Dr. Mark Cook is an English born avian ecologist and restoration scientist who has studied bird behavior and conservation ecology for over 25 years. Mark’s science and photography has taken him to many remote corners of the globe. Prior to moving to South Florida in 2004, Mark’s research focused on the evolution of bird breeding behavior and how it relates to environmental conditions. This involved studying species as diverse as neotropical songbirds in the rainforests of Puerto Rico, songbirds in Spain, parakeets in the Llanos of Venezuela, seabirds (guillemots and puffins) on uninhabited islands off Scotland and northern California, and general conservation work in Tanzania, Africa. For the past 16 years his work has focused on the restoration and management of wetland animals in the Everglades and Florida Bay. His research involves understanding how animal populations respond to wetland hydrologic conditions and nutrient levels, as well as the potential impacts of non-native species. The goal for much of this research is to help restore, conserve and manage wading birds (herons, egrets, storks and ibises) and other animal populations in the Everglades. His science is published in dozens of peer reviewed scientific publications, professional reports, and book chapters.
As his career developed, Mark began to see the critical importance of photography in his work. What initially started as documentary evidence to support his scientific work soon blossomed into an artistic passion to highlight the wonder and the beauty of the swamp. With his unique understanding of animals and their behaviors, as well as his access to some wildest corners of South Florida, Mark hopes to use his photography to educate and inspire a much greater appreciation of our local natural heritage with the ultimate goal of effecting its conservation.
In his spare time Mark likes to explore the wilder areas of Florida and Panama with his two daughters, and where he also volunteers as a birding, ecological and photography instructor.