Chief Scientist of AUA’s Acopian Center for Environment Appointed National Coordinator by the European Bird Census Council

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YEREVAN–Dr. Karen Aghababyan, Chief Scientist of the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, has been appointed as Armenia’s National Coordinator for the second European Breeding Bird Atlas (EBBA2). His appointment was made by the European Bird Census Council, the organization leading the multi-national effort to prepare and publish the Atlas by the year 2018.

The first Atlas was published in 1997 with data that is by now 30 years old. Each of the 50+ countries participating in the preparation of the EBBA2 will create an atlas for their own countries as well. “This will be the first time Armenia will have a breeding bird atlas and the first time we will participate in the European-wide effort,” says Dr. Aghababyan.

Dr. Aghababyan’s responsibilities as a National Coordinator include collection and processing of data for Armenia. Over the next four years, he will be organizing large-scale field work involving hundreds of professionals and volunteers, a work that is already three years in the making. “We started in 2010 dividing the country into a grid, into 10km by 10km observation areas. In few of these areas we set up monitoring routes and conducted counts. This helped us obtain preliminary data and polish our counting methodology,” explains Dr. Aghababyan. “Now we plan to expand the counting sites to cover the entire country.”

The Armenian atlas will provide up-to-date distribution maps for birds across the country. The European Bird Census Council will use the country-specific atlases to compile a European-wide atlas, the EBBA2. With the massive amounts of bird data collected, the EBBA2 will become one of the most comprehensive biodiversity data sets in the world.

Over the coming year, Dr. Aghababyan will be working with the European Bird Census Council to identify EU funding that will cover the costs of this important 4-year undertaking.

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia. Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California. Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality, graduate and undergraduate education, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.

The AUA is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001.