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

  • Acting Chair, EE Biology Dept., 2016-17
  • New Day Professor III and Siegel Professor in Social Entrepreneurship, Phyllis Taylor Center, 2016-2019
  • 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 of Migratory Birds; Habitat Selection; Feeding Ecology and ecological specialization in birds; Conservation of Biological Diversity, especially tropical diversity; Climate Change

Related Experience

  • New course, “Climate Change across the Curriculum: Science, Stakes, and Solutions”, senior elective, Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship minor, Phyllis Taylor Cntr. for Social Innovation & Design Thinking, 2017-2018
  • 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, 2011-2014
  • 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


  • President-elect, American Ornithological Society, 2018-2020
  • Bullard Fellowship, “Integrating ecological and evolutionary ideas in species-rich environments to understand community structure,” Harvard University, Sept. 2018-Feb. 2019
  • George H. Lowery Award, Louisiana Ornithological Society, 2016
  • NSF “Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Impacts on migratory shorebirds and carry-over effects to distant ecosystems,” 2010-2012
  • NSF “Dissertation research: Do mesoherbivores drive Neotropical rainforest understory insectivorous bird declines by limiting availability of preferred foraging microhabitat?” 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


  • Spanish
  • French

Selected Publications

  • 2016. “Chapter 8. Avian Food and Foraging.” The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Handbook of Bird Biology, 264-310 3rd Edition (I. J. Lovette and J. W. Fitzpatrick, Eds). John Wiley & Sons, West Sussex, UK.
  • 2016. “Dietary opportunism, resource partitioning, and consumption of coffee-berry borers by five migratory wood warblers (Parulidae) wintering in Jamaican shade coffee plantations.” Sherry, T.W., M.D. Johnson, K. Williams, J. Kaban, C. McAvoy, A. Medori, S. Rainey, and S. Xu. Journal of Field Ornithology 87: 273-292.
  • 2015. “Combining survey methods to estimate abundance and transience of birds among tropical non-breeding habitats.” Peele, A. M., P. P. Marra, T. S. Sillett, T. W. Sherry. The Auk: Ornithological Advances 132: 926-937.
  • 2015. “Patterns and causes of understory bird declines from human-disturbed tropical forest landscapes: A case study from Central America.” Visco, D. M., N. L. Michel, A. W. Boyle, B. J. Sigel, S. Woltmann, and T. W. Sherry. Biological Conservation 191: 117-129.
  • 2015. “Do collared peccaries reduce understory insectivorous rainforest bird abundance indirectly via lianas and vines?” Michel, N. L., W. P. Carson, and T. W. Sherry. Biotropica 47(6): 745-757.
  • 2015. “Increased abundance, but reduced nest predation in the chestnut-backed antbird in costa rican rainforest fragments: surprising impacts of a pervasive snake species.” Visco, D. M., and T. W. Sherry. In Special Issue Article: Tropical Insectivores. Biological Conservation 188: 22-31.
  • 2014. “The omnivorous collared peccary negates an insectivo re-generated trophic cascade in Costa Rican wet tropical forest understorey.” Michel, N.L., T.W. Sherry, and W.P. Carson. Journal of Tropical Ecology 30: 1-11.
  • 2013. “Does the bananaquit benefit commensally from parrot frugivory? An assessment using habitat quality.” Douglas, L.R., G. Winkel, and T.W. Sherry. Biotropica 45: 457-464.
  • 2012. “Fine-scale genetic population structure of an understory rainforest bird in Costa Rica.” Woltmann, S., B.D. Kreiser, and T.W. Sherry. Conservation Genetics 13: 925-935.
  • 2012. “A genetic approach to estimating natal dispersal distances and self-recruitment in resident rainforest birds.“Woltmann, S., T. W. Sherry, and B. R. Kreiser. Journal of Avian Biology 43: 33-42.
  • 2011. “High apparent survival and stable territory dynamics of Chestnut-backed Antbird (Myrmeciza exsul) in a large rain forest preserve.” Woltmann, S., and T. W. Sherry. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123:15-23.
  • 2011. “Hurricane Katrina impacts on the breeding bird community in bottomland hardwood forest of the Pearl River basin, Louisiana.” Brown, D. R., T. W. Sherry, and J. Harris. Forest Ecology and Management 261: 111-119.

