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John Fitzpatrick

Professor; Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

photo of John Fitzpatrick

Johnson Ctr Birds&Biodiversity
E145 Corson Hall

Educational Background

Ph.D. in Biology, Princeton University (1978)

M.A. in Biology, Harvard University (1974)



I am an ornithologist with expertise in avian behavior, ecology, biogeography, and conservation biology. Since 1995 I’ve been Director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, a world renowned institute for research, education, and conservation of birds, and for communication about science and conservation to the general public. The Lab is a global pioneer in "citizen science" projects that now engage hundreds of thousands of public citizens in research on bird distribution, movements, and population trends. My current research centers on ecology, social behavior, and conservation genetics of the endangered Florida Scrub-Jay, including engagement in a comprehensive, nearly 50-year-long study of a color-banded population at the Archbold Biological Station, where I was Executive Director before coming to Cornell. My teaching background includes BioEE 2670: Introduction to Conservation Biology and other ornithology courses at Cornell.


Avian ecology, citizen science, conservation biology, conservation genetics, endangered species, ornithology, population biology


  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


My main area of research has been on conservation and management of endangered species. I use 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. I also work with experts in population genetics and genomics to study the genetic underpinnings of fitness and the genomic consequences of population decline. Our 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.



  • Townsend, A. K., R. Bowman, J. W. Fitzpatrick, M. Dent, and I. J. Lovette. 2011. Genetic monogamy across variable demographic landscapes in cooperatively breeding Florida scrub-jays.  Behavioral Ecology 22:464-470.
  • Davison, M. A. and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 2010. Role of human-modified habitat in protecting specialist species: A case study in the threatened Florida Scrub-Jay.  Biological Conservation 143:2815-2822.
  • Coulon, A., J. W. Fitzpatrick, R. Bowman, and I. J. Lovette. 2010. Effective dispersal decreases with increased habitat fragmentation in the Florida Scrub-Jay.  Conservation Biology 24:1080-1088.
  • Fitzpatrick, J. W. 2010. Subspecies are for convenience.  Ornithol. Monogr. 67:54-61.
  • Coulon, A., J. W. Fitzpatrick, R. Bowman, B. M. Stith, C. A. Makarewich, L. M. Stenzler, and I. J. Lovette. 2008. Congruent population structure inferred from dispersal behaviour and intensive genetic surveys of the threatened Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens).  Molecular Ecology 17:1685-1701.
  • Walker, B., D. F. Stotz, T. Pequeno, and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 2006. Birds of the Manu Biosphere Reserve.  In: Mammals and Birds of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru. Patterson, B. D., D. F. Stotz, and S. Solari (eds.). Pp. 23-49.  Fieldiana: Zoology, New Series, No. 110.
  • Fox, G. A., B. E. Kendall, J. W. Fitzpatrick, and G. E. Woolfenden. 2006. Consequences of heterogeneity in survival probability in a population of Florida Scrub-Jays.  Journal of Animal Ecology 75:921-927.
  • Fitzpatrick, J. W., M. Lammertink, M. D. Luneau, Jr., T. W. Gallagher, B. R. Harrison, G. M. Sparling, K. V. Rosenberg, R. W. Rohrbaugh, E. C. H. Swarthout, P. H. Remsen, Jr., S. D. Sion, and D. Zollner. 2005. Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) persists in continental North America.  Science 308:1460-1462.