Robert Alvo is a conservation biologist, bird expert, and author of Being a Bird in North America (BABINA).
Robert first discovered his passion for the natural world at age ten. His family had just moved from Montreal to Greece, and his walk to school took him through the hills of Thessaloniki. His fascination with the birds and other wildlife in the countryside ignited his lifelong study of the natural world.
After high school, Robert returned to Canada to study biology at Queen’s University in Kingston. While working on his Master’s degree at Trent University, Robert examined the effects of acid rain on the Common Loon, and has continued that research for over thirty years. The latest results from this project were published in 2009, reporting on 25 years of research.
Robert Alvo’s professional accomplishments in the field of conservation biology include:
- Founding Canada’s first Conservation Data Centre in 1988.
- As a cooperator of NatureServe, developing the Canadian national conservation status ranks for the birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals of Canada in the late 1990s, and recently for Mexico’s birds.
- Writing and translating numerous species accounts for the provincial atlas The Breeding Birds of Quebec.
- Negotiating land protection deals for Quebec’s arm of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
- Helping to initiate the development of the Canadian National Vegetation Classification.
- Writing eight national (COSEWIC) status reports for the Canadian Wildlife Service.
- Managing Parks Canada’s species database.
Robert Alvo currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario, and is spending the year touring and giving talks on Being a Bird in North America.
Alvo, R. 2015. Being a Bird in North America, North of Mexico (BABINA), Volume 1: Waterfowl to Shorebirds. Ottawa: Robert Alvo.
In Refereed Journals
Alvo, R. 1981. Marsh nesting of Common Loons. Canadian Field-Naturalist 95:357.
Alvo, R. 1985. Determining whether Common Loon eggs have hatched. Wilson Bulletin 97:242-243.
Alvo, R., and K. Prior. 1986. Using eggshells to determine the year of a Common Loon (Gavia immer) nesting attempt. Canadian Field-Naturalist 100:114-115.
Alvo, R., D.J.T. Hussell, and M. Berrill. 1988. The breeding success of Common Loons (Gavia immer) in relation to alkalinity and other lake characteristics in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Zoology 66:746-752.
Alvo, R., and M. Berrill. 1992. Adult Common Loon feeding behavior is related to food fed to chicks. Wilson Bulletin 104:184-185.
Glooschenko, V., W.F. Weller, P.G.R. Smith, R. Alvo, and J.H.G. Archbold. 1992. Amphibian distribution with respect to pond water chemistry near Sudbury, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 49 (Suppl. 1):114-121.
Alvo, R., and M. J. Oldham. 2000. A review of the status of Canada’s amphibian and reptile species: a comparison of three ranking systems. Canadian Field-Naturalist 114(3):520-540.
Alvo, R., and D. Campbell. 2000. Pre-fledged Common Loon, Gavia immer, on an acidic lake dies with food bolus in esophagus. Canadian Field-Naturalist 114(4):700-702.
Alvo, R., and P. J. Blancher. 2001. Common Raven (Corvus corax) observed taking an egg from a Common Loon (Gavia immer) nest. Canadian Field-Naturalist 115(1):168-169.
Alvo, R., C. Blomme, and D.V.C. Weseloh. 2002. Double-crested Cormorants, Phalacrocorax auritus, at inland lakes north of Lake Huron, Ontario. Canadian Field-Naturalist 116(3):359-365.
Alvo, R., and S. Ponomarenko. 2003. Vegetation Classification Standard for Canada Workshop: 31 May – 2 June, 2000. Canadian Field-Naturalist 117(1):125-139.
Alvo, R. 2009. Common Loon, Gavia immer, breeding success in relation to lake pH and lake size over 25 Years. Canadian Field-Naturalist 123(2):146-156.
Bianchini, K., R. Alvo, D. C. Tozer, and M. L. Mallory. 2021. The legacy of regional industrial activity: is loon productivity still negatively affected by acid rain? Biological Conservation 255:108977.
Bianchini, K., R. Alvo, D. C. Tozer, and M. L. Mallory. 2021. Late ice-off negatively influences breeding Common Loons (Gavia immer). Northeastern Naturalist 28:65-76.
Bianchini, K., D. C. Tozer, R. Alvo, S. P. Bhavsar, and M. L. Mallory. 2020. Canadian Lakes Loon Survey: Celebrating 40 years of conservation, research, and monitoring. Birds Canada, Port Rowan, Ontario, Canada. 30 pp.
Bianchini, K., Tozer, D.C., Alvo, R., Bhavsar, S.P., Mallory, M.L., 2020. Drivers of declines in common loon (Gavia immer) productivity in Ontario, Canada. Sci. Total Environ. 738:139724. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139724
In Non-Refereed Journals
Hutchinson, R., and R. Alvo. 1998. Première mention de Sitticus fasciger (Simon) (Araneae: Salticidae) pour le Québec. Fabreries 23(1):23-24.
