Jonathan L Atwood (PhD)

Adjunct Faculty
Department of Environmental Studies

AUNE Contact Information


Highest Degree

PhD, University of California at Los Angeles

Other Degrees & Credentials

MA, Biology, California State University, Long Beach
BA, Environmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Areas of Expertise

ornithology, habitat conservation


In general, Master's degrees granted by Biology departments are usually quite specialized in terms of their course and thesis requirements, and many people who graduate from such programs eventually go on to pursue a Ph.D. and jobs within the university research world. Specialization is emphasized; I left my doctoral program at UCLA being able to not only claim expertise as an ornithologist, but as an ornithologist who knew more about a single species of songbird than anyone else in the world. Then I spent the next 12 years learning things that my graduate training had never addressed, and which were critical if I was to function as an effective conservation biologist outside of academia.

“I view myself as a conservation biologist who uses studies of bird behavior to foster landscape level conservation planning initiatives. After completing my master’s and doctoral degrees, I realized there were many subjects and skills that my graduate training had never addressed but which were critical if I was to effectively function as a conservationist outside of academia. How are public policies shaped by social perspectives? How do economics drive decision-making? How are laws and regulations interpreted and applied? How do I identify research topics with practical implications? How are habitat and species inventories conducted? How can I communicate results in ways that go beyond publications in peer-reviewed journals? In other words, I needed to learn the sort of skills provided by Antioch’s Environmental Studies degree.”

I think of myself as a teacher, an ornithologist, and a conservation biologist, and my interaction with students at Antioch reflects all of these elements. I am strongly committed to excellence in science, and to helping people develop skills that will not only get them jobs but also equip them to positively contribute to specific conservation efforts at various scales. Mentoring relationships are a central part of my work in the ES Department, and much of the teaching that I do occurs in the context of one-on-one collaborative work.