About Us

Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Team

The Monitoring, Evaluation, & Research Team (MERT) maintains the integrity of the biological foundations of regional bird conservation plans endorsed by the Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) Management Board, reviews habitat conservation proposals for consistency with regional bird conservation plans, and provides technical guidance regarding habitat and population monitoring.

Collectively, the MERT members:
Represent the current state of knowledge of migratory bird biology through expertise and knowledge of published and unpublished information.
Provide technical guidance relative to population and habitat objectives.
Identify key assumptions in regional bird conservation plans, and identify and prioritize evaluation needs to address those assumptions or critical information voids.
Serve as independent technical advisors to the Biological Team Leader (BTL) and Bird Conservation Specialist (BCS) regarding all biological aspects of planning and evaluation.
Refine population and habitat objectives as warranted by new information.
Guide habitat and population monitoring that is directly linked to population and habitat objectives in regional bird conservation plans.
Identify anticipatory research that furthers the scientific basis for regional migratory bird conservation.
Review and rank habitat project proposals for applicability to GCJV implementation plans as requested by the Management Board Chairperson.
Participate in MERT meetings, not normally exceeding 2 per year, as the need is determined by MERT Working Group Chairpersons.

Structure and Membership

The MERT is composed of 4 Working Groups - Waterfowl, Landbird, Shorebird, and Waterbird. The GCJV Biological team Leader (BTL) serves as Chairperson for the Waterfowl Working Group. The Bird Conservation Specialist (BCS) serves as Chairperson for the other working groups. MERT working groups generally consist of habitat management-oriented migratory bird scientists with international, national, or regional recognition in one or more subject areas of significance to the Gulf Coast.


Waterfowl Working Group Members

*Dr. Mike Brasher, Biological Team Leader
Gulf Coast Joint Venture/Ducks Unlimited
Lafayette, LA
Dr. Alan Afton, Adjunct Associate Professor and Assistant Leader - Wildlife
USGS Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dr. Bart Ballard, Assistant Professor
Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University - Kingsville
Kingsville, Texas
Dr. Daniel Collins, Migratory Game Bird Coordinator
USFWS - Region2
Albuquerque, NM
Dr. Brian Davis, Assistant Professor
Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Aquaculture, Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, MS
Kevin Hartke, Waterfowl & Wetland Habitat Specialist
Central Coast Wetlands Ecosystem Project, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Richmond, Texas
Dr. Dale James, Manager of Conservation Planning - Southern Region
Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Ridgeland, Mississippi
Dr. Tommy Michot, Research Scientist, Institute of Coastal Ecology and Engineering
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Lafayette, Louisiana
Larry Reynolds, Waterfowl Study Leader, Wildlife Division
Louisiana Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Landbird Working Group Members

*Bill Vermillion, Bird Conservation Specialist
Gulf Coast Joint Venture/USFWS
Lafayette, Louisiana
Dr. Wylie Barrow, Research Wildlife Biologist
U.S. Geological Survey, National Wetlands Research Center
Lafayette, Louisiana
Dave Krueper, Assistant Nongame Migratory Bird Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 2
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cliff Shackelford, Nongame Ornithologist
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Nacogdoches, Texas
Dr. Mark S. Woodrey, Research Biologist
Coastal Research and Extension Center, Mississippi State University
Moss Point,, Mississippi
Michael Seymour, Nongame Avian Biologist
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Baton Rouge, LA

Waterbird Working Group Members

*Bill Vermillion, Bird Conservation Specialist
Gulf Coast Joint Venture/USFWS
Lafayette, Louisiana
Dr. M. Clay Green, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
Texas State University - San Marcos
San Marcos, Texas
Dr. Sammy King, Leader
USGS Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dr. Paul Leberg, Professor and Graduate Coordinator, Depatment of Biology
University of Louisiana Lafayette
Lafayette, Louisiana
Richard Martin, Director of Conservation Programs/Associate State Director
The Nature Conservancy
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
David Newstead, Environmental Scientist
Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program
Corpus Christi, TX
Dr. Brent Ortego, Wildlife Diversity Biologist, Wildlife Division Region IV
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Victoria, Texas

Shorebird Working Group Members

*Bill Vermillion, Bird Conservation Specialist
Gulf Coast Joint Venture/USFWS
Lafayette, Louisiana
Donna L. Dittman, Collections Manager Genetic Resources, Museum Preparator, and Permits Coordinator
LSU Museum of Natural Sciences
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Dr. Brent Ortego, Wildlife Diversity Biologist, Wildlife Division Region IV
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Victoria, Texas
Dr. Susan Heath, Avian Conservation Biologist
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory
Lake Jackson, Texas
Jason Olszak, Wetland Bird Biologist
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Opelousas, LA

*Working Group Chairperson