Jessica Burnett

Jessica Burnett

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Degree PhD in NRES (Applied Ecology)
Address 13 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 352-792-5425
FAX 402-472-2946
Vitae Download file
Advisor(s) Craig Allen
Contact Preference


Selected Publications

Burnett, Jessica L., Kevin, L. Pope, Alec Wong, Craig R. Allen, Danielle M. Haak, Bruce J. Stephen, and Daniel R. Uden. "Thermal tolerance limits of the Chinese mystery snail (Bellamya chinensis): implications for management." American Malacological Bulletin 36, no. 1 (2018): 140-144. Online
Chuang, W.C., Garmestani, A., Eason, T.N., Spanbauer, T.L., Fried-Petersen, H.B., Roberts, C.P., Sundstrom, S.M., Burnett, J.L., Angeler, D.G., Chaffin, B.C. and Gunderson, L., 2018. Enhancing quantitative approaches for assessing community resilience. Journal of environmental management, 213, pp.353-362. Online
Donovan, V.M., Burnett, J.L., Bielski, C.H., Birgé, H.E., Bevans, R., Twidwell, D. and Allen, C.R., 2018. Social–ecological landscape patterns predict woody encroachment from native tree plantings in a temperate grassland. Ecology and evolution, 8(19), pp.9624-9632. Online
La Sorte, Frank A., Christopher A. Lepczyk, Jessica L. Burnett, Allen H. Hurlbert, Morgan W. Tingley, and Benjamin Zuckerberg. "Opportunities and challenges for big data ornithology." The Condor 120, no. 2 (2018): 414-426. Online
Roberts, Caleb P., Dirac Twidwell, Jessica L. Burnett, Victoria M. Donovan, Carissa L. Wonkka, Christine L. Bielski, Ahjond S. Garmestani et al. "Early Warnings for State Transitions." Rangeland Ecology & Management (2018). Online
Allen, C.R., H.E. Birge, S.L. Bartelt-Hunt, R.A. Bevans, J.L. Burnett, B.A. Cosens, X. Cai, A.S. Garmestani, I. Linkov, E.A. Scott, M.D. Solomon and D.R. Uden. 2016. Avoiding decline: Fostering resilience and sustainability in midsize cities. Sustainability 8(9):844-868 doi:10.3390/su8090844 Online
Burnett, J. L. and Sieving, K. E. 2016. Songbird distress call as a detection enhancement method and applicability to Red-shouldered Hawks Buteo lineatus. Florida Field Naturalist. 44: 157-168. Online
Burnett, J. L., Allen, C. R., Brown, M. B., Moulton, M. P., Roberts, C. P. 2016. Range expansion by Passer montanus in North America. Biological Invasions. 19:5-9. Online
Burnett, J. L. and Moulton, M. P. 2015. House Sparrow distribution and rarity in Gainesville, Florida. Florida Field Naturalist 43(4):167-172 Online


Selected Presentations

Using Big Data to Detect Regime Shifts in Space and Time
  • Presentation Type: Poster Presentation
  • Date: 8/1/2016
  • Abstract:

  • Full Citation: Burnett, J.L., Roberts, C.P., Allen, C.R., Angeler, D.G., Twidwell, D., and Tyre, A.J. Using Big Data to Detect Regime Shifts in Space and Time. North American Ornithological Conference VI, Poster presentation. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Institute, Washington, D.C., 2016
Florida Master Naturalist series: Ecology, Identification and History of Non-wading Birds in Wetland Systems of Florida.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 8/31/2015
  • Abstract:

  • Full Citation: J. L. Burnett and M. Main. "Ecology, Identification and History of Non-Wading Birds in Wetland Systems of Florida.” Florida Master Naturalist (Wetland Systems Module) Workshop, 2014
Are House Sparrow declines a byproduct of urban greening?
  • Presentation Type: Poster Presentation
  • Date: 7/29/2015
  • Abstract:

