Photo of Adam C. Smith

Adam C. Smith

Adjunct Research Professor

Office:National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment and Climate Change Canada
1125 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6
Office Hours (Variable): Contact by email.
Website:Visit my website

Current Research

I specialize in using broad-scale bird monitoring data (North American Breeding Bird Survey, Christmas Bird Count, eBird, shorebird migration surveys, etc.) to track changing bird populations and to investigate the causes behind those changes. I am available to co-supervise students at Carleton (BSc, MSc, or PhD) who have a particular interest in quantitative ecology. Projects that relate to my work with Canadian Wildlife Service could include research into the drivers of bird population trends (e.g., effects of climate or landcover on species’ trends), the statistical integration of monitoring data from varying survey programs (e.g., North American Breeding Bird Survey and eBird), and estimating the changing number of birds in North America (e.g., spatially explicit elaborations on our work in Rosenberg et al. 2019). Please get in touch if this kind of thing sounds interesting. Most projects that I work on use existing large-scale and long-term bird monitoring data. However, I am also happy to explore projects that involve local field work, particularly the relationships between urban development and birds in Ottawa.

I use Bayesian statistical models in almost all my projects. The Bayesian framework allows me to directly answer the question of interest, and to incorporate prior ecological knowledge into analyses. I build custom models to answer specific ecological questions using particular datasets, and I enjoy helping others discover the benefits of learning this approach. I am deeply committed to open science and collaboration. I am also committed to improving my support for diversity and inclusion in science, and to my ongoing education in this regard.

Selected Publications

Rosenberg, K. V., Dokter, A. M., Blancher, P. J., Sauer, J. R., Smith, A. C., Smith, P. A., Stanton, J. C., Panjabi, A., Helft, L., Parr, M., & Marra, P. P. (2019). Decline of the North American avifauna. Science, 366(6461), 120–124.

Smith, A C, A D. Binley, L Daly, B P M Edwards, D Ethier, B Frei, and D Iles (2023a). Spatially explicit Bayesian hierarchical models improve estimates of avian population status and trends. Ornithological Applications, duad 056.

Smith, P A, A C Smith, B Andres, C M Francis, B Harrington, and C Friis (2023b). Accelerating declines of North America’s shorebirds signal the need for urgent conservation action. Ornithological Applications 125.2.

Smith, A C, V Aponte, M A R Hudson, W B English, K Jefferys, and A Binley (2023). Patterns and drivers of population trends on individual Breeding Bird Survey routes using spatially explicit models and route-level covariates. EcoEvoRxiv:

Edwards, B P M, A C Smith, T D S Docherty, M A Gahbauer, and C R Gillespie (2023). Point count offsets for estimating population sizes of north American landbirds. Ibis 165.2, pp. 482-503.

Attinello, K, L Fahrig, A C Smith, and S Wilson (2023). Substituting space for time: Bird responses to forest loss in space provide a general picture of responses over time. Ecological Applications, e 2919.

Stevens, H C, A C Smith, E R Buechley, Ç H ŞEkercioğLu, and V Shirey (2023). Species-specific ecological traits, phylogeny, and geography underpin vulnerability to population declines for North American birds. Ornithological Applications, duad 046.

Brooks, J.L., Midwood, J.D., Smith, A., Cooke, S.J., Flood, B., Boston, C.M., Semecsen, P., Doka, S.E., and Wells, M.G. (2022). Internal seiches as drivers of fish depth use in lakes. Limnology and Oceanography 67, 1040–1051.

Betts, M.G., Yang, Z., Hadley, A.S., Smith, A.C., Rousseau, J.S., Northrup, J.M., Nocera, J.J., Gorelick, N., and Gerber, B.D. (2022). Forest degradation drives widespread avian habitat and population declines. Nat Ecol Evol 6, 709–719.

Schrimpf, M.B., Des Brisay, P.G., Johnston, A., Smith, A.C., Sánchez-Jasso, J., Robinson, B.G., Warrington, M.H., Mahony, N.A., Horn, A.G., Strimas-Mackey, M., et al. (2021). Reduced human activity during COVID-19 alters avian land use across North America. Science Advances 7, eabf5073.

Put, J., Mitchell, G., Mahony, N., Costa, J., Imlay, T., Bossuyt, S., Boynton, C., Burness, G., Evans, D., Hobson, K., et al. (2021). Regional variability in trajectories of Barn Swallow populations across Canada are not predicted by breeding performance. Avian Conservation and Ecology 16.

Research Areas

Ecological statistics, Conservation ecology, Time-series modeling of populations, Urban ecology, Bird population distribution and trends, Bayesian modeling.