Elizabeth Craig

Director of Seabird Research, Shoals Marine Laboratory
Affiliate Faculty, Department of Biological Sciences
Academic Coordinator, Shoals Marine Laboratory
Phone: (603) 862-3278
Office: UNH Marine Sciences and Ocean Engineering, Morse Hall, Durham, NH 03824
Color photo of employee.

Dr. Craig directs the Isles of Shoals Seabird Ecology and Conservation Program, promoting the conservation of aquatic birds in the Gulf of Maine through student-driven research, monitoring, and management. As top predators, seabirds are sentinels of marine ecosystem function and ocean health. They are threatened by environmental contamination, coastal habitat destruction, overharvesting of resources, and climate change. Our team applies insights from seabird ecology to identify conservation challenges and guide management action in the context of a changing ocean.


  • Ph.D., Zoology and Wildlife Conservation, Cornell University
  • B.A., Columbia University

Research Interests

  • Migratory Animals and Birds
  • Ecology
  • Marine Biology
  • Ornithology
  • Wildlife & Habitat Management/Conservation
  • Fish and Fisheries
  • Birds - Habitat
  • Telemetry
  • Climate Change - Impacts
  • Toxic Substances--Environmental
  • Fieldwork
  • Endangered Species

Selected Publications

Legett, H. D., Lucas, J. R., Craig, E. C., & Staudinger, M. D. (2023). Variation in isotopic niche partitioning between adult roseate and common terns in the Northwest Atlantic. Endangered Species Research, 50, 235-247. doi:10.3354/esr01233

Smith, O., & Craig, E. (n.d.). Effects of Atlantic butterfish ( Peprilus triacanthus ) in diets of Common Terns ( Sterna hirundo ): a case study of climate change effects in the Gulf of Maine. Avian Conservation and Ecology, 18(2). doi:10.5751/ace-02440-180201

Craig, E. C., Moore, G. E., & Seavey, J. R. (2022). Hypersaline spray increases habitat heterogeneity and nesting density in an island-nesting seabird. WILDLIFE SOCIETY BULLETIN, 46(3). doi:10.1002/wsb.1301

Caldwell, A., Brander, S., Wiedenmann, J., Clucas, G., & Craig, E. (2022). Incidence of microplastic fiber ingestion by Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) and Roseate Terns (S. dougallii) breeding in the Northwestern Atlantic. MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN, 177. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.113560

Caldwell, A., Seavey, J., & Craig, E. (2020). Foraging strategy impacts plastic ingestion risk in seabirds. LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY LETTERS, 5(1), 163-168. doi:10.1002/lol2.10126

Bracey, A., Lisovski, S., Moore, D., McKellar, A., Craig, E., Matteson, S., . . . Cuthbert, F. (2018). Migratory routes and wintering locations of declining inland North American Common Terns. The Auk, 135(3), 385-399. doi:10.1642/auk-17-210.1

Craig, E. C., King, D. T., Sparks, J. P., & Curtis, P. D. (2016). Aquaculture depredation by double‐crested cormorants breeding in Eastern North America. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 80(1), 57-62. doi:10.1002/jwmg.989

Craig, E. C., Elbin, S. B., Sparks, J. P., & Curtis, P. D. (2015). Identifying Important Foraging Habitat for Colonial Waterbirds in an Urban Estuary: a Stable Isotope Approach. Waterbirds, 38(4), 330-338. doi:10.1675/063.038.0410

Craig, E. C., Dorr, B. S., Hanson-Dorr, K. C., Sparks, J. P., & Curtis, P. D. (2015). Isotopic Discrimination in the Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus).. PLoS One, 10(10), e0140946. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140946

Craig, E. C., Elbin, S. B., Danoff-Burg, J. A., & Palmer, M. I. (2012). Impacts of Double-Crested Cormorants (<i>Phalacrocorax auritus</i>) and Other Colonial Waterbirds on Plant and Arthropod Communities on Islands in an Urban Estuary. Waterbirds, 35(sp1), 4-12. doi:10.1675/063.035.sp102