James Michael Scott, PhD

Dr. Scott has devoted a lifetime to the study and conservation of the world’s rarest species. After 37 years with the US Department of Interior he retired in 2011 as a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, leader of the Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and University Distinguished Professor of Fish and Wildlife Sciences at the University of Idaho. He has published more than 200 journal articles and written or edited ten books. His work and that of his students and colleagues has been recognized with multiple national and international awards from public agencies, nonprofit groups and professional societies. Techniques he, his students and colleagues pioneered include the variable Circular Plot method for estimating  population sizes of birds and  Gap Analysis a “tool used in wildlife conservation to map the distribution of natural resources e.g. species ecological systems, geophysical features  and document  their occurrence  in conservation areas. Use that information to identify which species or ecosystems represent “gaps” in the current system of  conservation areas. Land use planners, conservation groups and others use Gap Analysis to identify opportunities for increasing protection of natural resources by changes in land use practices, establishment of new  or addition to existing wildlife refuges, natural resource  parks. Gap Analysis is being used worldwide to inform natural resource management and policy decisions regarding creation of new natural area reserves. His current research focuses on recovery of endangered species. In doing so he and his colleagues have documented that 84 % of currently listed species will require continuing management activities even after recovery goals have been achieved. These species are Conservation Reliant. The work of Dr. Scott his students, colleagues and the public land management agencies and ranchers he works with is documenting the elements of America’s landscape needed to save species while they are still common and improve effectiveness of recovery actions for imperiled species.

  • Ph.D. Oregon State University Zoology emphasis on Ecology
  • M.A. San Diego State University Zoology with emphasis on Marine Biology
  • B.S. Zoology San Diego California

Contact James Michael Scott, PhD

University of Idaho
Professor and Research Scientist
875 Perimeter Drive
College of Natural Resources 103E, MS 1141
Moscow, Idaho  83844-1141
Phone: (208) 885-6960


Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • Idaho

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator