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Allan O'Connell

Branch Chief

Contact Info

Short 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.     

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O’Connell, A. F., A. Parsons, T. Simons, J. Martin, W. Kendall, and M. Rikard.  Ecology and management of a native predator on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Case studies in Ecology and Structured Decision Making. M. Runge, S. Converse, and J. Lyons, editors.  Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, MD. (In prep).

Johnson, C. J., L. L. Bailey, A. F. O’Connell.  Estimating detection, occupancy, and vital rate probabilities for the Virginia northern flying squirrel. Journal of Mammalogy.  In review.        

Cove, M. V., T. R. Simons, B. Gardner, and A. F. O’Connell.  Modeling the effects of nest supplementation for endangered rodents of the Florida Keys: inference from camera traps.  Restoration Ecology.  In review.

Cove, M. and A. F. O’Connell.  2016.  Effects of small carnivores on threatened and endangered species.  Pages xx - xx in Small Carnivores: evolution, ecology, behaviour and conservation.  Edited by Do Linh San, E., J. Sato, G. Belant, and M. Somers. Wiley-Blackwell Publ.  In Press.

Parsons, A., T. R. Simons,.K. H. Pollock, M. K. Stoskopf, J. J. Stocking and A. F. O’Connell, J r. 2015.  Camera Traps and mark-resight models: the value of ancillary data for evaluating assumptions.  Journal of Wildlife Management  79:1163-1172.

Zipkin, E. F., B. P. Kinlan, A. Sussman, D. Rypkema, M. Wimer, and A. F. O’Connell.  2015.  Statistical guidelines for sampling marine avian hotspots and coldspots: A case study on wind energy development in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean. Biological Conservation 191:216-223.   

Flanders, N., B. Gardner, K. J. Winiarski, P. W. C. Paton, T. Allison, and A. F. O’Connell.  2015.  Using a community occupancy model to identify key seabird areas in southern New England. Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS).  533:277-290.

O’Connell, A. F.   2015.  A hidden view of wildlife conservation (how camera traps aid science, research and management). The Wildlife Professional: 9(3):56-59.  (Invited)

Meek, P. D., G. Ballard, A. Claridge, R. Kays, K.  Moseby, T. O’Brien, A. O’Connell,  J. Sanderson, D. Swann, M. Tobler, and S. Townsend.   2014.  Guiding principles for reporting camera trap research.  Biodiversity and Conservation: 23:2321-2343.

Zipkin, E., F., J. B. Lerness, B. P. Kinlan, A. F. O’Connell, and E. D. Silverman.  2014. Fitting statistical distributions to sea duck count data: implications for survey design and abundance estimation. Statistical Methodology 17:67-81 (Invited, special issue:  Modern Statistical Methods in Ecology).

Sollmann, R., B. Gardner, R. Chandler, D. Shindle, D. Onorato, J. A. Royle, and A. F. O’Connell. 2013.  Spatially-explicit models yield first density estimate of the endangered Florida panther.  Journal of Applied Ecology 50:961-968.

Sollman, R. B. Gardner, B. Mclintock, T. Simons, A. Parsons, J. and A. F. O’Connell. 2013.  Spatial mark-resight models estimating density with unidentified individuals. Ecology 94: 553-559.  

Parsons, A. W., T. R. Simons, A. F. O’Connell, Jr., and M. K. Stoskopf. 2013. Demographics, Diet, Movements, and Survival of an Isolated, Unmanaged Raccoon Population on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Mammalia 77:21-30.

Noss, A. J., B. Gardner, L. Maffei, E. Cuéllar, R. Montaño, A. Romero-Muñoz, R. Sollman, and A. F. O’Connell Jr.  2012. Assessment of Density Estimation Methods for Animal Populations with Camera Traps in the Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco Landscape.  Animal Conservation 15:527-535. 

Friedland, K. J. P. Manning,  J. S. Link,, J. R. Gilbert, A. T. Gilbert, and A. F. O’Connell, Jr.  2012.  Variation in wind and piscivorous predator fields affecting the survival of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, in the Gulf of Maine.  Fisheries Ecology and Management 19:22-35.

O’Connell, A. F., J. D. Nichols, K. U. Karanth, editors. 2011. Camera Traps in Animal Ecology: Methods and Analyses, 1st Edition. Springer Publishing, Tokyo, Japan. 274pp.  (; placed in top 50 in book sales in 2013 for Springer science publ.; sales surpassed 10,000 in 2015.

O’Connell, A. F., J. D. Nichols, K. U. Karanth. 2011. Preface. Pages v-vii in A. F. O’Connell, J. D. Nichols, and K. U. Karanth, editors. Camera Traps in Animal Ecology: Methods and Analyses, 1st Edition. Springer Publishing, Tokyo, Japan. 

O’Connell, A. F., J. D. Nichols, K. U. Karanth. 2011. Introduction. Pages 1 - 8 in A. F. O’Connell, J. D. Nichols, and K. U. Karanth, editors. Camera Traps in Animal Ecology: Methods and Analyses, 1st Edition. Springer Publishing, Tokyo, Japan. 

Nichols, J. D., K. U. Karanth, and A.F. O’Connell. 2011. Science, Conservation, and Camera Traps. Pages 45 - 56 in A. F. O’Connell, J. D. Nichols, and K. U. Karanth, editors. Camera Traps in Animal Ecology: Methods and Analyses.  Springer Publishing, Tokyo, Japan.

O’Connell, A. F. and L. L. Bailey. 2011. Inference for Occupancy and Occupancy Dynamics. Pages 191 - 206 in A. F. O’Connell, J. D. Nichols, and K. U. Karanth, editors. Camera Traps in Animal Ecology: Methods and Analyses.  Springer Publishing, Tokyo, Japan. 

Nichols, J. D., A. F. O’Connell, K. U. Karan  Pages  in A. F. O’Connell, J. D. Nichols, and K. U. Karanth, editors. Camera Traps in Animal Ecology: Methods and Analyses.  Springer Publishing, Tokyo, Japan.  275pp.   (Top 50 in sales for Springer scientific books ecology/zoology 2013).

Oppel, S., A. Meirinho, I. Ramirez, B. Gardner, A. O’Connell, and M. Louzao.  2011.  Comparison of five modelling techniques to predict the spatial distribution and abundance of seabirds.  Biological Conservation 156: 94-104.

Stringer, E. M., M. K. Stoskopf, T. Simons, A. F. O’Connell, and A. Waldstein.  2010.  Ultrasonic measurement of body fat as a means of assessing body condition in free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor).   International Journal of Zoology, Article ID 972380, 6 pages. doi:10.1155/2010/972380.

Zipkin, E.F., B. Gardner, A. T. Gilbert, A. F. O'Connell, Jr., J. A. Royle, and E. D. Silverman. 2010. Distribution patterns of wintering sea ducks in relation to the North Atlantic Oscillation and local environmental characteristics. Oecologia 163:893-902.

Martin, J., A. F. O'Connell, Jr., W. L. Kendall, M. C. Runge, T. R. Simons, A. H. Waldstein, S. A. Schulte, S. J. Converse, G. W. Smith, T. Pinion, M. Rikard, and E. F. Zipkin. 2010. Optimal control of native predators. Biological Conservation 143:1751-1758.

Nichols, J. D., L. L. Bailey, A. F. O'Connell, Jr., N. W. Talancy, E. H. C. Grant, A. T. Gilbert, E. M. Annand, T. P. Husband, and J. E. Hines. 2008. Multi-scale occupancy estimation and modelling using multiple detection methods. Journal of Applied Ecology 45:1321-1329. (Invited, special issue: How you count counts: the importance of methods research in applied ecology). 

Beyer, W. N., G. Gaston, R. Brazzle, A. F. O'Connell, Jr., and D. J. Audet. 2007. Deer exposed to exceptionally high concentrations of lead near the Continental Mine in Idaho. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 26:1040-1046.

O'Connell, A.F., Jr., N. Talancy, L.L. Bailey, J. Sauer, R. Cook, and A. T. Gilbert. 2006. Estimating site occupancy and detection probability parameters for mammals in a coastal ecosystem. Journal of Wildlife Management 70:1625-1633.

O'Connell, A. F., Jr., A. T. Gilbert, and J. S. Hatfield. 2004. Contribution of natural history collection data in the biodiversity assessment of national parks. Conservation Biology 18:1254-1261.

Gilbert, A. T. and A. F. O'Connell, Jr.  2004.  Retrieval, Compilation, and Organization of Vertebrate and Vascular Plant Voucher Specimens Originating from National Parks.  Pages 401-405 in Proceedings of the 12th George Wright Society Conference “Protecting Our Diverse Heritage: The Role of Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites”, San Diego, CA.

O'Connell, A. F. Jr., F.A. Servello, W. A. Halteman, and J. Higgins.  2001.  Status and habitat relationships of northern flying squirrels on Mount Desert Island, Maine.  Northeastern Naturalist 8:127-136.

Long., R. A., A. F. O’Connell, Jr., and D. J. Harrison.  1998.  Mortality and survival of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus fawns on a north Atlantic island.  Wildlife Biology 4:237-247.

Whitcomb, S. D., A. F. O'Connell, Jr., and F. A. Servello.  1996.  Productivity of the spruce grouse in fragmented habitat at the edge of its range.  Journal of Field Ornithology 67: 422-427.

Whitcomb, S. D., A. F. O’Connell, Jr.  1996.  Patch occupancy and dispersal of spruce grouse on the edge of its range in Maine.  Canadian Journal of Zoology 74: 1951-1955.

Garman, S., A. F. O'Connell, Jr., and J. Hazen Connery.  1994.  Habitat preferences of Peromyscus spp. in a mixed boreal ecosystem. Canadian Field Naturalist 108:67-71.

Calhoun, A. J., J. E. Cormier, R. B. Owen, Jr., A. F. O'Connell, Jr., C. T. Roman, and R. W. Tiner, Jr.  1994.   The wetlands of Acadia National Park and vicinity. Misc. Publication, No. 721, Maine Agriculture and Forest Experiment Station, Orono, Maine.  108pp.

Whitcomb, S. D., F. A. Servello, and A. F. O'Connell, Jr.  1993.  Population and habitat assessment for spruce grouse in Acadia National Park and on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Technical Report, NPS/NAROSS/NRTR-94/23.

Hazen, J., A. O'Connell, E. La Combe, P. Rand, and R. Smith. 1992. Visitor risk assessment and Lyme disease ecology in Acadia National Park. Pages 523-526 in Developments in Landscape Management and Urban Planning, #7.  Elsevier Publ. Co., Amsterdam, Netherlands.  548 pp.


Ginsberg, H.S., C.P. Ewing, A. F. O'Connell, Jr., E.M. Bosler, and M.W. Sayre. 1991. Increased population densities of Amblyomma  americanum (ACARI: Ixodidae) on Long Island, New York. Journal of Parasitology 77:493-495.



My Science Topics

Science Topic
Plants and Animalsanimals
Plants and Animalscapturing and trapping
Plants and Animalscarnivores
Plants and Animalsendangered species
Plants and Animalswildlife population management
Techniques and Methodscamera calibration
Techniques and Methodsstatistical analysis

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Climate Variability & Change

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Quantitative Ecology and Biodiversity

Image of Current Focus for Quantitative Ecology and Biodiversity

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.


Current Projects

Image of 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

Contact Information

Allan O'Connell
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, MD 20708
301-318-5760 - Mobile
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