Bennett Grooms

Bennett Grooms



Assistant Professor
Department of Biology & Earth Science

Dr. Grooms is broadly trained as a zoologist and wildlife biologist, whose interests range from conservation social science, animal behavior, science communication, and pedagogy. He uses mixed methods approaches, intensive collaborations, and interdisciplinary work to improve future conservation efforts for birds, insects, and other taxa, explore how human and animal behavior impact conservation, and to develop effective strategies to engage and communicate with the public about wildlife.  

Dr. Grooms joined the Zoo and Conservation Science Program in 2022 after earning his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech, where his research explored how to work with and engage wildlife recreationists (e.g., birders, wildlife viewers, etc.) in conservation. As a new faculty member, he is busy developing an active research agenda focused on exploring the interfaces of human and animal behavior, improving ex-situ and in-situ conservation efforts, and building effective and creative strategies for science communication and pedagogy. He teaches courses in Animal Behavior, Introduction to Zoo and Conservation Science, Animal Welfare and Operant Conditioning, Zoo Management and Conservation Engagement, and Conservation Biology. 

Outside of his teaching and research, Dr. Grooms is an avid outdoorsman, and enjoys spending his free time outside hiking, searching for birds, insects, and plants, gardening, and running.  


  • Ph.D. in Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, 2021
  • M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Arkansas Tech University, 2016
  • B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Science, University of Missouri, 2014
  • Research, Creative, & Professional Work

  • Zoo conservation and management
  • Wildlife conservation and engagement
  • Animal behavior
  • Conservation social science
  • Science communication
  • Pedagogy
  • Community science
  • Publications

  • Grooms., B., Dayer, A.A., Barnes, J.C., Cole., N., Rutter, J., & Peele, A. (2023). Exploring the relevance of the multidimensionality of wildlife recreationists to conservation behaviors: A case study in Virginia. Conservation Science and Practice, e12915.
  • Grooms, B., Dayer, A. A., Stern, M. J., Barnes, J., & Rutter, J. D. (2022). The Relationship between Wildlife Recreationists' Familiarity with State Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Recreation Identity, and Future Financial Contributions. North American Journal of Fisheries Management.
  • Grooms, B. P., & Urbanek, R. E. (2017). Local Scale Comparisons of Avian and Woody Vegetation Communities within Four Arkansas State Parks. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science, 71(1), 123-130.
  • Keith, R. D., Grooms, B. P., & Urbanek, R. E. (2016). Impacts of Man-Made Structures on Avian Community Metrics in 4 State Parks in Northwestern Arkansas. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science, 70(1), 109-117.
  • Grooms, B. P., & Urbanek, R. E. (2018). Exploring the effects of non-consumptive recreation, trail use, and environmental factors on state park avian biodiversity. Journal of environmental management, 227, 55-61.
  • Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. (2021). Virginia Wildlife Viewing Plan, 2021–2031.
  • Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources: Richmond, Virginia, USA. .
  • Grooms, B, P., Rutter, J., Barnes, J., Peele, A., & Dayer, A. A. (2020). Supporting Wildlife Recreationists in Virginia: Survey Report to Inform the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ Wildlife Viewing Plan. Virginia Tech.
  • Grooms, B, P., Dayer, A. A., and Peele, A. (2019). Wildlife recreationists in Virginia: Focus group results. Virginia Tech.
  • Affiliations & Awards

  • Senator, Otterbein University Faculty Senate
  • Professional Associate, Associate of Zoos and Aquaria
  • Fellow, Society of Conservation Biology
  • Fellow, Animal Behavior Society
  • Member, Ohio Academy of Science
  • Member and Certified Associate Wildlife Biologist, The Wildlife Society