  • Full Citation: Burnett, J. L., M. P. Moulton, K. E. Sieving, M. L. Avery, and S. K. Robinson. Are House Sparrow declines a byproduct of urban greening? Poster presentation at the American Ornithologists' Union and Cooper Ornithological Society joint annual meeting. Norman, OK, USA.
  • Presentation Type: Thesis Defense
  • Date: 7/11/2015
  • Abstract:

    Chair: Michael P. Moulton Co-chair: Kathryn E. Sieving Major: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation The decline of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) in its native range over the last few decades has prompted an increase in population monitoring and assessment in the UK and mainland Europe, where this species is native and widespread. Across its native range, the House Sparrow was historically ubiquitous across the urban-rural gradient, however, has declined across this gradient over the last three decades. House Sparrows were once ubiquitous in the backyards of North America but may no longer be a common sight in residential areas in some parts of North America, such as Florida. The literature documenting the backyard and urban decline of House Sparrows in North America is scant. A minimal understanding exists regarding North American urban House Sparrow distributions and population trends, relative to that of European research. Both the severity of declines and the resulting distribution of House Sparrows in North American urban areas are not clearly understood. Understanding the current distribution of urban House Sparrows may aid our understanding of where and why this species, is declining in human-dominated areas. With this in mind, I approached the problem from two angles. First, I analyzed population trends of House Sparrows using Florida Christmas Bird Count (CBC) data. I ran linear regressions on select Florida CBC circles at two time scales: CBC years 51 to 112 and years 98 to 112. Of the circles with significant slope parameter estimates, I conducted a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) on the first two principal components of the habitat variables within each CBC circle, and the latitude of the circle center. Second, I conducted point counts in urban and residential areas of Gainesville, Florida to understand the relationship between urbanization and House Sparrow distributions and declines. I conducted 119 repeated-point counts (total surveys = 238) from May to September 2014 in two habitat types across Gainesville, FL, commercial and residential, using a stratified random sampling technique. I conducted single-season occupancy models to determine whether covariates of land use and the distance to the nearest occupied site affected the probability of site occupancy (ψ) by House Sparrows urban areas. Of the 44 circles I analyzed, 20 had declining trends on the long-term scale, but only 4 showed significant declines on the short-term scale. Linear regressions on the raw data were not qualitatively different than linear regressions on the effort-scaled data (i.e. birds per party-hour). Despite repeated efforts I detected no House Sparrows in residential sampling areas. Moreover I detected House Sparrows at only 14 of 119 (18 %) of the point count sampling sites. Amount of land devoted to commercial uses, and the distance to the nearest occupied sampling site best-predicted House Sparrow occupancy. I used model averaging to estimate effects of land use and distance on ψ. Model-averaged estimates of ψ was 1.24% (±2.3% unconditional SE), and the probability of detection (p) was 65% (±1.5% unconditional SE), respectively. House Sparrow occupancy was not significantly associated with any other species. I thus confirmed the rarity or, more likely, the absence of House Sparrows in residential areas of Gainesville, Florida. Although House Sparrow presence can be best predicted by the amount commercial habitat (e.g., particularly near grocery stores), their occupancy of these sites was much lower than one might expect of a once-ubiquitous and successful invader. The importance of the decline of this highly successful invader is underrepresented in North American ornithological literature. This study documents the phenomena of the possible disappearance of House Sparrows from residential habitat and the condensed occupancy or low densities in commercialized areas (in seemingly ideal House Sparrow habitat).

