Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

Thomas Sherry

Professor - Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Contact Info


  • B.A., Dartmouth College, Biology, 1973
  • M.A., Dartmouth College, Biology, 1975
  • Ph.D., University of California-Los Angeles, Ecology, 1981

Academic Experience

  • Professor, Tulane University, 1999-
  • Associate Professor, Tulane University, 1994-1999
  • Assistant Professor, Tulane University, 1989-1994
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College, 1984-1988

Research & Teaching Specializations: Natural Sciences; Tropical Ornithology; Population Limitation and Regulation of Migratory Birds; Habitat Selection; Feeding Ecology and ecological specialization in birds; Conservation of Biological Diversity, especially tropical diversity

Related Experience

  • Co-developed and organized Tulane’s inaugural CIAPA interdisciplinary (Spring) semester study-abroad program in San José, Costa Rica (2013-14); and taught Tropical Conservation and Global Change course as part of this program (2014)
  • Participated in Tulane (Provost)-initiated Tulane faculty rapprochement with discipline-relevant faculty at University of Havana, Havana, Cuba, 2012
  • Treasurer, International Ornithologists Union, 2011-
  • Served on MS, and Ph.D. thesis external review committee for three students, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, 2010-2011.
  • Co-organized symposium “Habitat fragmentation in tropical forest birds” for 25th International Ornithological Congress, Campos do Jordão, Brazil (with Luis Dos Anjos, Brazil), 2010.
  • National Science Foundation, Ecology Panel, Evolutionary and Population Ecology Panel, 2006, 2007; Population and Community Panel, 2011
  • Chercheur Associé, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Montpellier, France, 2004-2005
  • Chair, International Affairs Committee, American Ornithologists’ Union, 2004-2007


  • NSF “Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Impacts on migratory shorebirds and carry-over effects to distant ecosystems.” For 2 years, with Caz Taylor. ($198,000), 2010-2012
  • NSF “Dissertation research: Do mesoherbivores drive Neotropical rainforest understory insectivorous bird declines by limiting availability of preferred foraging microhabitat?” ($14,894 to Tulane to support Nicole Michel’s dissertation), 2010-2012
  • Beetle new to science (from Cocos Island, Costa Rica) named after Sherry and wife: Hoplocopturus sherrywernerorum (Hespenheide, H. A., 2009, Coleopterists Bulletin 63: 333-339)
  • Pilot Funding for New Research (PFund), NSF EPSCoR, Louisiana Board of Regents: “Effects of forest fragmentation on genetic population structure of tropical forest birds,” 2009-2010
  • National Science Foundation Research Grants, “LTREB Collaborative Research: Density-dependent and Density-independent Effects on the Non-breeding Season Dynamics of a Migratory Bird,” 2007-2012, 2012-2017

Language & Proficiency: Spanish; French

Selected Publications

  • 2014. Michel, N.L., T.W. Sherry, and W.P. Carson. “The omnivorous collared peccary negates an insectivo re-generated trophic cascade in Costa Rican wet tropical forest understorey.” Journal of Tropical Ecology 30: 1-11.
  • 2014. Michel, N.L., D.R. Robinson, and T.W. Sherry. “Liana-bird relationships: a review.” In Ecology of Lianas, S.A. Schnitzner, F. Bongers, R. Burnham, and F.E. Putz, eds. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. Accepted for publication (5 June 2013).
  • 2013. Douglas, L.R., G. Winkel, and T.W. Sherry. “Does the bananaquit benefit commensally from parrot frugivory? An assessment using habitat quality.” Biotropica 45: 457-464.
  • 2012. Robinson, W. D., and T. W. Sherry. “Mechanisms of avian population decline and species loss in tropical forest fragments.” Journal of Ornithology 153 (Suppl 1): S141-S152. (DOI 10.1007/s10336-011-0806-y)
  • 2012. Woltmann, S., B. R. Kreiser, and T. W. Sherry. “Fine-scale genetic population structure of an understory rainforest bird in Costa Rica.” Conservation Genetics 13: 925-935.
  • 2012. Woltmann, S., T. W. Sherry, and B. R. Kreiser. “A genetic approach to estimating natal dispersal distances and self-recruitment in resident rainforest birds.” Journal of Avian Biology 43: 33-42.
  • 2011. Woltmann, S., and T. W. Sherry. “High apparent survival and stable territory dynamics of Chestnut-backed Antbird (Myrmeciza exsul) in a large rain forest preserve.” Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123:15-23.
  • 2011. Brown, D. R., T. W. Sherry, and J. Harris. “Hurricane Katrina impacts on the breeding bird community in bottomland hardwood forest of the Pearl River basin, Louisiana.” Forest Ecology and Management 261: 111-119.

