Tara Cornelisse

Adjunct Professor

PhD - Environmental Studies, University of California Santa Cruz
MS - Conservation Biology, San Francisco State University
BA - Biology with specialization in Ecology and Conservation, Boston University

cornelit@canisius.edu 2770 Office: HS 201

Dr. Cornelisse's teaching and research center on reconciling species habitat and behavioral requirements with human activities in places where people live, work, and play. In particular, she examines insect habitat selection and use in the greater Buffalo, NY area with the goal of habitat creation for conservation. Currently, she works on a Monarch butterfly habitat project along a rural-urban gradient in Western New York. She is also interested in the social connections between environmental knowledge and human behaviors towards insect conservation and currently running a project in Buffalo city and suburban elementary schools. Finally, she is interested in the impact recreation has on trail-dwelling insects, particularly tiger beetles, and have extensively studied the impact of recreation on the endangered Ohlone tiger beetle. Dr. Cornelisse received her BA in Biology with specialization in Ecology and Conservation from Boston University, MS in Conservation Biology from San Francisco State University, and PhD in Environmental Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. After receiving her PhD, she was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Brooklyn College and a postdoctoral scholar with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History.


  • 2017 Dean’s Summer Grant, Canisius College ($2500)
  • 2012-2013 Eugene Cota Robles Diversity Fellowship, UC Santa Cruz ($21,000)
  • 2011-2012 NSF GK-12 Graduate Fellowship ($30,000)
  • 2011-2012 Robert and Patricia Switzer Environmental Leadership Fellowship ($15,000)


Tershy B., Harrison S., Borker A., Sinervo B., Cornelisse T., Li C., Spatz D., Croll D., and E. Zavaleta. 2016. Biodiversity. In H. Mooney and E. Zavaleta (Eds). Ecosystems of California (pp. 187-212) University of California Press, Oakland, CA

Jedlicka J.A., Letourneau D.K., and T.M. Cornelisse. 2014. Establishing songbird nest boxes increased avian insectivores and reduced herbivorous arthropods in a Californian vineyard. Conservation Evidence 11: 34-38

Cornelisse, T.M. 2013. Conserving extirpated sites: using habitat quality to manage unoccupied patches for metapopulation persistence. Biodiversity and Conservation 22(13): 3171-3184

Cornelisse, T.M. and T.P. Duane. 2013. Effects of knowledge of an endangered species on recreationists' attitudes and stated behaviors and the significance of management compliance for Ohlone Tiger Beetle conservation. Conservation Biology 27(6): 1449-1457

Cornelisse, T.M., Vasey, M.C., Holl, K.D., and D.K. Letourneau. 2013. Artificial bare patches increase habitat for the endangered Ohlone tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone). Journal of Insect Conservation 17(1): 17-22