Faces of AOS: Tom Sherry Bio

• Email:
tsherry@tulane.edu

• Twitter Handle:
@ThomasWSherry

• Website/Blog/Etc:
http://www.tulane.edu/~Sherry27/

• My position with AOS:
AOS Fellow and President Elect (2020)

• My current full-time title and institution:
Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and New Day Professor III and Siegel Professor in Social Entrepreneurship, Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking Tulane University

• My current career stage:
Senior Professional

• My lineage of mentors/labs:
Undergraduate research, MS degree, and post-doc with Richard T. Holmes, Dartmouth College.
Ph.D. UCLA with advisor Henry A. Hespenheide

• #badlyexplainyourjob:
I study how birds get along with same kinds and with other kinds of birds, which is better than humans get along, which is why I study how to protect birds and their homes.

• My favorite bird and why:
Every bird species I’ve studied. However, I have a large photo in my office of a Cuban Tody with a large insect in its beak, and another of a Cocos Finch probing in a hibiscus flower.

• I am involved with AOS because:
I was hooked on science and birds doing field work as an undergraduate and attending my first scientific conference (Winnipeg AOU, 1975). Most of my research and conservation activities center on birds, and AOS is both a great fit and a great opportunity to work with others to pass on my love of birds and of nature.

• The best part about being a member of AOS is:
The journals (even when they don’t accept my manuscripts), the meetings to network and catch up on cutting edge research, and increasingly the awesome website.

• Birds are important to me because:
I know birds better than any other taxon because I started out watching them at an early age to entertain myself in the woods (growing up summers in the Adirondack Mts., NY), and birds provide unlimited opportunities for science and conservation: migratory birds are fairly unique among migratory animals, tropical birds are poorly understood, and birds are strategic for conservation because of so many bird enthusiasts globally.

• Advice I have to offer a student (master’s level or younger) in ornithology:
Get lab and field experience as early and often as you can. Then follow-up on your observations that don’t fit prevailing explanations.

• One ornithology question or problem I would like to solve or see solved:
Why are so many tropical species specialized ecologically and evolutionarily?

• Fun random fact about myself:
I played fiddle with contradance bands while a graduate student and post-doc.

• Something else birdy I’d like to share:
I look forward to listening to anyone with ideas on how to strengthen the AOS and its impacts, particularly in the Western Hemisphere.