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

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:
October 21, 2015: Tropical Exposures has accepted panel and abstract submissions. Panel lineups and program schedule information will be sent out very soon.

Registration Information
Early Registration is now open to presenters and participants. The following rates will be available until January 19, 2016:

  • $125 Faculty
  • $90 Graduate Students and Independent Scholars

Regular registration rates will be effective after January 19, 2016.
Please click here to access the conference registration form, or click the “Register Online” button on the bottom or top of this page.

Conference Hotel Information
The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute has arranged a group block and discounted rate at the Hampton Inn New Orleans Garden District. We have reserved a block of rooms for March 9 – March 12, 2016. The special room rate of $169.00/night will be available until February 8, 2016 or until the group block is sold out, whichever comes first. The Hampton Inn Garden District hotel offers a free hot breakfast, free high speed internet in every room, and free on-site parking.

To make your reservations online, please click here to access the hotel reservation page and book your stay by February 8th.
You may also book your room by phone by calling 504-899-9990. The group code for the special rate is “CSI”; please mention this when making reservations by phone.
For hotel address and other information, please visit the Hampton Inn hotel’s website

Conference events will take place on Tulane’s uptown campus at the Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC), 201 Boggs, New Orleans, LA 70118. Transportation from the conference hotel to Tulane’s uptown campus will be provided. We will be putting together a brief guide to the city of New Orleans for quick reference about local transportation, restaurants, etc. for your convenience.