Director, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
Pete Marra is a conservation scientist at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. He studies the ecology, migratory patterns and decline of birds across the Western Hemisphere. Pete also heads the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC).
He first knew that he wanted to study birds and wildlife at 6 years old after an up-close-and-personal experience with a black-capped chickadee. He has studied birds and their habitats in Central and South America and the Caribbean for more than 25 years.
In Jamaica, Pete’s extensive study of the ecology of migratory birds, urban ecosystem ecology, and disease ecology lead to an ongoing dialogue with Jamaican government ministers, ambassadors and the business community about ways to rethink tourism to minimize its impact on the local environment.
Along with his Smithsonian research, Pete is the founder of several large research and communications programs, including Neighborhood Nestwatch, The Migratory Connectivity Project, and the Animal Mortality and Monitoring Program.
Pete earned an MS from Louisiana State University in 1989, a PhD from Dartmouth College in 1998 and has been a conservation scientist at the Smithsonian Conservation and Biology Institute since 1999.