Autumn-Lynn Harrison – Uniting across hemispheres to discover unknown migratory pathways of birds: Advancing scientific knowledge and translating to conservation

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Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison is a research ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and is the program manager of the Migratory Connectivity Project

Join Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison, a marine ecologist with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, as she shares results from two hemispheric-scale tracking projects, and how the data have been translated into global policy initiatives. Autumn-Lynn was a researcher with the Tagging of Pacific Predators project, and she will discuss her 2018 paper, The Political Biogeography of Migratory Marine Predators, and her experiences going from ecological questions, to policy-relevant answers for seabirds. Since 2014 she has been the Program Manager of the Migratory Connectivity Project (MCP), leading field research in the North American Arctic region to discover the migratory pathways and drivers of at-sea ecology of understudied seabirds and shorebirds. Over the past 6 years, MCP has collected 7 million daily bird locations across 23 species of birds and 600 individuals. She will share recent results from these studies including new insights about three species of jaegers, Glaucous Gulls, Arctic Terns, and Black-bellied Plovers. Finally, she will discuss how all of these data are contributing to multiple collaborative conservation initiatives.

Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison joined the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center as a research ecologist in 2014 and is the program manager of the Migratory Connectivity Project. Her work focuses on studying the migrations and habitat use of marine and coastal birds and applying scientific research to conservation and policy questions. She has worked across many systems including leading field projects to track the migrations of seabirds and shorebirds breeding in the Alaskan Arctic and seals in South Africa and California. Her work has contributed to United Nations efforts to identify ecologically significant areas for migratory marine animals in international waters of the North Pacific Ocean and she recently founded the Shorebird Science and Conservation Collective to ensure the recent boom in shorebird tracking data is used quickly for conservation. Before joining the Smithsonian, Harrison worked for the Society for Conservation Biology for 11 years. Harrison earned B.S. Degrees in Environmental Science and Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech, a Graduate Diploma of Science in Tropical Marine Ecology and Fisheries Science from James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.


  1. Cheryl A. Joseph on March 8, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    P.O.Box 5451
    Portland, Maine 04101
    March 8, 2022
    Dear Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison,
    Just looked up Wayne Petersen in Hanson, MA and found that you spoke yesterday. I am impressed.
    I graduated from Whitman-Hanson Regional High School-class of 1970, Boston College, B.S., Biology, 1974;M.Ed.1980.
    I first received hardcover bird identification books from my mother, Anne F. Joseph, when I was five years old. My mother belonged to the local bird Club and she would take me along. She belonged to the Land Trust, Duxbury, MA and took me along for walks. I took an Ornithology course at the Harvard University Extension college and got a “B”. I have taught children at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum-Milton,MA, South Shore Natural Science Center-Norwell,MA, Arnold Arboretum-Boston,MA and students grades K-8th at Nature’s Classroom. I have been the leader for the town of Whitman,MA for “Biodiversity Days” a number of years. I receive “Massachusetts Wildlife”. I am a member of the Friends of the Whitman Public Library. I have been a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club. I have no children. I am 5 feet tall and white.I took Russian my Freshman year at Boston College and have followed their Arctic activities.
    What you are doing is so extremely good.
    Cheryl A. Joseph

    • David Larson David Larson on March 8, 2022 at 2:08 pm

      Ms. Joseph,
      I will forward your message to Dr. Harrison and to Wayne Petersen.
      David Larson

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