William J. Rucker Professor
Natural Resources Graduate Coordinator - Human Dimensions &
Undergraduate Coordinator - Natural Resource Science & Management
School of Natural Resources
Nilon’s research considers the impact of urbanization on wildlife habitats, populations and communities. From 1997-2020 Nilon was a co-principal investigator on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), one of the original urban ecosystems projects included in the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research program. His work with the BES focused on understanding how ecological and socioeconomic factors influence bird species composition and abundance. Because urban areas are homes for people as well as wildlife, Nilon’s research also considers the role of nature as part of an individual’s day-to-day environment, and environmental justice issues associated with access to nature. Nilon and his students have worked on projects Columbia and St. Louis that seek to understand how people perceive open spaces in their neighborhood. Recently he has collaborated with colleagues from the MU School of Medicine on a project studying the kinds of open spaces where children are active. Since 2010 Nilon has been a principal investigator or co-investigator on five synthesis projects that are compiling data from more than 150 of the world’s cities. The projects seek to understand global patterns of biodiversity in cities, the filters that shape species composition in cities, and the social and ecological factors that shape patterns of abundance in cities, and apply that information to management, conservation and planning programs.
- Ph.D., State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1986