Duane Diefenbach, Ph.D.

Duane Diefenbach, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Wildlife Ecology
  • Leader, PA Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
404 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • biometrics
  • white-tailed deer
  • harvest management
  • population estimation


  • B.S., Washington State University (1985)
  • M.S., University of Maine (1988)
  • Ph.D., University of Georgia (1992)

Academic Interests

Wildlife ecology, estimation of population parameters, and harvest management of game populations

Affiliated Programs

Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Courses Taught

WFS 560 Estimation of Fish and Wildlife Population Parameters

Professional Affiliation

I am active in The Wildlife Society and a Certified Wildlife Biologist. I have served as representative to Council as the Northease Representative, vice president of the Northeast Section, and chair of the Biometrics Working Group. I encourage graduate students in my lab to actively participate in The Wildlife Society at the state, regional, and national levels. Also, I am a member of The Ecological Society of America.

Recent Research/Educational Projects

Ecology and Management of White-tailed Deer My students and I have been collaborating with the Pennsylvania Game Commission since 2000 on a series of research projects on deer and deer hunters. This work has included studying survival and causes of mortality in fawns, effects of antler restriction regulations on harvest rates and dispersal in bucks, dispersal behavior or female white-tailed deer, and the spatial distribution of hunters and deer harvest as influenced by roads and landscape characteristics.

My current deer research is The Deer-Forest Study, which is a long-term study of the relationship of deer herbivory, competing vegetation, and soil conditions on the forest vegetation conditions. I am collaborating with Dr. Marc McDill and Dr. Autumn Sabo, forest ecologists, and Dr. Patrick Drohan, pedologist, and we have several graduate students collaborating on this research.

Wild Turkey Harvest I recently completed research to understand the effect of changes in fall hunting season on harvest rates on female wild turkeys and develop a stochastic dynamic model for setting fall hunting seasons. I am collaborating with Dr. Franny Buderman.

Selected Publications

Buderman, F. E., T. M. Gingery, D. R. Diefenbach, L. C. Gigliotti, D. Begley-Miller, M. E. McDill, B. D. Wallingford, C. S. Rosenberry, and P. J. Drohan. 2021. Caution is warranted when using animal space-use and movement to infer behavioral states . Animal Movement 9:30. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40462-021-00264-8

Lutz, C. L., D. R. Diefenbach, C. S. Rosenberry. 2015. Population density influences dispersal in female white-tailed deer. Journal of Mammalogy 96:494-501.

Long, E. S., D. R. Diefenbach, C. L. Lutz, C. S. Rosenberry, B. D. Wallingford. 2021. Risky movements? Natal dispersal does not decrease survival of white-tailed deer. Ecology and Evolution 11:2731–2740. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.7227

Miller-Butterworth, C. M., D. R. Diefenbach, J. E. Edson, L. A. Hansen, J. D. Jordan, T. M. Gingery, and A. L. Russell. 2021. Demography and loss of genetic diversity in two insular populations of the bobcat (Lynx rufus). Global Ecology and Conservation 26:e01547. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01457

Gingery, T. M., D. R. Diefenbach, C. E. Pritchard, D. C. Ensminger, B. D. Wallingford, and C. S. Rosenberry. 2020. Survival is negatively associated with glucocorticoids in a wild ungulate neonate. Integrative Zoology 16:214-225. https://doi.org/10.1111/1749-4877.12499