Recently-Taught Latin American-Related Courses: EBIO-2040-01: Conservation Biology, EBIO-3040: General Ecology, Tropical Conservation and Global Change (CIAPA Study-Abroad Semester, San José, Costa Rica); Climate Change across the Curriculum: Science, Stakes, and Solutions

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

For more information about Thomas Sherry click here.





All Events

Upcoming Events

Film Screening: El Súper with filmmaker Iván Acosta

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The 1979 film version of Cuban filmmaker Ivan Acosta’s award-winning play El Súper, which gained critical and international success for its depiction of exiled Cubans in New York City, will be screened. Mr. Acosta will be in attendance and a discussion in English will follow. Iván Acosta is a playwright, filmmaker, and creative director originally from Santiago de Cuba, now in New York City. His creative endeavors include documentaries, plays, films, and books, and he’s served as writer, director, and producer, among other roles.

A small reception will follow the screening. Seating may be limited. Admission is free and open to the public. For questions email

For further reading visit:

Collaborators of these events with the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Tulane’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute include Beatriz Ball, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, the Newcomb Art Museum, Park View Historic Hotel, and St. Mary’s Dominican High School.

Iván Acosta book presentation: With A Cuban Song in the Heart / Con Una Canción Cubana en el Corazón

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Iván Acosta will present his memoir, With a Cuban Song in the Heart/ Con Una Canción Cubana en el Corazón, published by Un-Gyve Press, 2017. At this event, Mr. Acosta will incorporate his favorite Cuban songs in a musical and historical journey. His book features artwork from 280 album covers in his private collection and weaves a rich narrative combining real life experiences from his childhood in Santiago, Cuba along with tidbits of local lore and historical references. His favorite songs will be performed by local performers during the presentation.
This fascinating presentation, starting at 6:00PM, will be held at Tulane University in the Freeman Auditorium of the Newcomb Art Building (in Newcomb Circle) New Orleans, LA, 70118. A book signing and reception will follow on Woodward Way, right outside the Freeman Auditorium and in the Newcomb Art Museum. The book will be available for purchase for $60.00.

This event is free and open to the public. For questions email

For further reading visit:

Collaborators of these events with the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Tulane’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute include Beatriz Ball, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, the Newcomb Art Museum, Park View Historic Hotel, and St. Mary’s Dominican High School.

Celebración Latina at the Audubon Zoo

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In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, please join us at the Audubon Zoo for the 2018 Celebración Latina family festival to explore and celebrate the rich diversity of Latin America. Celebración Latina, presented by Pan-American Life Insurance Group, will be held at the Zoo’s Capital One Stage and Field. It will offer a true taste of the Latin American culture with live music, children’s activities, and authentic Latin cuisine prepared and sold by local restaurants. Local artisans will sell hand crafts, and local social service, health, and education organizations will offer wellness, education, and social service information.

Celebración Latina is included with Zoo admission or Audubon membership. No outside food, beverages, or tents allowed. Portable chairs and blankets are welcomed.

Don’t forget to check out photos from past celebrations!

For more information, please visit the Audubon Zoo website.

Celebración Latina is sponsored in part by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and Ron Austin & Associates.

Carnaval Latino and Parade of the Americas

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Join us for the 19th annual Carnaval Latino festival in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month from October 13 – 15, 2018.

The Hispanic culture has thrived in New Orleans for almost 300 years, and Spanish influence can be seen all over the city. To celebrate the best of Latin culture, the 19th annual Carnaval Latino returns to the downtown area.

The Hispanic American Musicians and Artists Cultural Association hosts the festival to celebrate the music, food, art and culture of Latin America. Numerous musicians, both locally and from overseas, perform to honor the rich Spanish heritage in New Orleans.

In addition to live music and fantastic food, the Krewe of Quetzal will kick off the celebration with a New Orleans style parade, Desfile de Las Americas, or Parade of the Americas, on Saturday, October 13th. See the Hispanic community ride in elaborate costumes, throwing souvenirs to the crowds. After the parade, festival goers will then enjoy Latin music, art, food and drink, during Carnaval Latino’s festival at Generations Hall in the Warehouse District.

For more information on the festival and parade, visit Carnaval Latino’s official website.