Recently-Taught Latin American-Related Courses: General Ecology; Conservation Biology; Tropical Conservation and Global Change (CIAPA Study-Abroad Semester, San José, Costa Rica)

Number of Dissertations or Theses Supervised in the Past 5 Years: 7





All Events

Upcoming Events

Racismo vs. socialismo: Un conflicto fuera de lugar (Guest Speaker Robert Zurbano)

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“Racism vs. Socialism: A conflict out of place. Mapping the Cuban Racial Debate, Internal Colonialism, and the New Racist Economy”

Roberto Zurbano Torres (1965) is a writer and essayist, cultural critic, and anti-racism activist. He is the author of the books Elogio del lector (1990), Ramón Rubiera: un astro ilusorio (1992), Poética de los noventa: Ganancias de la expresión (1994), Los estados nacientes: Literatura cubana y postmodernidad (1996), and essays such as Raza, literatura y nación: el triángulo invisible del siglo XX cubano, El rap cubano: un discurso hambriento de realidad and Cuba 2012: Doce dificultades para enfrentar los neo-racismos. He is a two-time winner of the DADOR, a Cultural Journalism award, and the Medal for National Culture. His works have appeared in Temas, La Gaceta, Universidad de La Habana, La Letra del Escriba, Casa de las Américas, Catauro, Movimiento, Afrohispanic Review, Meridional, and the New York Times.

Zurbano works at the Centro de Investigaciones Literarias at the Casa de las Américas. He has given lectures all around Latin America as well as Europe, specializing in popular culture, race, music, and black writers in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through his work in activism he recently founded the Proyecto Pichon Haitien, which promotes the contributions of Haitian immigrants to Cuban national culture. He is a member of the UNEAC, LASA, and Articulación Regional Afrodescendiente de América Latina y el Caribe, Capítulo Cubano (ARAAC).

This event is free and open to the public. The talk will be given in Spanish. Sponsored by the Cuban & Caribbean Studies Institute. For questions email

La Habana Vieja: Una ciudad viva (A Talk by Eusebio Leal)

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Eusebio Leal Spengler, (Havana, Cuba, 1942), is the historian of the city of Havana, director of the restoration program of Old Havana and its historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Deputy to the National Assembly of the Popular Power in the IV, V, and VI Legislature, and the Ambassador of Good Will of the United Nations. He holds a Master’s degree in Latin American, Caribbean, and Cuban Studies, and a doctorate in Historical Sciences, both from the University of Havana. He is President of the Commission of Monuments in the City of Havana, and a specialist in Archeological Sciences.

Dr. Leal’s talk, presented in Spanish, will outline the decades-long process of restoring the historic core of Old Havana and the challenges of maintaining a balance between historical preservation and social restoration.

This event is free and open to the public. The talk will be in Spanish and a translation to English will be provided. Reception to follow in Woodward Way.
Sponsored by the Cuban & Caribbean Studies Institute. For questions email

Social Work Practice in Cuba with Odalys de la Luz González Jubán

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Odalys de la Luz González Jubán is a founding member and President of SOCUTRAS (the Society of Social Workers in Health Care) in Cuba. In this position, she works to help integrate social work into the country’s national health system and also advocates for Cuban social work around the world. Ms. Jubán is a scholar, educator and practitioner of social work and she will share her experiences and the status of the social work profession in Cuba.

Sponsored by the Office of Global Programs. Light lunch will be provided.
Please RSVP to Melinda at

Call for Papers: National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies

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The National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies announces its 2016 Call for Papers for the 24th annual national conference. The conference will be in Baton Rouge, LA, February 8-13, 2016.

Abstracts, not to exceed two pages, should be submitted that relate to any aspect of the Hispanic, Latino, or Chicano experience. Subjects may include, but are not limited to: literature, demographics, history, politics, economics, education, health care, fine arts, religion, social sciences, business, and many other subjects. Please indicate the time required for presentation of your paper (25 minutes or 45 minutes).

Abstracts with title of paper, presenter’s name, home and institution/organization address, and email should be post marked by: Saturday, November 7, 2015.

Send attracts to:
Lemuel Berry, Jr., Ph.D.
Executive Director, NAAAS & Affiliates
PO Box 6670
Scarborough, ME 04070-6670

Tropical Exposures: Photography, Film, and Visual Culture in a Caribbean Frame

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Tropical Exposures: Photography, Film, and Visual Culture in a Caribbean Frame
March 10-12, 2016
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA

We offer our conference as a forum in which to peruse and absorb the visual turn in contemporary inquiry from the unique vantage points of the Caribbean, circum-Caribbean and Caribbean diasporas. We conceive the tropical exposure as a frame for representing the region’s strengths and vulnerabilities and for questioning the interaction of Antillean sensibilities with a plethora of images and mediascapes. Our invited keynote speakers include photographer Virginia Beahan and artist Francisco Crespo, whose work appears on this page.

Tropical Exposures welcomes proposals for papers that address any facet of Caribbean visual representation in photography, film, art, popular culture, and other media, as well as the interaction of word and image more generally. Scholars are also encouraged to present proposals that consider social and cultural shifts toward the increasing intermediality of representation in the Caribbean frame.

Conference Updates:
Tropical Exposures is now accepting proposals. Please see the Call for Papers page for more information. Proposals are due by September 15, 2015.