Caren Cooper

Associate Professor, Leadership in Public Science
North Carolina State University & NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Research Interests:
I study bird ecology and conservation, generally through the use of citizen science. With citizen science, people, anywhere at any time, can lend a hand in carrying out genuine scientific research. I enjoy designing and implementing citizen science programs for the investigation of social-ecological systems (also called coupled natural and human systems). I believe that to understand natural systems, we also have to understand human systems because our species has a pervasive influence on nature, and vice versa. Plus, I enjoy the interdisciplinary approaches of ecological and social science research together.
Topics of interest to me include:

  • Managing human-wildlife interactions
  • Ecology of lightscapes and soundscapes
  • Avian incubation behavior and physiology
  • Eggs as bioindicators of contaminants
  • Synchrony and mismatch in phenology
  • Citizen science design
  • and any research question that can only be answered via citizen science.

I’m an advocate for the practices of Citizen Science, Open Science, and Science Communication, pursuing scholarly inquiry into these areas, and bringing them all together to achieve Public Science. I’m dedicated to training and mentoring students to become public scientists so they can pursue careers in any sector in ways that weave scientific pursuits into the fabric of society.