Tom Auer

Geospatial Data Science Team Lead


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

I help lead the production efforts for eBird Status and Trends and the development of geovisualizations of these products for public engagement, 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

Fink, D., A. Johnston, M. Strimas‐Mackey, T. Auer, W. M. Hochachka, S. Ligocki, L. Oldham Jaromczyk, O. Robinson, C. Wood, S. Kelling, and A. D. Rodewald (2023). A Double machine learning trend model for citizen science data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 14:2435–2448.
Robinson, O. J., J. B. Socolar, E. F. Stuber, T. Auer, A. J. Berryman, P. H. Boersch-Supan, D. J. Brightsmith, A. H. Burbidge, S. H. M. Butchart, C. L. Davis, A. M. Dokter, et al. (2022). Extreme uncertainty and unquantifiable bias do not inform population sizes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119:e2113862119.
La Sorte, F. A., A. Johnston, A. D. Rodewald, D. Fink, A. Farnsworth, B. M. Van Doren, T. Auer, and M. Strimas‐Mackey (2022). The role of artificial light at night and road density in predicting the seasonal occurrence of nocturnally migrating birds. Diversity and Distributions 28:992–1009.
La Sorte, F. A., K. G. Horton, A. Johnston, D. Fink, and T. Auer (2022). Seasonal associations with light pollution trends for nocturnally migrating bird populations. Ecosphere 13:e3994.
Ng, W. H., D. Fink, F. A. La Sorte, T. Auer, W. M. Hochachka, A. Johnston, and A. M. Dokter (2022). Continental‐scale biomass redistribution by migratory birds in response to seasonal variation in productivity. Global Ecology and Biogeography 31:727–739.
Johnston, A., W. M. Hochachka, M. E. Strimas-Mackey, V. Ruiz Gutierrez, O. J. Robinson, E. T. Miller, T. Auer, S. T. Kelling, and D. Fink (2021). Analytical guidelines to increase the value of community science data: An example using eBird data to estimate species distributions. Diversity and Distributions 27:1265–1277.
Schuetz, J. G., M. Strimas‐Mackey, and T. Auer (2020). colorist: An R package for colouring wildlife distributions in space–time. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11:1476–1482.
Fink, D., T. Auer, A. Johnston, V. Ruiz‐Gutierrez, W. M. Hochachka, and S. Kelling (2020). Modeling avian full annual cycle distribution and population trends with citizen science data. Ecological Applications 30:e02056.
Johnston, A., T. Auer, D. Fink, M. Strimas‐Mackey, M. Iliff, K. V. Rosenberg, S. Brown, R. Lanctot, A. D. Rodewald, and S. Kelling (2020). Comparing abundance distributions and range maps in spatial conservation planning for migratory species. Ecological Applications 30:e02058.
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 Joseph. 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.
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.
Tom Auer
Center Avian Population Studies
Projects eBird

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Golden-cheeked Warbler by Bryan Calk/Macaulay Library