  • Full Citation:
House Sparrow: The Decline of a Once Ubiquitous, Invasive Species
  • Presentation Type: Poster Presentation
  • Date: 5/1/2014
  • Abstract:

  • Full Citation: J. L. Burnett, M. P. Moulton, K.E. Sieving. “House Sparrow: The Decline of a Once Ubiquitous, Invasive Species.” Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society Annual Conference, Safety Harbor, FL, 2014.
Perceived and actual predation risks of small forest birds
  • Presentation Type: Poster Presentation
  • Date: 6/1/2013
  • Abstract:

  • Full Citation: J. L. Burnett and K. E. Sieving. “Perceived and Actual Predation Risks of Small Forest Birds.” Association of Field Ornithologists Annual Conference, Venus, FL, 2013.
Detecting birds of prey using Tufted Titmouse distress calls
  • Presentation Type: Poster Presentation
  • Date: 5/1/2013
  • Abstract:

  • Full Citation: J. L. Burnett and K. E. Sieving. “Detecting Birds of Prey Using Tufted Titmouse Distress Calls.” USGS Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Committee Meeting, Gainesville, FL, 2013.
Do Actual and Perceived Risks of Small Forest Birds Align
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 2/1/2013
  • Abstract:

  • Full Citation: J.L. Burnett and K. E. Sieving. “Do Actual and Perceived Risks of Small Forest Birds Align?” in Florida Ornithological Society Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, 2013.

Educational Background

  • BS - University of Florida, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (2013)
  • MS - University of Florida, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (2015)


  • 2018 – Meritorius Graduate Student awarded by School of Natural Resources 
  • 2018 – Travel Award awarded by Kellogg Biological Station and Michigan State University   $500 awarded for travel to ELME 2018 at Kellogg Biological Station
  • 2017 – Fling Fellowship awarded by University of Nebraska-Lincoln 
  • 2017 – Nelson Memorial Fellowship awarded by IANR  Financial support ($625) for travel to statistics workshops at Kellogg Biological Station in July 2017.
  • 2017 – Traveling Scholar awarded by Big Ten Acadmic Alliance 
  • 2016 – AAAS/Science Program for Excellence awarded by AAAS  Nominated by [SNR-UNL][ director Dr. John Carroll and selected by the AAAS/Science Program for Excellence to receive a sponsored membership.
  • 2016 – Irvin A. and Agnes E. Nelson Memorial Fellowship. awarded by UNL 
  • 2016 – Center for Great Plains Studies Fellow awarded by University of Nebraska-Lincoln  The Graduate Fellows Program of the Center for Great Plains Studies provides space for selected graduate students to work, meet, obtain support, learn from fellow students, engage with the Center faculty and staff, benefit from the Center's resources, and progress in the degree programs in their home departments. Graduate Fellows are selected annually from individuals nominated by Fellows of the Center. Students who are enrolled in a doctoral program or a terminal-degree master's program in a Great Plains-related discipline on any University of Nebraska campus are eligible; if you wish to be nominated during the nomination period, please contact a Fellow.
  • 2015 – Elevator speech competition 2nd place awarded by School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 
  • 2015 – Resilience Alliance Young Scholar awarded by The Resilience Alliance  Resilience Alliance Young Scholars is an international, interdisciplinary network of young researchers, who research social-ecological resilience.
  • 2015 – Othmer Fellowship awarded by University of Nebraska-Lincoln  Othmer Fellowships are intended to assist in recruiting exceptional scholars who are seeking a terminal degree (i.e., Ph.D., Ed.D, D.M.A, M.F.A.). While UNL alums are not prohibited from receiving an Othmer Fellowship, the general assumption is that a UNL student would only receive this fellowship if we are actively competing with other prestigious institutions to retain the student at UNL. Othmer Fellows will receive, in addition to the departmental assistantship, an $8,000 fellowship per year. Othmer Fellowships are renewable for up to three years, given continued excellent progress toward the degree. All graduate applicants newly admitted to a doctoral or M.F.A. degree program are eligible for an Othmer Fellowship. To qualify, the department is expected to offer an assistantship stipend at least equal to the highest amount offered by the department to first-year students. The assistantship must be renewable for up to three years. Selection criteria: Exceptional scholar Newly admitted doctoral or M.F.A. student Minimum GPA of 3.5 in previous degree Excellent letters of recommendation Student must be offered a department assistantship at the highest level of funding

Affiliations (index)

Professional Organizations

Notable Websites

Areas of Interest

  • Avian community ecology
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Urban ecology

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

There no Grants found for this selection.