Early Professional Committee

Nick Mason | Chair

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A.)

Nick is an organismal biologist whose research focuses on natural history museums and the various ways they can be used to learn more about birds. He has a MSc from San Diego State, a PhD from Cornell University, and is currently a postdoc at UC Berkeley. He will be joining Louisiana State University as an Assistant Professor and Curator of Birds in Fall 2020, where his research includes systematics, comparative evolutionary biology, and anthropogenic impacts on bird populations. Nick has become increasingly involved in the American Ornithological Society since attending his first ornithological conference in 2010 and served as the chair of the AOS Student Affairs Committee for multiple years.

Contact Nick

Evan Adams

Quantitative Ecologist, Biodiversity Research Institute (U.S.A.)

Evan is a quantitative ecologist with a focus on how ecological processes affect bird ecology and movements. He is particularly interested in how to combine diverse data sets together to answer complex or multi-scale questions. These interests have lead to diverse projects ranging from the effect of climate on contaminant exposure in songbirds to describing the effects of lake ice on spatial patterns of abundance in waterfowl. He also focuses on communicating project results to a variety of audiences using scientific papers, general audience reports, online data exploration tools, webinars, and workshops. Outside of research, he is interested in improving education and workshops in our ornithological professional societies and making science approachable to a diverse range of people. He also likes running and kayaking.

Sahas Barve

Postdoctoral Fellow, National Museum of Natural History (U.S.A.)

Sahas grew up and went to college in bustling Mumbai, India. After staring at the Himalayas from his hostel room for two years during his Master’s degree at the Wildlife Institute of India, he went on to work on Himalayan birds during his PhD at Cornell University. Sahas is currently a Peter Buck Fellow at the National Museum of Natural History and continues to study high-elevation avifauna. 

Phred Benham

Postdoctoral Fellow, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A.)

Phred is broadly interested in the evolution of birds. He integrates a variety of genomic, phylogenetic, population genetic, ecological, and physiological approaches to understand how birds colonize and adapt to different environments. This includes work in a range of species from Andean hummingbirds to tidal marsh sparrows. Throughout his research career, Phred has also been dedicated to building museum collections through several international field expeditions and using specimens in avian evolution, ecology, and conservation research. Phred became interested in bird biology growing up in New Hampshire and has a Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University, a Master’s degree from the University of New Mexico, and PhD from the University of Montana.

Nandadevi Cortes-Rodriguez

Assistant Professor, Ithaca College (U.S.A.)

Nanda’s expertise resides in using molecular phylogenetics and ancient DNA to answer questions about the role that past or present geographic barriers have played in the evolutionary history of birds, emphasizing the phylogeography, genomics, and conservation of fragmented bird populations. Her research has primarily focused on the evolution, phylogeography, and population genetics of Neotropical birds whose distribution has been fragmented, or that have populations on islands. Nanda received her Bachelor in Biology and Master of Science from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), and her Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Some of her future work includes researching the population genomics of two species of Orioles from Puerto Rico whose ranges also include populations on the mainland. In addition, she has also expertise in promoting underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

Kristen Covino

Assistant Professor, Loyola Marymount University (U.S.A.)

Kristen’s research encompasses many scales of inquiry, ranging from avian physiology and endocrinology to continental-scale migratory movements. She works with undergraduate students and collaborators to understand the movement biology and whole life-cycle biology of migratory birds and the interaction between physiology and behavior in breeding gulls. Kristen teaches a Field Ornithology course through the Shoals Marine Lab each summer, where she also conducts field research on the local breeding gulls, and with the Appledore Island Migration Station. Kristen and her undergraduates also monitor migrating and breeding birds at the Bollona Freshwater Marsh in Los Angeles and are working towards establishing a local songbird banding station. In addition to research, Kristen is also interested in addressing issues focused on making ornithology more accessible to women and the LGBTQIA+ community as well as promoting undergraduate participation in research.

Ancilleno Davis

Sustainability Coordinator, Blue Lagoon Island, Bahamas 

Ancilleno is an ecologist and capacity builder focused on bringing science capacity and autonomy to local communities. He has an MSc from University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a PhD from Miami University. He sits on the Bahamas’ National Wildlife Conservation and Trade Advisory Committee and BirdsCaribbean’s board of directors and chairs the Technical Committee on Environmental Protection and Management through the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality. As founder and CEO of Science and Perspective, he creates formal and informal content to connect people to science. He helped coordinate BirdsCaribbean’s mentorship program and joined the AOS Early Professional committee in 2019.

Auriel Fournier

Director, Forbes Biological Station (U.S.A.)

As Director of the Forbes Biological Station, part of the Illinois Natural History Survey, Auriel uses structured decision making to study wetland management questions, as well as studying the ecology and natural history of wetland birds. 

Julio Gallardo

Postdoctoral Researcher, Oregon State University (U.S.A.)

