Patrick Shirey

Assistant Professor


Patrick Shirey
SRCC 205
4107 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


Dr. Patrick Shirey is a Certified Ecologist (Ecological Society of America) and Certified Fisheries Professional (American Fisheries Society). He is a Leonard Peters Faculty Fellow in Sustainability with the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and serves as an Associate Director with the Pittsburgh Water Collaboratory ( Patrick conducts multidisciplinary research using techniques from his terminal degrees in ecology (Ph.D.) and law (J.D.). He has given over 40 scientific presentations (19 invited) and has published an invited comment in Nature and 18 peer-reviewed manuscripts in Conservation Letters, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Ecology and Society, Ecohydrology, Fisheries, the Journal of Paleolimnology, and other journals. His recently published research topics include urban stream restoration, endangered species conservation policy, environmental DNA, and science communication.

Patrick has won national research and policy awards including a George Melendez Wright Climate Change Research Fellowship from the National Park Service and was 1 of 35 early career aquatic scientists selected to participate in an NSF-funded symposium hosted by the University of Hawaiʻi – 2014 Ecological Dissertations in the Aquatic Sciences (Eco-DAS). He has been a recorded radio guest on NPR’s All Things Considered, a live radio guest on WOJB (Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation) to discuss brook trout conservation, and live radio guest answering listener questions on NPR’s Science Friday to discuss the illegal trade of endangered species.


  • Postdoctoral Associate, University of Pittsburgh
  • Ph.D. Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
  • J.D. The Dickinson School of Law at The Pennsylvania State University
  • Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law
  • M.S. Wildlife Science, New Mexico State University
  • B.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Science, The Pennsylvania State University
  • International study experience: University College Cork
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Teaching

As an ecologist that works on policy, I evaluate how society restores ecosystems and recovers imperiled species to seek pragmatic policy solutions grounded in science. My educational background in both ecology (Ph.D.) and law (J.D.) enables me to train students to approach scientific inquiry with a mindset of (1) asking research questions relevant to society and (2) applying the knowledge gained to solve societal problems exacerbated by inefficient laws and policies. My research is strengthened by a transdisciplinary approach that uses ecological data combined with the study of existing laws to identify inefficiencies in resource management and opportunities to inform environmental policy.

Community Outreach
Patrick’s work and service has included research and outreach in urban areas of South Bend, IN and Pittsburgh, PA, and rural areas of Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Through his consulting business, Ecology Policy LLC (, Patrick served the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohicans (Bowler, WI) and worked with the tribe’s hydrologist to write a nonpoint source pollution watershed management plan that secured five years of Clean Water Act funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to improve water quality for their community and increase habitat for brook trout. He has consulted for the civil engineer of Adams Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania to plan for stream restoration to comply with state and federal water quality requirements.

Google Scholar

18. Defilippi Simpson, J., S. Glaser, K. Murchie, and P.D. Shirey. 2021. From "Angling for Ideas in Science Communication" to Hosting a Photo-essay Workshop: Implementing the Winning Idea from Wiley's Impact-a-thon. Fisheries

17. Bosio, S.F., P.D. Shirey, S.A. Entrekin, T.J. Hoellein, A.H. Moerke, E.J. Rosi, J.L. Tank, and G.A. Lamberti. 2021. Dynamics of Large Wood Added to Midwestern, USA, Streams. River Research and Applications 37:843–857.

16. Whelan, G.E., M.D. Day, J. Casselman, L. Gephart, C.J. Hall, J. Lichatowich, M. Matylewich, L. Miranda, L. Roulson, P.D. Shirey, N. Mercado-Silva, J. Waldman, and D. Winters. 2020. Tracking fisheries through time: the American Fisheries Society as a historical lens. Fisheries 45(9):392-426.

15. Shirey, P.D., J.B. Kenny, M.A. Brueseke, and G.A. Lamberti. 2020. Stream habitat provided by large wood at risk under drainage law. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 45:1318-1324.  

