Biodiversity Research Institute
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Program Director
Chris DeSorbo, M.S.
Chris, here with a newly banded juvenile Bald Eagle, continues to build BRI’s raptor program to collect scientific information key to improving our understanding of raptors, which in turn will aid in their conservation.

Chris DeSorbo, M.S.

Raptor Program Director

207-839-7600 x115
chris.desorbo@briloon.org

Chris DeSorbo has a B.S. in biology and M.S. in environmental studies/conservation biology. His early career field positions varied from conducting hawk counts in Washington State, to studying songbirds in Hawaii, and surveying loon populations in New Hampshire.

He joined BRI in 1998, and oversaw a Common Loon behavioral ecology and toxicology study in Maine’s Rangeley Lakes region. Over the next several years, he conducted a wide variety of BRI research projects with a continuing emphasis on Common Loon ecology, management, and the toxicology of mercury. He published two landmark papers regarding managing loon populations using rafts. 

As BRI expanded its mercury research with Common Loons to include other species, DeSorbo was drawn to raptors, and BRI’s raptor program was born. In 2004, he began what has now become the most extensive Bald Eagle sampling and banding effort in Maine’s history, with close to 700 eaglets banded throughout the state. He summarized a portion of this eagle research in his graduate work, which established that lake-nesting Bald Eagles in Maine are exposed to some of the highest mercury burdens in North America.

Recent efforts for the raptor program have emphasized using satellite telemetry to answer a variety of questions about the movement patterns of Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and other raptors, surveying Maine’s Osprey population, and extensive efforts to establish baseline information on Maine’s offshore raptor migration using counts and satellite tracking to aid in wind power siting decisions.

Education

 
  • M.S., Environmental Studies/Conservation Biology, Antioch University, 2007
    • DeSorbo, C. R. 2007. Spatial, temporal, and habitat-based patterns of mercury exposure in interior bald eagles in Maine. M.S. Thesis. Antioch University, Keene, NH. 95 pp.
  • B.S., Biology, University of New Hampshire, 1996

Research Interests

 
  • Raptor conservation
  • Population monitoring
  • Geographic and habitat contaminant exposure patterns and impact assessments
  • Factors limiting populations
  • Food habits

Journal Articles

 

Research Reports

 

Peer Reviewed

  • Mierzykowski S. E., L. J. Welch, C. S. Todd, B. Connery and C. R. DeSorbo. 2013. Contaminant assessment of coastal bald eagles at Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Acadia National Park. USFWS. Special Project Peer-Reviewed Report FY12-MEFO-2-EC. Maine Field Office. Orono, ME.
  • Mierzykowski S.E., J.E.M. Smith, C.S.Todd, D. Kusnierz and C.R. DeSorbo. 2011. Liver contaminants in bald eagle carcasses from Maine. USFWS. Special Project Report FY09-MEFO-6-EC. Maine Field Office. Orono, ME. 53 pp.
  • DeSorbo, C. R., C.S. Todd, S.E. Mierzykowski, D.C. Evers, and W. Hanson. 2009. Assessment of mercury in Maine’s interior bald eagle population. Peer-reviewed unpublished USFWS. Spec. Proj. Report FY07-MEFO-3-EC. Maine Field Office. Old Town, ME. 42 pp.
  • DeSorbo C.R., C.S. Todd, S.E. Mierzykowski, D.C. Evers, and W. Hanson. 2009. Assessment of mercury in Maine’s interior bald eagle population. USFWS. Spec. Proj. Rep. FY07-MEFO-3-EC. Maine Field Office. Old Town, ME. 42 pp.

