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Slate of Candidates for 2017 election to Executive Council


Dave Moore

I’m a Waterbird Biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service. Since graduate work (Ph.D., Simon Fraser University), my research has focused on the behavioral and population ecology of terns, gulls, cormorants, egrets and herons, including: parental care, interspecific interactions, population monitoring, demography, migration patterns and using waterbirds as bio-indicators. For 25 years, I have been engaged in the conservation of waterbirds and their habitats.

I became involved in the Waterbird Society as a student, and have been a regular member, attending all annual meetings, since 2009. I’ve served as Councilor (2012-14), as a member of the Grants (2012-; Chair, 2015-), Bylaws (2012-) and Membership (2013-) Committees, and judging student presentations (2012-).

I believe that our Society’s greatest contributions are: (i) fostering communications among scientists and supporting research and conservation, internationally, through our journal, annual meetings and awards and (ii) its philosophy of inclusivity and collegiality, that values and supports biologists at all stages of their careers. Developing strategies to attract and retain members, fostering international exchange, maintaining the relevance of our journal and annual meetings, sound financial planning and advocacy for the birds we are passionate about are all priorities, as we meet the challenges of rapidly changing world.

Ted Simons

Theodore R. Simons is a Professor of Applied Ecology and Forestry and a member of the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at North Carolina State University.  He earned his B.S. at the University of Wisconsin in 1975 and his M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1983) at the University of Washington.  He worked as a Research Ecologist for the National Park Service for ten years before joining the NCSU Coop Unit in 1993.  He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in the ecological literature, received national research and leadership awards from the NPS and USGS, and is a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union.  He served as an Associate Editor at Ecological Applications from 2003-2017.

Ted has been actively engaged in waterbird conservation throughout his career, studying colonial seabirds in Alaska, endangered Hawaiian and Black-capped Petrels in Hawaii and the Dominican Republic, and American Oystercatchers. He served as a member of the Waterbird Society Executive Council from 2013-2015.  He is a founding member of the American Oystercatcher Working Group and has been actively involved in American Oystercatcher research and conservation for the past 20 years.

As president-elect of the Waterbird Society Ted will work to broaden collaborations among scientists, managers, and the public, to support our excellent journal, and to increase participation in the Waterbird Society by early career professionals and students.


Chris Custer

Christine Custer is a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.  She has worked on a variety of colonial waterbirds over the past 40 years, but most recently she has been developing tree swallows, an aquatic passerine, as a model species to study the effects of environmental contaminants under field conditions.  She has been Treasurer since 1999, and during her tenure, there has been a steady growth in the Waterbird Society’s budget.  Annual revenue now exceeds ~$90,000 and those revenues are expected to continue to grow in the coming years.   She converted the Society’s books from a simple excels spreadsheet to Quickbooks, an accounting software package.  Complete financial statements and budgets have been prepared annually for Council and are organized and accounted for according to best financial practices.  All financial statements since 1999 can be viewed on the Waterbird Society’s web pages, as can most annual reports since the organization’s inception.



Dan Catlin

My name is Daniel Catlin, and I am a Research Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. In addition, I am a co-leader of the VT Shorebird Program, dedicated to research and conservation of waterbirds. My research focusses on understanding the limiting factors in imperiled populations. I aim to provide managers with information to aid in management and recovery, while answering broader ecological questions. In pursuit of these interests in quantitative conservation, demography, and life history, my students, colleagues, and I have co-authored numerous publications and presentations for national and international conferences, and our work is used to inform various conservation plans and decisions. I have been a member of the Waterbird society, attending meetings and publishing in the journal since 2007. I have always had a special place in my heart for the Waterbird Society and its membership. It is with great excitement that I am running for the Executive Council. I am eager to continue my service to this amazing organization, and I look forward to helping as we move into a new era of the conservation of waterbirds and their habitats in the face of a changing political and environmental climate.

Terry Master

In my 28th year as a professor at East Stroudsburg University (ESU), I continue teaching courses in ornithology, animal behavior and tropical ecology.   A research assignment observing heron/egret foraging behavior at Mrazek Pond in Everglades National Park for an undergraduate field experience focused my ornithological interests on wading birds, ultimately leading to a doctoral dissertation at Lehigh University on the behavior and foraging ecology of Snowy Egrets foraging in mixed-species aggregations at Stone Harbor, NJ.   My first experience with the “Colonial Waterbird Society” was in 1986 when I presented some of my thesis results at the 10th annual meeting in Charleston, SC.   A series of undergraduate and graduate students continued research on wading birds for a number of years thereafter, resulting in many presentations at 14 annual meetings and four publications in the Society’s journal.  In 2000, when also serving as a Councilor, I co-organized the society’s first Riparian Birds Symposium at the meeting in Plymouth, MA.  I would like to see the society maintain and enhance its interest in providing opportunities and a welcoming atmosphere for students, international participants and aquatic passerines!

Sean Murphy

Research Associate, Ecostudies Institute, East Olympia, WA. Ph.D. 2010, City University of New York. Previously, I spent six years working as a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey-Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center. As a population biologist focused on avian populations interacting with their environment, I have studied waterbirds along the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and the Interior West. I have been a member of the Waterbird Society since 2007 and have also served as: President of the Ornithological Societies of North America (OSNA) (2015-2017), OSNA Representative for Waterbirds (2014-2017), and Co-organizer of the Willamette Valley Bird Symposium (2014, 2015).