Hutchinson, R., and R. Alvo. 1998. Redécouverte de l’araignée-pirate Mimetus puritanus Chamberlin (Araneae : Mimetidae) au Québec. Fabreries 23(3-4):141-142.
Hutchinson, R., and R. Alvo. 1999. Trois nouvelles mentions d’Euryopis funebris (Hentz) (Araneae: Theridiidae) pour le Québec. Fabreries 24(1):21-22.
Alvo, R., and S. Ponomarenko. 2000. Classification of ecological communitites. Society for Conservation Biology Newsletter 7(4):24.
Alvo, R., and S. Ponomarenko. 2001. International workshop on vegetation classification standards. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America (January, 2001):80-81.
Alvo, R., B. Manson, and P. D. Manson. 2014. A visit to Long Point with the Long Point Bird Observatory. Trail and Landscape 48:36-39.
Natural History. Sept. 1986. “Lost loons on acid lakes.” (COVER STORY)
Canadian Geographic. June 1987. “Is the laughter of the loons to be stilled on our acid lakes?” (COVER STORY)
The Living Bird Quarterly. Spring 1987. “The acid test.”
Nature Canada. Spring 1987. Excerpt from the Natural History article.
The Nature Conservancy Magazine. July/August 1989. “Canada joins the Heritage Network.”
Global Biodiversity. Summer 1994. “A most interesting canoe trip: where are all the loons going?”
Broadsheet (Gosse Bird Club, Kingston, Jamaica). 1996. “Kentucky Warbler at Windsor, Cockpit country” [Jamaica].
Status reports for the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)
Alvo, R. 1996. Updated status report on the Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) in Canada. 12 pp. (Also published in North American Swans: Bulletin of the Trumpeter Swan Society 26(2): 36-41 (1997)).
Alvo, R. and E. Dunn. 1996. Updated status report on the Black Tern (Chlidonia niger) in Canada. 10 pp.
Alvo, R. and S.D. MacDonald. 1996. Updated status report on the Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) in Canada. 8 pp.
Alvo, R. and M.K. McNicholl. 1996. Status report on the Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri) in Canada. 31 pp.
Alvo, R., D. McRae, S. Holohan, and G. Divoky. 1996. Updated status report on the Ross’ Gull (Rhodostethia rosea) in Canada. 10 pp.
Read, W.F. and R. Alvo. 1996. Updated status report on the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) in Canada. 12 pp.
Alvo, R. and J. Bonin. 1998. Status report on the Mountain Dusky Salamander, Desmognathus ochrophaeus, in Canada.
Alvo, R. and M. Robert. 1999. Status report on the Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) in Canada. 64 pp.
Texts authored or co-authored in the book entitled “The Breeding Birds of Quebec”
Seventeen species accounts and 9 family accounts.
Ponomarenko, S. and R. Alvo. 2001. Perspectives on developing a Canadian classification of ecological communities. Information Report ST-X-18E. Published by Science Branch, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa. 50 pages.
Hart, D.R. and R. Alvo. 1988. Impact of acid precipitation on amphibian breeding in Georgian Bay Islands National Park. Report prepared by Beak Consultants Ltd. for Parks Canada (Ontario Region). March 1988.
Alvo, R. 1993. Mise au point sur les données faunistiques disponibles au Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec. Rapport pour le Service des habitats, Ministère du Loisir, de la Chasse et de la Pêche.
Alvo, R. 1996. Sudbury Loon Study, 1996 Final Report. Report prepared for the Canadian Wildlife Service (Ontario Region), the Helen McCrae Peacock Foundation and Bird Studies Canada and the Long Point Bird Observatory. 55 pages.
Alvo, R. 1998. National status evaluation of 20 selected animal species inhabiting Canada’s Forests. Report prepared for the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, the Biodiversity Convention Office, and the Canadian Forest Service. June 8, 1998. 328 pp.
Alvo, R., H. Blokpoel, and G. McKenna. 1998. Use of natural habitat and artificial nest sites by Black Terns at an impoundment near Kingston, Ontario, in 1997. Technical Report Series No. 292, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Region. 32 pp.
Alvo, R. 1995. Feasibility study on the establishment of a Canadian National Conservation Data Centre. Final report prepared for the Canadian Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Division. August 29, 1995. 109 pages + appendices.
Brochure Based on My Work
Canadian Pulp and Paper Association. 1999. A Wildlife Legacy: sustaining mammals in Canada’s forests. 24 pages. [Based on Publication #38].