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Dan Herrera

I am an early-career urban ecologist studying wildlife in cities at George Mason University. In addition to research, I also work as a science communicator and illustrator by making infographics, museum displays, project logos, and project handouts.

Research Interests


While many ecosystems are shrinking, there is one ecosystem that is rapidly growing and shows no sign of stopping - urban ecosystems. Cities may look devoid of nature, but in reality a host of plants, animals, and fungi inhabit urban areas. Despite cities existing for roughly 10,000 years, we have surprisingly little knowledge of urban ecology. By studying these systems, we can plan better cities going forward that foster biodiversity and minimize risks for humans and wildlife alike. 

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Animals move across landscapes. All movement takes time, and some movements (e.g. migration, dispersal, etc.) only occur at a specific time.  By studying how animals interact with space and time, we can better understand drivers of animal behaviors and natural phenomenon, and predict what they will look like in the future. 

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Science can be exhilarating, but many non-scientists have trouble understanding it. I use graphic illustrations, compelling maps, and still photography to help communicate scientific findings to people without a strong background in the subject area. Please reach out for a consultation if you wish to collaborate or need a commission. 

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A note on my location




There is (rightful) critique of scientists who study systems in which they themselves do not live. I understand these critiques, and agree with them in many ways - which puts me in an uncomfortable situation. I lived in Washington, D.C., for two years while conducting much of my fieldwork and fell in love with the city. However, due to Virginia state law and financial pressures, I had to move to Fairfax, a suburb of D.C. Virginia does not have an in-state tuition reciprocal agreement with its northern neighbor whose residents do not have a state in which to claim in-state tuition. As a result, despite living only minutes from Virginia, D.C. residents are charged out-of-state tuition in Virginia even if granted a tuition waiver. If this bothers you as much as it bothers me, contact Senator Chap Petersen (info@fairfaxsenator.com) to encourage him to change Virginia Code § 23.1-506 on behalf of DC citizens.

Research Affiliations

present and past
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