Thomas Sherry

Scholarly Retreats
Type of work

Thomas Sherry has taught at Tulane since Spring 1989, after extensive studies at Dartmouth College (undergraduate, MS degree, and post-doc) and UCLA (Ph.D. dissertation). He is married with two grown children, and enjoys gardening, watching birds, hiking and camping, cooking, and enjoying New Orleans Jazz, food, and other aspects of its rich culture. He also enjoys writing for diverse audiences, and worked to write the final chapter (tentatively “Why care about tropical nature”) of a scholarly/popular book (Oxford Univ. Press) tentatively titled “A Whole New World: the Intricacies of Tropical Nature” while in residence. His research has focused on understanding the population and community ecology of migration, especially long-distance migration of New World wood warblers (Parulidae) wintering in the Caribbean region, especially Jamaica, where he has conducted research since 1986. Another research interest is foraging, feeding ecology, and diets, mostly focusing on birds that eat insects. Since studying tropical birds extensively, including both migratory birds wintering in the Caribbean and mainland Central American birds, he is now working on a book on the evolution of specialization in tropical insectivorous birds, and consequences of this specialization for understanding Biological communities including the vulnerability of tropical organisms to global change. In most of his teaching (Processes of Evolution, General Ecology, Conservation Biology, Climate Change, most recently) and research, he is passionate about climate change and other environmental threats, and making as much of a difference as he can considering his background and expertise.

“Regardless of the threats to the woods and other habitats surrounding ASITW, the environment is precious beyond our ability to measure it. It is conducive to writing, artistic expression, and human imagination necessary for all these endeavors. We need locations like ASITW for our mental and physical health. The natural environment during my short residency invited my wanderings, daydreaming/brainstorming, bird surveys, wondering about the vultures, and so much more. At the very least, ASITW serves and must continue to do so, as a laboratory to document the changes humans have loosed upon the planet, for better or worse.” – Thomas Sherry