Adjunct Research Professor


Primary Interests

My long-term research goal is to reconcile urban development with conservation by using a socio-ecological approach to improve fundamental understanding of key ecological processes in urban systems. I translate the application of scientific information into management tools and advise policy. The ultimate goal of my research is to improve the sustainability of urban environments for wildlife while advancing human well-being through reconnecting urbanites with nearby nature. I explore the links between human management of urban green spaces (e.g. yards, neighborhood parks and open space) and the health and success of native wildlife populations, and how these impacts subsequently feedback to influence people due to the role of biodiversity in delivering ecosystem services.


Current Projects:

  • Test how lawn mowing influences bee diversity and ecosystem services in private yards (NSF SEES Fellows Program)
  • Population dynamics of backyard birds (Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center Neighborhood Nestwatch)
  • Incorporate wildlife habitat models into and urban forest assessment tool (US Forest Service i-Tree)
  • Develop guidelines for Conservation Developments


Recent Publications:

Lerman, S.B., K.H. Nislow, D.J. Nowak, S. DeStefano, D.I. King, and D.T. Jones-Farrand. 2014. Using urban forestry monitoring tools to model urban bird habitat potential. Landscape and Urban Planning 122: 29-40.

Strohbach, M., S.B. Lerman, and P.S. Warren. 2013. Are small urban greening areas enhancing bird diversity? Insights from community-driven greening projects from Boston. Impacts of small greening initiatives on urban bird diversity – insights from Boston. Landscape and Urban Planning 114: 69-79.

Lerman, S.B., P.S. Warren, H. Gan, and E. Shochat. 2012. Linking foraging decisions to residential yard composition. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43497. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043497.

Lerman, S.B., V.K. Turner, and C. Bang. 2012. Homeowners Associations as a vehicle for promoting native urban biodiversity. Ecology and Society 17(4): 45.

Warren, P.S., R. Ryan, S.B. Lerman, K. Tooke. 2011. Social and institutional factors associated with land use and forest conservation along two urban gradients in Massachusetts. Landscape and Urban Planning 102: 82-92.

Lerman, S.B. and P.S. Warren. 2011. The Conservation value of residential landscapes: Exploring the links between birds and people. Ecological Applications 21: 1327-1339.

Shochat, E., S.B. Lerman, J.M Anderies, P.S. Warren, S.H. Faeth, and C.H. Nilon. 2010. Invasion, competition, and biodiversity loss in urban ecosystems. BioScience 60: 199-208.

Warren, P.S., S.B. Lerman and N.D. Charney. 2008. Plants of a feather: Spatial autocorrelation of gardening practices in suburban neighborhoods. Biological Conservation 141: 3-4

Shochat, E., S.B. Lerman, M. Katti, and D. Lewis. 2004. Linking optimal foraging behavior to bird community structure in an urban-desert landscape: field experiments with artificial food patches. American Naturalist 164: 232-243.