Other

  • DeSorbo, C. R., P. Nye, and J. L. Loukmas. 2007. Assessing mercury exposure risk and spatial patterns in adult and nestling bald eagles in New York, with an emphasis on the Catskills region. Report 2007-09 Submitted to The Nature Conservancy, New York. BioDiversity Research Institute, Gorham, Maine. Report in review.
  • Savoy, L., D. Evers, C. DeSorbo, W. Goodale, L. Attix, C. Niven, E. Saxon, and M. Nelson. Documentation of the reproductive success of the Common Loon on selected lakes in the Rangeley Lakes and Eagle Lake Regions in 2003. Report BRI 2004-03 submitted to the New England Forestry Foundation. BioDiversity Research Institute, Gorham, ME.
  • DeSorbo C. R., D. C. Evers, M. W. Goodale, M. Nelson, L. Savoy. Documentation of the reproductive success of the Common Loon on selected lakes in the Rangeley Lakes and Allagash Regions. Report BRI 2002-02 submitted to the New England Forestry Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. BioDiversity Research Institute, Falmouth, ME.
  • Evers, D. C., O. P. Lane, C. DeSorbo, and L. Savoy. Assessing the impacts of methylmercury on piscivorous wildlife using a wildlife criterion value based on the Common Loon, 1998-2001. Report BRI 2002-08 submitted to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. BioDiversity Research Institute, Falmouth. Maine.

Presentations and Posters

 
  • C. R. DeSorbo, R. B. Gray, Charles S. Todd and Wing Goodale. 2014. Estimating abundance, nest distribution, and productivity for Ospreys in Casco Bay, Maine. 70th Annual Northeast Fish & Wildlife Conference, Portland, Maine. April 13-15, 2014. (poster).
  • C. R. DeSorbo. 2014. A history of Bald Eagle research in Maine: a summary of past, recent and future research. Merrymeeting Bay Audubon Society. Guest Lecture Series. Curtis Library, Brunswick, ME. February 25, 2014. (presentation)
  • C. R. DeSorbo. 2013. A summary of BRI’s raptor research efforts to date in the Northeastern US: an emphasis on fall migrant raptor and Bald Eagle telemetry studies. Northeast Regional Migration Monitoring Network Meeting, Acadia National Park, ME, April 19-20, 2013. (presentation)
  • C. R. DeSorbo. “The History of Bald Eagle Research in Maine.” Vinalhaven Land Trust Guest Speaker Series, Vinalhaven, Maine, August 13, 2013. (presentation)
  • C.R. DeSorbo, C. S. Todd, S.E. Mierzykowski, W. Hanson, R. Gray, L. Welch, J.L. Atwood and D.C. Evers. Exposure patterns and impacts of methylmercury on Bald Eagles in Maine. 1st North America Congress for Conservation Biology. July 16-18, Oakland, CA. (poster)
  • S. E. Mierzykowski, L. J. Welch, C. S. Todd, B. Connery, and C. R. DeSorbo. 2011. Organochlorine Compounds and Mercury in Bald Eagle Nestlings and Eggs from Coastal Maine. 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, November 13–17, Boston, MA. 2011 (poster)
  • S. E. Mierzykowski, C. S. Todd, C. Martin, C. R. DeSorbo and W. Hanson. 2011. Environmental Contaminants in Bald Eagle Eggs from New Hampshire and Maine. 67th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, April 17 – 19, Manchester, NH. 2011 (poster)
  • K. G. Wright, J. A. Schmutz, J. Fair, S. E. McCloskey, D. J. Rizzolo, and C. R. DeSorbo. 2010. Cross-continent migration strategies: Linking tundra breeding Yellow-billed Loons (Gavia adamsii) to marine wintering habitats. 1st World Seabird Conference, Victoria, British Columbia. Sept. 7–11. 2010 (poster)
  • C. DeSorbo, C. S. Todd, S. E. Mierzykowski, W. Hanson, and D. C. Evers. 2010. Spatial and habitat-based patterns of mercury exposure in bald eagles in interior Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. 66th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, April 25–27, Newton, MA. 2010 (presentation)
  • C. R. DeSorbo, C. S. Todd, D. C. Evers, S. E. Mierzykowski, W. Hanson W. W. Bowerman C. Romanek R. Taylor. 2006. Evaluating exposure of Maine’s Bald Eagle population to Mercury: assessing impacts on productivity and spatial exposure patterns. 27th Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Quebec, Canada, Nov. 5–9, 2006. (presentation)
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