Allan O'Connell, Jr., Ph.D.

Allan O'Connell currently directs the quantitative modeling, monitoring, and endangered species branch at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and works on endangered species conservation, predator-prey interactions, and the development and use of estimation techniques to assess biodiversity and changes in the vital rates of wildlife populations.

Biography

Allan O'Connell currently directs the quantitative modeling, monitoring, and endangered species programs of the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) in Laurel, MD, the world-renowned ecological research center known for it's work on ecotoxicology, endangered species conservation, and population ecology.  He is originally from New York City where he grew up in the shadows of the American Museum of Natural History (his father worked his entire career in the Ornithology Department).  He has 30+ years of experience with the U.S. Department of Interior as a field biologist, natural resource and science program manager, research scientist, and most recently as a supervisory fish and wildlife administrator.  He has held a variety of positions during this time including research scientist and research manager (USGS Patuxent), acting chief of the National Bird Banding Laboratory (USGS, Patuxent), first director of the National Park Service's (NPS) Cooperative Research Unit at the Univeristy of Maine's flagship campus in Orono (NPS and USGS), division chief for natural resource management and science at Acadia National Park (ME) and Fire Island National Seashore (NY).  He has also worked as a biologist for the NPS at Gateway National Recreation Area (NY) and Fire Island, and began his career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service as a plant quarantine inspector at Kennedy Airport. He holds a B.S. in Biology (Wagner College, NY), M.S. in Zoology (New York University) and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology (University of Massachusetts). He has over 60 technical publications and is the principal co-editor (and co-author of several chapters) of the book published (2011) by Springer Verlag - Camera Traps in Animal Ecology: Methods and Analyses, a treatise on the use and application of camera trapping, the technique that is revolutionizing how wildlife populations are being sampled around the world. His most recent work involves endangered species: use of camera trap data to develop population density estimates for the Florida panther, assessing the effects of predation on the highly endangered Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit and Key Largo woodrat and the effects of predator removal (raccoons) on the viability of beach-nesting birds and sea turtles along the Outer Banks.   Additional work focuses on the potential impacts of offshore energy development on wildlife. He has directed the development of the Atlantic seabird compendium, an historical, digital clearing house for compiling scientific survey that documents the occurrence of seabirds on the continental shelf between Maine and Florida, developed guidelines for statistical-based sampling of  marine bird populations, and developed distribution models of seabird species to assess the impacts of proposed offshore wind energy facilities.     

Education

1990-1995       University of Maine, Orono;

                         post-doctoral coursework: 18 credit hours: 12 - wildlife ecology, conservation biology, 6 - biometrics/statistics

1989                 University of Massachusetts, Amherst; PhD, Wildlife Biology;

                         Dissertation:  Population dynamics, habitat relationships, physiological parameters, Lyme disease, and management of a barrier island white-tailed deer population;

                         Advisor:  Dr. Mark Sayre (deceased)

1980                 New York University, NY, NY;

                         MS, Biology (concentration: Zoology), language competency: French;

                         Thesis:  The relationships of mammals to the major vegetation communities in Gateway National Recreation Area, NY & NJ;  

                         Advisor: Dr. Edwin Karp

1976                 Wagner College, Staten Island, NY;

                         BS, Biology

Current Graduate Faculty appointments: Towson University (Department of Biological Sciences), University of Rhode Island (Department of Natural Resources Science), Univiersity of Delaware, Dept. of Wildlife and Entomology.

Recent graduate student committees and postdocs:  Caitlin Graff (M.S. Towson University), Beth Gardner (Postdoctoral Fellow, USGS Patuxent), Arielle Waldstein (M.S. NC State), Matthew Krachey (Postdoctoral Fellow, NC State), Elise Zipkin (Postdoctoral Fellow, USGS Patuxent) ), Jessica Stocking (NC State), Nicholas Flanders (NC State).

Current Projects:

  • Modeling of seabird distribution in the northwest Atlantic in anticipation of wind energy development; development of Atlantic seabird compendium
  • Raccoon ecology and effects of predation on endangered species on the Outer Banks 
  • Use of structured decision-making for predator management and endangered species conservation 
  • Analysis of camera trap survey data and design of long-term monitoring  program for the Florida Panther in southwest Florida
  • Modeling of marsh bird distributions along the Atlantic coast in relation to sea level rise
  • Assessing effects of predation on the endangered Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit and Key Largo Woodrat in the Florida Keys

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