Sheila Whitmore

Bioacoustic Project Coordinator


As the project coordinator for the bioacoustics monitoring program in the Peery Lab, I spend the field seasons overseeing the central acoustic crew in the central Sierra Nevada. Every year we deploy hundreds of autonomous recording units (ARUs) to passively record acoustic data to monitor the presence of several species across the Sierra Nevada, with a focus on California spotted owls and invasive barred owls. Several researchers in the Peery Lab and other collaborators use this data to study species’ distributions, abundance, and occupancy and the ways they are affected by forest management practices, climate change, and wildfire.

I have worked with California spotted owls for over two decades on demography and habitat studies and several GPS-tagging projects. For my master’s thesis, I studied habitat use of juvenile spotted owls during the pre-dispersal period. Broadly speaking, my research interests are focused on forest species habitat conservation.


MS Biology | California State University, Chico 2009

BS Biology | University of Nebraska, Lincoln 1996


I enjoy birding, hiking, backpacking, snowboarding, and photography.

Hobart, B. K., H. A. Kramer, G. M. Jones, B. P. Dotters, S. A. Whitmore, J. J. Keane, M. Z. Peery (2020) Stable isotopes reveal unexpected relationships between fire history and the diet of Spotted Owls. Ibis. doi: 10.1111/ibi.12832

Jones, G. M., H. A. Kramer, S. A. Whitmore, W. J. Berigan, D. J. Tempel, C. M. Wood, B. K. Hobart, T. Erker, F. A. Atuo, N. K. Pietrunti, R. Kelsey, R.J. Gutiérrez, M. Z. Peery. In Press. Habitat selection by spotted owls after a megafire reflects their adaptation to historical frequent-fire regimes. Landscape Ecology.

Atuo, F. A., K. Roberts, S. Whitmore, B. P. Dotters, M. G. Raphael, S. C. Sawyer, J. J. Keane, R. J. Gutierrez, M. Z. Peery (2019) Resource selection by GPS-tagged California spotted owls in mixed-ownership forests. Forest Ecology and Management 433: 295-304.

Berigan, W. J., G. M. Jones, S. A. Whitmore, R. J. Gutiérrez, M. Z. Peery (2019) Cryptic wide‐ranging movements lead to upwardly biased occupancy in a territorial species. Journal of Applied Ecology 56: 470-480.

Hobart, B. K., Gavin M. Jones, K. N. Roberts, B. P. Dotters, S. A. Whitmore, W. J. Berigan, M. G. Raphael, J. J. Keane, R.J. Gutiérrez, M. Z. Peery (2019) Trophic interactions mediate the response of predator populations to habitat change. Biological Conservation 238: 108217.

Hobart, B. K., K. N. Roberts, B. P. Dotters, W. J. Berigan, S. A. Whitmore, M. G. Raphael, J. J. Keane, R. J. Gutiérrez, M. Z. Peery (2019) Site occupancy and reproductive dynamics of California spotted owls in a mixed-ownership landscape. Forest Ecology and Management 437: 188-200.

Jones, G. M., R. J. Gutiérrez, H. A. Kramer, D. J. Tempel, W. J. Berigan, S. A. Whitmore, M. Z. Peery (2019) Megafire effects on spotted owls: elucidation of a growing threat and a response to Hanson et al. (2018). Nature Conservation 37: 31-51.

Wood, C. M., S. A. Whitmore, R. J. Gutiérrez, S. C. Sawyer, M. Z. Peery (2018) Using metapopulation models to assess species conservation – ecosystem restoration tradeoffsBiological Conservation 224: 248-257.

Tempel, D. J., J. J. Keane, R. J. Gutiérrez, J. D. Wolfe, G. M. Jones, A. Koltunov, C. M. Ramirez, W. J. Berigan, C. V. Gallagher, T. E. Munton, P. A. Shaklee, S. A. Whitmore, M. Z. Peery(2016) Meta-analysis of California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis) territory occupancy in the Sierra Nevada: habitat associations and their implications for forest managementThe Condor: Ornithological Applications 118: 747-765.

Jones, G. M., R. J. Gutiérrez, D. J. Tempel, S. A. Whitmore, W. J. Berigan, M. Z. Peery. 2016. Megafires: an emerging threat to old-forest speciesFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14(6): 300–306.

Tempel, D. J., R. J. Gutiérrez, J. J. Battles, D. L. Fry, Q. Guo, M. J. Reetz, S. A. Whitmore, G. M. Jones, B. M. Collins, S. L. Stephens, M. Kelly, W. J. Berigan, and M. Z. Peery. 2015. Evaluating short- and long-term impacts of fuels treatments and simulated wildfire on an old-forest speciesEcosphere 6(12): 1–18.

Tempel, D. J., R. J. Gutiérrez, S. A. Whitmore, M. Reetz, W. J. Berigan, R. Stoelting, M. E. Seamans, and Peery, M. Z. 2014. Effects of forest management on California Spotted Owls: Implications for reducing wildfire risk in fire-prone forests. Ecological Applications 24: 2089–2106.

P. J. Williams, S. A. Whitmore, R. J. Gutiérrez. 2014. Use of private lands for foraging by California spotted owls in the central Sierra Nevada. Wildlife Society Bulletin 38: 705–709.

P. J. Williams, R. J. Gutiérrez, S. A. Whitmore. 2011. Home range and habitat selection of spotted owls in the central Sierra Nevada. Journal of Wildlife Management 75: 333–343.