Zara DowlingZara Dowling

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UMass Clean Energy Extension (CEE)


Phone: 413-545-8516

Office: Agricultural Engineering Building Room 207


As an ecologist, the work I do is motivated by one fairly straightforward, practical question:  How do we achieve the rapid build-out of renewable energy capacity on a scale necessary to combat climate change, without compromising wildlife populations and the habitats on which they depend?  As a Western Mass native who grew up in a small, rural town, I’m also interested in helping local communities plan for the types of clean energy development they want to see, while preserving valued natural and agricultural resources.  At UMass Clean Energy Extension (CEE) our applied research, education, and workforce development efforts are typically focused on Massachusetts – but always with an eye towards how the tools and solutions we develop can be applied more broadly in other states and regions.

Outside of work, I spend a lot of time outside, canoeing, hiking, wrangling goats, chasing chickens, working on the garden, etc. – and then, of course, doing all those other good things, spending time with friends and family, playing a little bit of music here and there.

Primary Interests

Renewable energy development and wildlife conservation; community-level planning for clean energy and carbon neutrality

Current Projects


Ph.D. September 2018, Wildlife Biology

IGERT Fellow, Offshore Wind Energy Program

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA


M.S. August 2011, Environmental Science and Technology

University of Maryland, College Park, MD


B.A. December 2006, Biology with focus in Ecology

Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY


Dowling, Z, and DI O’Dell.  2018.  Bat use of an island off the coast of Massachusetts.  Northeastern Naturalist 25(3):  362-382.

Dowling, Z, P Sievert, E Baldwin, L Johnson, S von Oettingen, and J Reichard.  2017.  Tracking Northern Long-Eared Bat Offshore Foraging and Migration Activity on and around Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Sterling, Virginia. OCS Study BOEM 2017-0417. 90 pp.

Dowling, Z, P Armbruster, SL LaDeau, M DeCotiis, J Mottley, and PT Leisnham. 2013.  Linking mosquito infestation to resident socioeconomic status, knowledge, and source reduction practices in suburban Washington, DC. EcoHealth 10(1): 36-47.

Dowling, Z, SL Ladeau, P Armbruster, D Biehler, and PT Leisnham. 2013.  Socioeconomic status affects mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) larval habitat type availability and infestation level. Journal of Medical Entomology 50(4): 764-772.

Dowling, Z, T Hartwig, E Kiviat and F Keesing.  2010.  Experimental management of nesting habitat for the Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii).  Ecological Restoration 28(2):  154-159.