John W. Fitzpatrick

Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Dr. John W. Fitzpatrick is director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. He was executive director of the Archbold Biological Station in central Florida during 1988–1995, and before that served for 12 years as curator of birds and chairman of the Department of Zoology at the Field Museum in Chicago. His research focuses on the ecology, conservation biology, and genetics of the endangered Florida Scrub-Jay, which he has studied for nearly 50 years. He is a fellow and past president of the American Ornithological Society. In 1985 he received its highest research award for his book Florida Scrub-Jay: Ecology and Demography of a Cooperative Breeding Bird. He has served on national governing boards of The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society, on three Endangered Species Recovery Teams, and on numerous scientific and conservation panels. He has authored more than 150 scientific papers, discovered and described seven bird species, and is co-inventor of eBird, one of the world’s largest and most rapidly growing citizen-science projects.

Dr. Fitzpatrick received his Ph.D. in Biology from Princeton University (1978) and M.A. in Biology from Harvard University (1974).


Dr. Fitzpatrick’s main area of research has been on conservation and management of endangered species. He uses detailed field studies of population biology, fire ecology, and spatially explicit modelling to understand the demography and population viability of the endangered Florida Scrub-Jay under alternative management scenarios. He also works with experts in population genetics and genomics to study the genetic underpinnings of fitness and the genomic consequences of population decline. Their studies are playing a key role in long-term conservation planning for natural areas in Florida, which are under severe threat from rapid human population growth and residential and commercial development statewide.

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