Dr. Walter Piper

Dr. Walter Piper

Schmid College of Science and Technology; Biological Sciences
Expertise: Territorial Behavior; Habitat Selection; Aggression; Common Loon; Conservation; Ecology;
Office Location: Hashinger Science Center 312
Phone: (714) 997-6907
Harvard University, Bachelor of Arts
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ph.D.



  • BIOL 205 Evolution and Diversity of Multicellular Organisms
  • BIOL 333 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 338 Ornithology


  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ph.D. in Biology
  • Harvard University, B.A. in Biology

Research Interests

  • impact of site-familiarity on use of space
  • territory defense and acquisition
  • impact of old age on behavior
  • natal habitat imprinting
  • longitudinal study of the common loon


  • National Science Foundation
  • National Geographic Society
  • Disney Conservation Fund

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Piper, W. H., Brunk, K. M., Flory, J. A. and Meyer, M. W. (2017), The long shadow of senescence: age impacts survival and territory defense in loons. J Avian Biol, 48: 1062–1070. doi:10.1111/jav.01393
Spool, J. A., Riters, L. V. and Piper, W. H. (2017), Investment in territorial defence relates to recent reproductive success in common loons (Gavia immer). J Avian Biol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/jav.01389
Jukkula, G. and Piper, W. H. 2015. Common loon parents defend chicks according to both value and vulnerability. Journal of Avian Biology.
Piper, W. H., Mager, J. N., Walcott, C., Furey, L. Banfield, N, Reinke, A., Spilker, F. & J. A. Flory. 2015. Territory settlement in common loons: no footholds but age and assessment are important. Animal Behavior.
Piper, W., Mager, J. and Walcott, C. 2013 Marking loons. In: Exploring Animal Behavior, 6th edition. Sherman, P. W. and Alcock, J., eds. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, Massachusetts. USA.
Piper, W. H., Palmer, M. W., Banfield, N., Meyer, M. W. 2013. Can settlement in natal-like habitat explain maladaptive habitat selection? Proc. Royal Soc. B.
Piper, W. H. Grear, J. S. and Meyer, M. W. 2012. Juvenile survival in common loons: Effects of natal lake size and pH. J. Avian Biol. 43: 280-288.
Piper, W. H., J. N. Mager, & C. Walcott. 2011. Marking loons, making progress. American Scientist 99: 220-227.
Piper, W. 2011. Making habitat selection more “familiar”: a review. Behavioral Ecol. Sociobiol. 65:1329-1351.
Mager, J. N., Walcott, C. and Piper, W. H. 2010. Common loons (Gavia immer) can differentiate between yodels of territorial neighbors and non-neighbors. J. Field Ornithol., 81: 392-401.
Piper, W. H. 2010/2011. Troubled Waters: Loons’ territorial fights are no laughing matter. Natural History, 119: 22-26.
Grear, J. S., Meyer, M. W., Cooley Jr., J. H., Kuhn, A., Piper, W. H., Mitro, M. G., Vogel, H. S., Taylor, K. M., Kenow, K. P., Craig, S. M., Nacci, D. E. 2009. Population Growth and Demography of Common Loons in the Northern United States. Journal of Wildlife Management 73: 1108-1115.