John Weaver Fitzpatrick

Professor Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director Emeritus, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology


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.

Research Focus

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.


  • Reynolds, M. D. et al. 2017. Dynamic conservation for migratory species. Science Advances 3:e1700707.
  • Aguillon, S. M. et al. 2017. Deconstructing isolation-by-distance: The genomic consequences of limited dispersal. PLOS Genetics 13: e1006911.
  • Chen, N., E.J. Cosgrove, R. Bowman, J.W. Fitzpatrick, and A.G. Clark. 2016. Genomic Consequences of Population Decline in the Endangered Florida Scrub-Jay. Current Biology 26:2974-2979.
  • Mills, J. A. et al. 2015. Archiving Primary Data: Solutions for Long-Term Studies. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 30:581-589.
  • Mumme, R. L., R. Bowman, M.S. Pruett, and J.W. Fitzpatrick. 2015. Natal territory size, group size, and body mass affect lifetime fitness in the cooperatively breeding Florida Scrub-Jay. AUK 132:634-646.
  • Sullivan, B. L. et al. 2014. The eBird enterprise: An integrated approach to development and application of citizen science. Biological Conservation 169:31-40.
  • Coulon, A., J.W. Fitzpatrick, R. Bowman, and I.J. Lovette. 2012. Mind the gap: genetic distance increases with habitat gap size in Florida scrub jays. Biology Letters 8:582-585. 
  • Piorkowski, M. D. et al. 2012. Research priorities for wind energy and migratory wildlife. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:451-456.

BIOEE Courses - Spring 2024

BIOEE Courses - Fall 2024