Julio is an avian ecologist who grew up in Veracruz, Mexico. He attended the University of Veracruz and graduated with a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Animal Behavior. In 2018, he received his Ph.D. in Wildlife from Mississippi State University, studying the population ecology of two oceanic raptors in Puerto Rico. Julio’s experience ranges from conducting bird surveys in the subarctic tundra of Alaska to monitoring tropical bird populations such as Harpy Eagles, Snail Kites, Aplomado Falcons, and Bearded Wood-partridges. Julio’s current research and projects include the habitat connectivity and conservation of the endangered Puerto Rican Sharp-shinned Hawk and the evaluation of the Aplomado Falcon population in Southeastern Mexico. He is also developing spatial and population models for insular endemic birds. Julio currently serves as the Membership Committee Chair for the Raptor Research Foundation and as a member of the Scientific Committee of the Puerto Rico Ornithological Society (SOPI).

Dan Gibson

Postdoctoral Researcher, Virginia Tech (U.S.A.)

Dan is an applied ecologist whose research interests involve the integration of conservation biology with quantitative population ecology, relying heavily on building demographic models to uncover the environmental, individual, or demographic mechanisms driving the observed patterns in population variability or change for species of conservation concern across a range of taxa. In addition to questions regarding avian ecology, Dan is also interested in improvements in the application of statistical inference and data visualization. He completed his undergraduate at the University of Delaware and his PhD at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Emma Grieg

Project Leader, Cornell Lab of Ornithology (U.S.A.)

Emma manages Project FeederWatch, a program in which people count the birds in their backyards and send those counts to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This program has been running for over 30 years, and participants have created an enormous dataset of bird population changes through time. Emma loves this program and is proud to be a part of it because it is such a meaningful way for people to contribute to science by doing something they already love. “We learn about birds in a way that we could never do without the collective efforts of people across North America!”

Daniel Hanley

Assistant Professor, Long Island University Post Campus (U.S.A.)

Daniel is an Assistant Professor of Biology at LIU Post. He studies the function and evolution of avian colors, as well the role colors play in cognition and decision-making. He has quantified variation in the color of eggshells for a great diversity of species and found strikingly limited variation. Daniel works with students in his lab to 3d print replica eggs and design acrylic paints to coat their surfaces with these paints to match natural eggshell colors (or deviate from them in specific ways). They then deploy these eggs into the nests of hosts of avian brood parasites and record how these hosts respond to specific colors. Through these experiments he has uncovered a novel decision rule employed by hosts. Interestingly, hosts respond similarly despite differing in geography, taxonomy, or form of parasitism. Daniel also examines how eggshell colors are impacted by environmental factors, and has uncovered broad-scale ecogeographic patterns.

Kara Lefevre

Assistant Professor, Florida Gulf Coast University (U.S.A.)

Kara is an ecologist, ornithologist, and science educator with an interest in human impacts on biodiversity, including species distributions, behavior, and ecosystem functioning. She has conducted field research in arctic, temperate, and tropical ecosystems. Kara received her PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto studying rainforest birds in Tobago. Like the birds she and her students monitor she is an annual migrant, from her home in northern Ontario to the subtropical Gulf of Mexico.

Brian Trevelline

Postdoctoral Research, University of Pittsburgh

Brian is molecular ecologist that uses molecular approaches to investigate how wildlife respond to changes in environmental conditions. For his dissertation, Brian used residual prey DNA in avian feces to show that anthropogenic stream acidification influences the behavior and diet of breeding migratory birds by reducing prey availability. Brian currently studies the influence of environmental conditions on diet, digestive physiology, gut microbiome, and migratory performance in passerines.

Jennifer Walsh-Edmond

Postdoctoral Fellow, Fuller Evolutionary Biology Lab, Cornell Lab of Ornithology (U.S.A.)

Jen is interested in utilizing a combination of genomic and ecological approaches to characterize the drivers of divergence, both within and between species. Most of her research to date has focused on avian tidal marsh endemics. This interest stems from the extreme adaptive challenges and the suite of conservation challenges associated with tidal salt marshes, making them a powerful system to study patterns of contemporary evolution. Her work largely falls into three broadly overlapping areas: the genomics of speciation and local adaptation, behavioral plasticity in response to environmental change, and implications of hybridization in natural populations.

Abby Walter

Migratory Bird Ecology Intern, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (U.S.A.)

Abby is an ornithologist working for the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and National Zoo in Washington, DC. She is both helping to develop sustainable data storage methods in SQL databases using R and assisting zoologists with the creation of a new Bird House exhibit opening in 2021. For her Master’s degree, she studied parental care and home range sizes of a monomorphic species in a largely dimorphic clade, the Red-headed Woodpecker. Abby is the web presence chair for the Rainbow Lorikeets, an American Ornithological Society committee in affiliation with NOGLSTP. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware and MSc at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Emily Williams

Avian Ecologist, Denali National Park and Preserve (U.S.A.)

Emily is an avian ecologist for the National Park Service at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Her research focuses on the ecology, movement, and annual cycles of birds. Beyond interests of the feathered variety, Emily has a passion for science communication and outreach and connecting her community to science. Emily is also interested in promoting diverse voices in ornithology and creating spaces that are more inclusive and truly representative of the Society. She received her BS and BA degrees from the University of Florida, and her MS at Kansas State University. Emily first became involved in the American Ornithological Society in 2013 and now serves as co-chair of the professional development subcommittee of the AOS Early Professionals Committee. Emily became an AOS elective member in 2019.  You can find Emily on Twitter as @wayfaringwilly.