14. Colvin, S.A.R., S.M.P. Sullivan, P.D. Shirey, R.W. Colvin, K.O. Winemiller, R.M. Hughes, K.D. Fausch, D.M. Infante, J.D. Olden, K.R. Bestgen, R.J. Danehy, and L. Eby. 2019. Headwater streams and wetlands are critical for sustaining fish, fisheries, and ecosystem services. Fisheries 44(2): 73-91.

13. Shirey, P.D., L.H. Roulson, and T. Bigford. 2018. Imperiled species policy is a critical issue for AFS. Fisheries 43(11): 527-532.

12. Evans, N.T., P.D. Shirey, J.G. Wieringa, A.R. Mahon, and G.A. Lamberti. 2017. Comparative Cost and Effort of Fish Distribution Detection via Environmental DNA Analysis and Electrofishing. Fisheries 42(2): 90-99. 

11. Hundey, E., J. Olker, C. Carreira, R. Daigle, A. Elgin, M. Finniguerra, N. Gownaris, N. Hayes, L. Heffner, M. Maier, R. Razavi, P. Shirey, B. Tolar, and E. Wood-Charlson. 2016. A shifting tide: Recommendations for incorporating science communication into graduate training. Limnology & Oceanography Bulletin 25(4): 109-116.

10. Shirey, P.D., M.A. Brueseke, J.B. Kenny, and G.A. Lamberti. 2016. Long-term fish community response to a reach-scale stream restoration. Ecology and Society 21(3): 11.

9. Olds, B.P., C.L. Jerde, M.A. Renshaw, N.T. Evans, C.R. Turner, A.R. Mahon, M.A. Brueseke, P.D. Shirey, M.E. Pfrender, D.M. Lodge, and G.A. Lamberti. 2016. Estimating species richness using environmental DNA. Ecology and Evolution 6(12): 4214-4226.   

8. Wiederholt, R., A. Trainor, N. Michel, R., P.D. Shirey, R.R. Swaisgood, D. Tallamy, and S.C.C. Patton. 2015. The face of conservation responding to a changing world. Integrative Zoology 10(5): 436-452.

7. Martin, L.J., J.E. Quinn, E.C. Ellis, M.R. Shaw, M.A. Dorning, C.E. Kraft, L. Hallett, N. Heller, R. Hobbs, E. Law, N. Michel, M. Perring, P.D. Shirey, and R. Wiederholt. 2014. Conservation opportunities across the world’s anthromes. Diversity and Distributions 20: 745-755. 

6. Shirey, P.D., B.N. Kunycky, D.T. Chaloner, M.A. Brueseke, and G.A. Lamberti. 2013. Commercial trade of federally listed threatened and endangered plants in the United States. Conservation Letters 6(5): 300-316.

5. Medley, C.N., and P.D. Shirey. 2013. Review and reinterpretation of Rio Grande silvery minnow reproductive ecology using egg biology, life history, hydrology and geomorphology information. Ecohydrology 6(3): 491-505.

4. Shirey, P.D., and G.A. Lamberti. 2010. Assisted colonization under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Conservation Letters 3(1): 45-52.

3. Cowley, D.E., J.C. Alleman, R. Sallenave, R.R. McShane, and P.D. Shirey. 2009. Effects of salinity on specific gravity and viability of eggs of a North American minnow (Cyprinidae). Scientia Marina 73(S1): 43-58.

2. Shirey, P.D., D.E. Cowley, and R. Sallenave. 2008. Diatoms from gut contents of museum specimens of an endangered minnow suggest long-term ecological changes in the Rio Grande (US). Journal of Paleolimnology 40(1): 263-272.

1. Cowley, D.E., P.D. Shirey, and M.D. Hatch. 2006. Ecology of the Rio Grande silvery minnow (Cyprinidae: Hybognathus amarus) inferred from specimens collected in 1874.  Reviews in Fisheries Science 14: 111-125.

Urban Ecology and Sustainable Food Systems (Provost Academy)

Environmental Law and Policy

Environmental Justice

Current Issues in Sustainability