Tom Auer

GIS Developer


Geographic Information Science • Geovisualization • Statistical Programming • Cloud Computing • Workflow Architecture

I work on helping to transform all the amazing eBird data we collect into useful products for science and conservation. The results of this work can be seen at eBird Science. I love being able to go from birder to computer scientist to conservation advocate all in one job, because I think that eBird has the power to become the key tool for describing the status and trends of the world’s birds.


M.S., Geography, Penn State University
B.S., Biology, University of Minnesota-Duluth

Spark Moment

My spark birding was a winter tour near Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, where we had Gyrfalcon, Snowy Owl, and Harlequin Duck, among other great birds. It was hard not to be hooked after all those awesome winter gems.

Recent Publications

Johnston, A., W. Hochachka, M. Strimas-Mackey, V. R. Gutierrez, O. Robinson, E. Miller, T. Auer, S. Kelling, and D. Fink (2019). Best practices for making reliable inferences from citizen science data: Case study using eBird to estimate species distributions. bioRxiv.
Schuster, R., S. Wilson, A. D. Rodewald, P. Arcese, D. Fink, T. Auer, and J. R. Bennett (2019). Optimizing the conservation of migratory species over their full annual cycle. Nature Communications 10:1754.
Johnston, A., T. Auer, D. Ardia, M. E. Strimas-Mackey, M. J. Iliff, K. V. Rosenberg, S. Brown, R. Lanctot, A. D. Rodewald, and S. Kelling (2019). [In Press] Performance of abundance distributions and range maps in spatial conservation planning for migratory species. Ecological Applications.
Fink, D., T. Auer, A. Johnston, V. Ruiz-Gutierrez, W. M. Hochachka, and S. Kelling (2019). Modeling avian full annual cycle distribution and population trends with citizen-science data. bioRxiv:251868.
Cherel, N., J. Reesman, A. Sahuguet, T. Auer, and D. Fink (2017). "Birds in the Clouds": Adventures in Data Engineering. arXiv:1710.08521 [cs].
Auer, T., C. U. Soykan, C. B. Wilsey, N. L. Michel, C. M. Jensen, G. M. Langham, G. Lebaron, C. C. Sanchez, and J. Takekawa (2017). Climate-based prioritization of data collection for monitoring wintering birds in Latin America. Bird Conservation International:1–13.

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Red-winged Blackbird photo by Ron Riley/Macaulay Library