Justin Kitzes

  • Assistant Professor
  • Quantitative Ecology and Conservation


Office: (412) 383-4402
103 Clapp Hall
4249 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Research in the Kitzes Lab focuses on measuring, understanding, and predicting biodiversity loss on a planet increasingly dominated by human activities. The central question that guides our research is

How are species distributed across complex landscapes, and how do human impacts drive these distributions?

Within this broad question, we have a particular interest in the ecology and conservation of rare and hard-to-detect species, which are difficult to study using traditional survey methods. To better understand these species, our work relies heavily on techniques from terrestrial bioacoustics, specifically automated acoustic field recorders and machine learning models for sound detection and classification. We both develop methods and tools to enable bioacoustics research and apply our methods to answer questions spanning natural history, conservation, and ecology.

Our research involves a wide variety of taxa, although our main groups of interest at the moment are temperate breeding birds and anurans. In recent years, our lab has been financially supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, National Geographic, Microsoft, and the Academic Data Science Alliance.

Dr. Kitzes received his Ph.D. in 2012 with John Harte and Adina Merenlender at the University of California, Berkeley, was a postdoctoral scholar in the Energy and Resources Group and a Data Science Fellow at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, both at UC Berkeley, and joined the Department in 2017.