The leadership provided by the Executive Council requires individuals that can address important decisions that will shape the future of Waterbirds. I value the Waterbird community for its friendly and professional environment. If elected, I would further the interaction and engagement of members through enhanced networking opportunities between junior and senior scientists and develop training programs to provide learning opportunities and collaborations among members. I would explore the potential for Waterbirds to unite with similar professional organizations in an effort to reduce costs associated with membership management while increasing our exposure to scientists in related specialties.

Kate Sheehan

Assistant Professor of Biology at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, AR (July 2017). Previous positions include postdoctoral appointments in avian parasitology with the University of California Santa Barbara, and University of California San Diego (current). Most recent publications address demographic issues of the accumulation and distribution of parasites in waterbirds and the ecological niche and management implications of Double-crested Cormorants. Other publications evaluate the restoration of coastal habitats that waterbirds rely on, such as oyster reef, upland marsh, and seagrass meadows. Recently funded research focuses on the prevalence of plastic in the gastrointestinal tract of seabirds and shorebirds and the potential interactions of parasites with plastic contaminants. An active member of the WBS Conservation Committee with strong interest in waterbird conservation in coastal and inland habitats within and beyond North America. A proponent of ecological research that supports and promotes the conservation of connected ecosystems, critical habitat, and restored trophic relationships between waterbirds and their food sources. As a non-traditional avian researcher, my vision for the society would be to continue the encouragement of novel applied waterbird research and promote an inclusive atmosphere to increase the ever-growing potential for conservation-oriented collaborations.

Student Councilor

Maureen Durkin

Maureen Durkin is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She also received her M.S. from SUNY-ESF, researching the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance from recreation on the behavior and reproductive success of Snowy Plovers in the Florida Panhandle. After her M.S. work, she decided to undertake a Ph.D. project examining the demographics and factors limiting the Florida Panhandle’s Snowy Plover population, with a specific focus on mortality from vehicle collisions at a National Seashore.

Before starting her graduate career, Maureen graduated with a B.A. in Biological Sciences from Connecticut College in 2008. After college, she worked field positions on Sandhill Crane projects in Mississippi and Wisconsin. Maureen started working on the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, when she took a position monitoring Snowy Plovers for a small NGO in Florida, followed by wintering shorebird surveys in South Texas. During her graduate work in Florida, she has had the opportunity to partner with the National Park Service, USFWS, several FL state agencies, Audubon, and American Bird Conservancy.

Maureen has been active in the Waterbird Society since 2011, when she presented a poster on her work. Maureen attended and gave oral presentations of her work in Germany in 2013 and Mexico in 2014. As a representative to council, Maureen would focus on increasing student involvement and student activities during meetings. Being a member of the Waterbird society has been an invaluable experience for Maureen as a student, and she looks forward to continued involvement in the society, and the opportunity to help increase student participation and engagement.

Caroline Poli

I am currently a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Ecology program at the University of Florida. Prior to that, I earned an MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology at Clemson University and worked as a field ecologist for 11 years. I became a member of the Waterbird Society in 2015 and I joined the Conservation Committee in 2017.

Much of my work in waterbird science involves understanding movement patterns and habitat use of waterbirds as a baseline for future decision-making. For my doctoral research, I work closely with agencies across south Florida to develop targets for wetland habitat management that will improve survival and dispersal of juvenile Snail Kites, and hopefully lead to population recovery.

I am interested in helping to lead the Waterbird Society because I think it is critically important to be part of a diverse community of people who share an interest in science, communication, and conservation, and I plan to work with the members of the society in the future. I am excited that the society has elected to represent students at the council level, and I see this as a major opportunity to contribute to an organization that I relate to, represent other students, and learn to work as part of a government.

As Student Councilor, I would work hard to promote and develop funding opportunities for students that wish to attend meetings. Additionally, I would support existing programs (i.e., the student-mentor mixer) and continue to create new opportunities for students to network with researchers and managers within the society. Thank you for considering my candidacy.

Kate Shlepr

The Waterbird Society is my “home” society, and I am keen to serve on the Council to show thanks and lend support to its mission. I have presented at five annual meetings of the WbS since 2011 when I started studying gulls as an undergraduate in Maine. My post-secondary advisors (John Anderson, Tony Diamond, Dale Gawlik) have all been enthusiastic supporters of the Society and have encouraged me to get involved in various ways. I was second chair to John Anderson on the Local Committee of the Bar Harbor meeting (2015), and helped him organize files (2014) and conduct interviews of WbS founders (2016) as a member of the Archives Committee. I have also collaborated with Stephanie Jones, editor of Waterbirds, as a co-editor on a Special Publication of the journal (2016). I will be starting a PhD on Everglades wading birds with Dale Gawlik in Fall 2017, and hope to build an active role in the WbS into my new position. My goal is to help maintain the high energy and camaraderie I have experienced as a member of the WbS, especially in welcoming students and other new Society members.


This announcement was originally posted on the Waterbird Society's website. View the full announcement.

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