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Brad McRae

Brad McRae

Senior Landscape Ecologist

Brad McRae is a senior landscape ecologist for The Nature Conservancy’s North America Region. He provides science support for large landscape-scale conservation projects, and conducts research on climate change adaptation, wildlife corridors, restoration planning, and conservation genetics. Brad pioneered the use of circuit theory to model connectivity and gene flow across fragmented landscapes, garnering coverage in media outlets like Wired Magazine and Conservation Magazine. He leads development of Circuitscape and Linkage Mapper, two software packages that help conservation planners around the world design wildlife corridors and healthy landscapes.

Brad received his Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University and his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds an affiliate assistant professor position at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. He studied mountain lion populations for his Ph.D. before doing postdoc stints at the US EPA in Corvallis, Oregon, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barbara. Brad lives in Fort Collins with his wife and two kids, where they enjoy hiking, skiing, canoeing, and biking.

Brad in the News

Species On the Move: Mapping Barriers for Wildlife in a Warming World



Belote, R.T., Dietz, M.S., McRae, B.H., Theobald, D.M., McClure, M.L., Irwin, G.H., McKinley, P.S., Gage, J.A. & Aplet, G.H. (2016). Identifying Corridors among Large Protected Areas in the United States. PLoS ONE, 11, e0154223.

McGuire, J.L., Lawler, J.J., McRae, B.H., Nuñez, T. & Theobald, D.M. (2016). Achieving climate connectivity in a fragmented landscape. PNAS, 113, 7195-7200.


Dutta, T., Sharma, S., McRae, B.H., Roy, P.S. & DeFries, R. (2015). Connecting the dots: connectivity mapping for tigers in central India. Regional Environmental Change. doi:10.1007/s10113-015-0877-z

Krosby, M., Breckheimer, I., Pierce, D.J., Singleton, P.H., Hall, S.A., Halupka, K.C., Gaines, W.L., Long, R.A., McRae, B.H., Cosentino, B.L. & Schuett-Hames, J.P. (2015). Focal species and landscape “naturalness” corridor models offer complementary approaches for connectivity conservation planning. Landscape Ecology, 30, 2121-2132.

Nogeire, T., Boydston, E., Crooks, K., McRae, B.H., Lyren, L. & Davis, F..(2015). Can orchards help connect Mediterranean ecosystems? Animal movement data alter conservation priorities. American Midland Naturalist, 174,105-116.

Parks, L.C., Wallin, D.O., Cushman, S.A. & McRae, B.H. (2015). Landscape-level analysis of mountain goat population connectivity in Washington and southern British Columbia. Conservation Genetics, 16, 1195-1207.


Torrubia, S., McRae, B.H., Lawler, J.J., Hall, S.A., Halabisky, M., Langdon, J. & Case, M. (2014). Getting the most connectivity per conservation dollar. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12, 491–497.


Dickson, B.G., Roemer, G.W., McRae, B.H. & Rundall, J.M. (2013). Models of regional habitat quality and connectivity for pumas (Puma concolor) in the southwestern United States. PLoS ONE, 8, e81898.

Lawler, J.J., Ruesch, A.S., Olden, J.D. & McRae, B.H. (2013). Projected climate-driven faunal movement routes. Ecology Letters, 16, 1014–1022.

Nuñez, T., Lawler, J.J., McRae, B.H., Pierce, D.J., Krosby, M.R., Kavanagh, D.M., Singleton, P.H. & Tewksbury, J.J. (2013). Connectivity planning to facilitate species movements in response to climate change. Conservation Biology, 27, 407–416.


McRae, B.H., Hall, S.A., Beier, P. & Theobald, D.M. (2012). Where to restore ecological connectivity? Detecting barriers and quantifying restoration benefits. PLoS ONE, 7, e52604.

Schloss, C.A., Lawler, J.J., Larson, E.R., Papendick, H.L., Case, M.J., Evans, D.M., DeLap, J.H., Langdon, J.G.R., Hall, S.A. & McRae, B.H. (2012). Systematic conservation planning in the face of climate change: bet-hedging on the Columbia Plateau. PLoS ONE, 6, e28788.


Beier, P., Spencer, W.D., Baldwin, R. & McRae, B. (2011). Towards best practices for developing regional connectivity maps. Conservation Biology, 25, 879-892.

Carroll, C., McRae, B.H. & Brookes, A. (2011). Use of linkage mapping and centrality analysis across habitat gradients to conserve connectivity of gray wolf populations in western North America. Conservation Biology, 26, 1523-1739.

Software: McRae, B.H. & Kavanagh, D.M. (2011). Linkage Mapper Connectivity Analysis Toolbox, 2011.


Spear, S.F., Balkenhol, N., Fortin, M.-J., McRae, B.H. & Scribner, K. (2010). Use of resistance surfaces for landscape genetic studies: considerations of parameterization and analysis. Molecular Ecology, 19, 3576-3591.


McRae, B.H., Dickson, B.G., Keitt, T.H. & Shah, V.B. (2008). Using circuit theory to model connectivity in ecology, evolution, and conservation. Ecology, 10, 2712-2724.

McRae, B.H.
, Schumaker, N.H., McKane, R.B., Busing, R.T., Solomon, A.M. & Burdick, C.A. (2008). A multi-model framework for simulating wildlife population response to land-use and climate change. Ecological Modelling, 19, 77-91.


McRae, B.H. & Beier, P. (2007). Circuit theory predicts gene flow in plant and animal populations. PNAS, 104, 19885-19890.


McRae, B.H. (2006). Isolation by resistance. Evolution, 60, 1551-1561.


McRae, B.H., Beier, P., Huynh, L.Y., DeWald, L.E. & Keim, P. (2005). Habitat barriers limit gene flow and illuminate historical events in a wide ranging carnivore, the American puma. Molecular Ecology, 14, 1965-1977.

Brad McRae

Senior Landscape Ecologist


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