond. In Review. Impacts of solar energy development on breeding birds in desert grasslands in South-central New Mexico. Renewable Energy.


  • Salas, A*. +, Abadi, F., Desmond, M. J. (2023). Post-fledging survival, movement patterns, and habitat associations of Bendire's Thrashers (Toxostoma bendirei) in the Chihuahuan Desert. Avian Conservation and Ecology, 18.

  • Doublet, D*., Johnson, D. H., Abadi, F., Desmond, M. J. 2023. Nest survival and productivity of translocated and resident burrowing owls in Arizona. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 87, e22339. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.22339.

  • Doublet, D*., Gebreselassie, F. A., Desmond, M. J., Johnson, D. H. 2023. Survival and fidelity of translocated and resident burrowing owls in Arizona.  87:e22283. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.22283

  • Tarazona-Tubens*, F. L., Gebreselassie, F. A., Britt, C. R., Desmond, M. J. 2022. Nest box selection by yellow-headed and white-fronted amazons in pine savannas of Belize. Avian Conservation and Ecology 17(2):30 https//

  • Tarazona-Tubens, F. L*., Britt, C. R., Abadi, F., Muschamp, M., and Desmond, M. J. 2022. Temporal factors and distance to human settlement affect nest survival of the endangered Yellow-headed Parrot in Belize, Central America. Ornithological Applications, 124(2), duac010.

  • Lunblad, C.G., C.J. Conway, K. Cruz-McDonnell, O Cruz-Carretero,D.  Doublet*, M. J. Desmond, K. Ongman, C. Navis, N. Rodriquez-Hernanez* 2021. Collapse and recovery of a Burrowing Owl population on Kirtland Airforce Base, New Mexico. Journal of Raptor Research 55:241-254. 

  • Porro, C*., M.J. Desmond, F. Gebreselassie, J.A. Savidge, K. Cruz McDonnell, R. Griebel, J. Davis**, J., R. Eckstein, N. Hernandez Rodriguez*. 2020. Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) nest phenology influenced by drought on nonbreeding grounds. AUK: Ornithological Advances 137:1-17.