Department Chair and Associate Professor
5755 Nutting Hall, Room 210
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5775
Dr. Olsen’s research focuses on adaptation to changing landscapes. Whether concerned with rising sea-levels, landscape development, or changing weather patterns, students in his lab study how animal populations (particularly birds) react to our dynamic planet. Lab members measure behavior, morphology, niches, and genes to identify constraints on adaptation (both genetic and plastic) and tipping points where populations are no longer resilient. Dr. Olsen’s ongoing research addresses conservation concerns in Atlantic coastal marshes, Maine’s rocky intertidal zone, and the warming Arctic. He is part of a large-scale effort with multiple states, federal, and non-governmental organizations to address conservation concerns for the tidal marsh birds of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States (as a founding PI of the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program – SHARP). Dr. Olsen holds a joint appointment with the School of Biology & Ecology (https://sbe.umaine.edu/), and his graduate students can receive degrees from both departments, as well as from the Ecology & Environmental Sciences Program (https://umaine.edu/ecologyandenvironmentalsciences/). Before he joined the UMaine faculty in 2008, Dr. Olsen was a senior lecturer at Penn State University and a Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution.
You can learn more about Dr. Olsen’s research at Olsen Lab Webpage.