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Marsha A. Sovada

Research Wildlife Biologist (Emeritus)
USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
8711 37th Street Southeast
Jamestown, North Dakota 58401

Phone: (701) 253-5506
Fax: (701) 253-5553
Email NPWRC Staff
Research (Principal Investigator),
Jamestown Headquarters

Photo of Marsha Sovada.


  • Ecology of mammalian predators
  • Predator-prey relations
  • Ecology of breeding waterfowl
  • Fox ecology and behavior

Current Projects:

  • Experimental reintroduction of swift foxes in Badlands National Park
  • Determination of habitat characteristic associated with range-wide distribution of swift foxes
  • Practical methods to monitor alternative prey resources of predators that impact grassland nesting birds in the Prairie Pothole Region
  • Monitoring mammalian predator distributions; techniques development to assess predator populations
  • Richardson's ground squirrel colonies in North Dakota: distribution, trends, and burrowing owl use
  • Population dynamics of the American White Pelican colony at Chase Lake, North Dakota
  • Impact of West Nile Virus on white pelican colonies in the northern Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota
  • Technical assistance: Predation management: evaluation of factors contributing to depredation of breeding migratory birds
  • Technical assistance: Management plan for mammals of the Little Missouri National Grasslands


  • Ph.D., Zoology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND (1993)
  • M.S., Biology, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID (1978)
  • B.S., Biology, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN (1976)

Professional Experience:

  • 1991-present:  Wildlife Research Biologist, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, USGS, Jamestown, ND
  • 1983-1991:  General Biologist, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, USFWS, Jamestown, ND
  • Previous:  Research Biologist (1), Colorado Division of Wildlife; Biologist, Wetlands Populations Research Group, Minnesota DNR; Biological Technician, USFWS, MN and ND

Professional Affiliations:

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD (2002-present)
  • American Society of Mammalogists
  • The Wildlife Society (TWS)
  • TWS North Dakota Chapter
  • TWS Central Mountains and Plains Section
  • Society for Conservation Biology
  • Society for Ecological Restoration
  • North Dakota Natural Science Society
  • North Dakota Archaeological Association

Selected Publications:

Moehrenschlager, A., B. L. Cypher, K. Ralls, R. List, and M. A. Sovada. 2004. Comparative ecology and conservation priorities of swift and kit foxes. Pages 185-198 in D. W. Macdonald and C. Sillero-Zubiri, eds. Biology and conservation of wild canids. Oxford University Press.

Sovada, M. A., D. T. King, M. Erickson, and C. Gray. 2004. Historic and current status of breeding American White Pelicans at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota. Waterbirds.

Allardyce, D., and M. A. Sovada. 2003. A review: ecology, historical distribution and status of swift foxes in North America. Pages 3-18 in M. A. Sovada and L. N. Carbyn, editors. Ecology and conservation of swift foxes in a changing world. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Phillips, M. L., W. R. Clark, M. A. Sovada, D. J. Horn, R. R. Koford, and R. J. Greenwood. 2003. Predator selection of habitat features in prairie landscapes with contrasting grassland composition. Journal of Wildlife Management 67:104-114.

Sovada, M. A., and L. Carbyn, editors. 2003. Ecology and conservation of swift foxes in a changing world. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Sovada, M. A., C. C. Roy, R. O . Woodward, M. L. Phillips. 2003. Home range, habitat use, litter size and pup dispersal of swift foxes in two distinct landscapes of western Kansas. Pages 149-160 in M. A. Sovada and L. N. Carbyn, editors. Ecology and Conservation of swift foxes in a changing world. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Sovada, M. A., R. M. Anthony, and B. D. J. Batt. 2001. Predation on waterfowl in arctic tundra and prairie breeding areas: a review. Wildlife Society Bulletin 29:6-15.

Sovada, M. A., M. C. Zicus, R. J. Greenwood, D. P. Rave, W. E. Newton, R. O. Woodward, and J. A. Beiser. 2000. Relationship of patch size and predator community to survival of duck nests in grasslands. Journal of Wildlife Management 64:820-831.

Sovada, M. A., J. M. Roaldson, and A. B. Sargeant. 1999. Foods of American badgers in west-central Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota during the duck nesting season. American Midland Naturalist 142:410-414.

Greenwood, R. J., and M. A. Sovada. 1998. Population changes in common prairie pothole carnivores. Pages 462-463 in Mac, M. J., P.A. Opler, C. E. Puckett Haecker, and P. D. Doran, eds. Status and trends of the nation's biological resources. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C. 964 p.

Sargeant, A. B., M. A. Sovada, and R. J. Greenwood. 1998. Interpreting evidence of depredation of duck nests in the prairie pothole region. U.S. Geol. Surv., Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND and Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Memphis, TN. 72 p.

Sovada, M. A., C. C. Roy, J. B. Bright, and J. R. Gillis. 1998. Causes and rates of mortality of swift foxes in western Kansas. Journal of Wildlife Management 62(4):1300-1306.

Greenwood, R. J. and Sovada, M. A. 1996. Prairie duck populations and predation management. Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 61:31-42.

Sargeant, A. B., Sovada, M. A., and Shaffer, T. L. 1995. Seasonal predator removal relative to hatch rate of duck nests in waterfowl production areas. Wildlife Society Bulletin 23(3):507-513.

Sovada, M. A., Sargeant, A. B., and Grier, J.W. 1995. Differential effects of coyotes and red foxes on duck nest success. Journal of Wildlife Management 59(1):1-9.

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