Harold Avery, Ph.D.

Director of Barnegat Bay Research Program; Associate Professor

Harold Avery, Ph.D.

Office: PISB 319
Phone: (215) 895-2285
Lab: PISB 301 G
Lab Phone: (215) 895-6075

Diamondback Terrapins at Barnegat Bay

Diamondback Terrapins of Barnegat Bay - Teen


Conservation Biology, Population Ecology, Herpetology


  • B.S. – State University College at Buffalo, New York (1983)
  • M.A. - State University College at Buffalo, New York (1988)
  • Ph.D. – University of California, Los Angeles (1998)

Research Interests

My research interests in ecology are broadly based on how variations of environmental resources are transduced through individuals into changes in populations (i.e., population dynamics) of wild animal populations. I have used or currently am using freshwater turtles, terrestrial tortoises, sea turtles, freshwater fishes, snakes, birds, and small mammals as model organisms to determine how natural and anthropogenic environmental variations affect the growth, habitat use, time allocation, nutrition, and reproduction of animals in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. I have also used terrestrial plant species as model organisms for studying effects of environmental variation. I will begin a study of the giant panda at the Research Center for Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China in 2010 to prepare for semi-natural studies of the reintroduction of the giant panda from captivity to natural reserves. By studying individual animals from populations, my goal is to determine how environmental variations affect population processes. This approach has allowed me to address fundamental questions in basic ecology and issues in conservation biology as they pertain to biodiversity and recovery of threatened and endangered species. My lab is also focused on broad-based issues related to the effect of climate change and global warming on animal populations and ecosystem dynamics at local, regional, national, and international levels. Goals of my research are to enhance the conservation and recovery of threatened species, to improve the management and enhance the recovery of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and to educate students using experiential learning from elementary school to post-graduate levels by using and teaching quantitative methods in ecology and environmental science.



Dr. Avery has coauthored over two dozen articles in peer reviewed scientific journals in the fields of ecology and conservation biology. Before coming to Drexel, Dr. Avery was a federal research wildlife biologist for the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, National Biological Survey, and U.S.G.S. Dr. Avery has studied diverse taxa in many ecosystems including desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert, freshwater turtles in wetlands of southeastern Pennsylvania, diamondback terrapins in Barnegat Bay Estuary of New Jersey, small rodents in Virginia, herpetofauna in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, sea turtles in Costa Rica, freshwater fishes in South Carolina, and humans in their homes in Buffalo, New York. He is pursuing future research opportunities with collaborators in China, Purdue University, and at Drexel to study the reintroduction of giant pandas to the wild near Chengdu, China.



  • Sheridan, C.M., J.R. Spotila, W.F. Bien, and H. W. Avery. 2010. Sex-biased dispersal and natal philopatry in the diamondback terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin. Molecular Ecology. In Press.
  • Basile, E.R. J.M. Keller, W.F. Bien and H. W. Avery. 2010. Diamondback terrapins as indicator species of persistent organic pollutants: Using Barnegat Bay, New Jersey as a case study. Chemosphere. In Press.
  • Wnek, J., W. F. Bien and H. W. Avery. 2010. Effects of nest substrate and shading on the development and survivorship of diamondback terrapin embryos (Malaclemys terrapin). Integrative Zoology:In Press.