Who We Are

Who We Are

David S. Johnston, Ph.D. (Adjunct Associate Ecologist)

David S. Johnston, Ph.D. (Adjunct Associate Ecologist)

Wildlife Ecology
San Francisco Bay Area

Dave Johnston is a renowned wildlife ecologist and authority on bats and other small mammals of the western United States and Hawaii. He has conducted bat research and led bat-related projects for more than 30 years. In addition to bats, Dave has worked with numerous special-status species including the California red-legged frog, salt marsh harvest mouse, Ridgway’s rail, western snowy plover, south-central California coast steelhead evolutionarily significant unit (ESU), and central California coast steelhead ESU.  

Dave holds permits from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, and invertebrates and permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for the salt marsh harvest mouse, Ridgway’s rail, and the Hawaiian hoary bat. He also holds a CDFW memorandum of understanding to handle and collect salt marsh harvest mouse and special-status species of bats. 

Dave’s work includes:

  • Evaluating habitat, assessing potential impacts, and proposing mitigation for bats and dozens of species in California, Hawai’i, Southwestern states and abroad.
  • Studying long-term post-construction impacts on birds and bats at solar and wind energy facilities, and modeling fatalities.

Examples of Dave’s hundreds of projects include:

  • wetland restoration for the federally-listed endangered Hawaiian hoary bat;
  • leading workshops on bat ecology, management, and surveying methods for professionals through the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and The Wildlife Society and for the public through the California Academy of Sciences;
  • serving as the senior author of California Bat Mitigation Guidelines for the California Department of Transportation and a contributing author to CDFW’s California Mammal Species of Special Concern; and
  • conducting large-scale bat acoustic surveys using zero-crossing technology and full-spectrum recording equipment for bats and birds

Dave received a Ph.D. in biology from York University; an M.A. in biological sciences from San José State University; and a B.S. in biology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Dave is an adjunct professor at San José State University and a board member of the North American Society for Bat Research. He frequently speaks at professional bat research meetings and has been featured in public television productions of Nature and Quest.

Highlighted Publications:

Johnston, D. S., J. A. Howell, S. B. Terrill, N. Thorngate, J. Castle, J. P. Smith, T. J. Mabee, J. H. Plissner, N. A. Schwab, P. M. Sanzenbacher, and C. M. Grinnell. 2013. Bird and bat movement patterns and mortality at the Montezuma Hills Wind Resource Area. Final project report. California Energy Commission, Public Interest Energy Research Program, Sacramento, California. CEC-500-2013-015. [online]: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2013publications/CEC-500-2013-015/CEC-500-2013-015.pdf.

Johnston, D.  2007. Bats and the San Francisco Bay. Tideline 28(4):1–4.  

Johnston, D. S. 2005. Recreating battered bat roosts: planning and perseverance pay off at a California bridge. Bats 23(2):1-4.

Johnston, D., G. Tatarian, and E. Pierson. 2004. California bat mitigation techniques, solutions, and effectiveness. (H. T. Harvey & Associates Project No. 2394-01.) Prepared for California Department of Transportation. California State University Foundation Contract No.507451A. [online]: https://nrmsecure.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?​DocumentVersionID=19685.

Johnston, D.  2002. Data collection protocol: Yuma bat (Myotis yumanensis). Pages 1–7 in Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program Plan 2002, Part 2: Data Collection Protocols. Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program Steering Committee.

Johnston, D. S., and M. B. Fenton. 2001. Individual and population-level variability in diets of pallid bats (Antrozous pallidus). Journal of Mammalogy 82(2):362–373.