September 18, 2017

Chris Wood


Chris Wood is the Assistant Director of Information Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Much of his time is focused on eBird, which has grown from a small traditional citizen science project into a collaborative global enterprise. He and his team have developed a novel approach to citizen science by engaging diverse communities interested in watching birds while developing partnerships with scientists in a wide variety of fields. Collaborating with conservation biologists, quantitative ecologists, statisticians, computer scientists, GIS and informatics specialists, application developers, data administrators and expert birdwatchers has enabled eBird to reach a global audience. Advances at the intersection of ecology, statistics, and computer science allow this team to create new species distribution models that provide accurate estimates across broad spatial and temporal scales with extremely detailed resolution. eBird data are openly available and used by a spectrum of students, teachers, scientists, NGOs, government agencies, land managers, and policy makers. eBird has become a major source of biodiversity data, increasing our knowledge of the dynamics of species distributions, and having a direct impact on the conservation of birds and their habitats. Participants have collectively spent more than 30 million hours collecting effort-based checklists, amassing more than 400 million records, representing every country in the world and accounting for more than 1/3 of all data in GBIF.


Birds and People

Birds capture the human spirit, our imagination, and our passion in a way that few other organisms do. They also serve as the most accessible and sensitive indicator of ecosystem health and environmental change. When combined, these two seemingly simple statements hint at the tremendous power that birds have to teach us. Never before have we had as great an opportunity to bring together different kinds of people from around the world to monitor and understand our natural world – simply by watching (and collecting information on birds. Already, over 500,000 people around the world have taken part in reporting observations to eBird – from community members in the Yucatán Peninsula, to tour guides in Costa Rica, to researchers in India. This diversity in participation has given us an unprecedented look into bird migration, habitat use and distribution. Birds also have the power to inspire us change behavior. From the Hawaiian Islands to here in Costa Rica, birds teach us that bird conservation isn’t a simple matter of just protecting birds, or even protecting ecosystems. Ultimately, conserving biodiversity, including birds and their ecosystems, is about protecting livelihoods and ensuring a sustainable future for us all.

Aves y Personas

Los pájaros capturan el espíritu humano, la imaginación y la pasión en una manera que pocos otros organismos hacen. También sirven como el indicador más accesible  y sensible de la salud de los ecosistemas y los cambios ambientales. En conjunto, estas dos declaraciones sugieren el tremendo poder que las aves tienen para enseñarnos. Nunca antes habíamos tenido esta oportunidad tan unica para reunir a personas de todo el mundo para el seguimiento y la comprensión de nuestro mundo natural – simplemente observando aves. Ya, más de 500.000 personas en todo el mundo han participado ingresando observaciones de aves en eBird – y nos ha dado una visión sin precedentes de la migración, distirbucion y el usos de habitat de decenas de especies de aves. Las aves también tienen el poder de inspirar y cambiar el comportamiento. Desde las islas de Hawai a aquí en Costa Rica, las aves nos han enseñado que la conservaci´øn de la biodiversidad no es una simple cuestión de la protección de las aves, o incluso la protección de los ecosistemas. En última instancia, la conservacion de la biodiversidad, incluyendo a las aves y sus ecosistemas, se trata de proteger a las personas y asegurar un futuro sostenible para todos nosotros.