Executive Committee

The IWSG is run by a group of volunteers distributed around the globe and with a wealth of experience in wader research and conservation issues.

Click here for a list of former members of ExCo

Chair - Yvonne Verkuil (Netherlands)

Yvonne Verkuil_IMG_1756

Yvonne Verkuil

Yvonne joined the ExCo in 2007 and has been a member of the WSG since she started to study stopover ecology of Red Knots with Theunis Piersma in 1990. Since then the wader world has sucked her in and she has studied the stopover behaviour and population genetics of a variety of waders. She is currently at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Vice-Chairman - Ole Thorup (Denmark)

Ole Thorup

Ole Thorup

Being among his favourite birds since he started birding as a kid in the late 1960es, Ole started working with shorebirds at Tipperne, Denmark in 1981. Since then his main topic has been breeding meadowbirds and grassland management in Denmark and the Baltic. A breeding biology study of the endangered Baltic Dunlin was begun in 1987 and is still active. In the past he also studied breeding Arctic shorebirds in northern Sweden, Norway and NE Greenland. Ole became a member of the EXCO in 1993, Project Coordinator of the group 1996-2008 and compiled the publication Breeding Waders in Europe 2000 1997-2004. Now he is working as a freelancer in a small consultancy company (Amphi).

General Secretary - Jutta Leyrer (Germany)


Jutta Leyrer

Jutta joined ExCo in 2007, and was Conference Coordinator until 2015. She did her PhD on the timing of northward migration of a long-distance migrant wader, the Red Knot, at the NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research) and the University of Groningen. Her project allowed her to spend several months each year in West Africa’s most important wintering area for waders, the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, then following the Knots to their stopover site on the French Atlantic coast and the German Wadden Sea. After that switched flyways and hemispheres and studied the “wintering” behaviour of waders in Australia at Deakin University, Geelong. In 2014 she returned to work on the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, and currently she is based at NABU, in Germany.

Treasurer - David Turner (UK)

David Turner

David Turner

David was co-opted onto ExCo at the end of 2007 to take over as treasurer from the AGM in October 2008. An enthusiastic amateur, David is leader of the Humber Wader Ringing Group on the east coast of the UK, concentrating on the relationship between feeding and roosting sites on the estuary. Information and data provided by the group will contribute to the overall monitoring of the estuary with particular relevance to key environmental and industrial/commercial developments

Membership Secretary (departing late 2017) ~ Rick & Elis Simpson (UK)

Rick & Elis are Membership Secretaries since September 2015 and will retire in late 2017.

Membership Secretary (interim) ~ Katharine Bowgen (UK)

Katharine Bowgen

Katharine joined the ExCo as interim Membership Secretary in 2017, awaiting formal election in 2018. She currently works for the British Trust for Ornithology analysing data from wetland and marine bird projects. Her PhD looked into wading bird’s responses to environmental change on UK estuaries and developed predictive models to aid conservationists. Prior to this she worked as an field assistant around the world gaining insights into bird’s behavioural ecology and their conservation in different environmental circumstances.


IWSG-Wetlands International Liaison Officer ~ David Stroud (UK)

Editor-in-Chief, Wader Study ~ Humphrey Sitters (UK)

Humphrey Sitters

Humphrey Sitters

Humphrey is the chief editor of Wader Study, and was the editor of the Bulletin from 2001. For 25 years he tried to combine his interest in waderology with being a lawyer, but in 1990 gave up the unequal struggle and is today involved in a variety of wader studies. These have included the non-breeding ecology of Dunlins and Oystercatchers in England, waders in NW Australia, plus Knots, Turnstones and Sanderlings in the West Atlantic flyway. He is slightly ashamed that he has spent so much time on well-studied species because he often says that more attention should be given to the world’s “obscure” waders. That is why he is happy that the photo shows him holding a Magellanic Oystercatcher, one of the least known of the world’s oystercatchers, in Tierra del Fuego.

Series Editor, IWS ~ Piet van den Hout (Netherlands)

Piet is Editor of International Wader Studies, the IWSG’s series of ‘special publications’.

Conference Coordinator ~ Triin Kaasiku (Estonia)

Triin_2016_5298 - Copy

Triin Kaasiku

Triin joined the ExCo in 2015 as a Conference Coordinator. She is a Masters student in Biology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her main interests  are habitat requirements of meadowbirds, meadow management and seminatural habitats.

Projects Coordinator ~ Jannik Hansen (Denmark)

Jannik Hansen

Jannik Hansen

Jannik joined the ExCo in 2007. In 1998 he started his first wader work; a masters thesis on the breeding strategy of the Purple Sandpiper in Svalbard. Next he worked as a fieldworker on a Lapwing breeding biology study in Sweden. Currently he is employed by the National Environmental Research Institute, University of Aarhus in Denmark, working with ecological monitoring (incl. waders) at Zackenberg in Norhteast Greenland. He took over the role of Projects Coordinator in autumn 2014.

Publicity Officer ~ Elwyn Sharps

Colour-mark Coordinator (Scheme issuing) ~ Jim Wilson (Norway)

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson

Jim’s interest in waders was awakened by the Merseyside Ringing Group in 1965-1968 when he and his mates began marking waders on the Dee Estuary. At the same time he became a member of the Wash Wader Ringing Group and in 1972 a member of the Wader Study Group. In the 1970s he was involved in the Iceland and Mauritanian expeditions. He took his Masters on the breeding ecology of waders on the Hebrides in 1976. Jim worked on and off with waders for the next twenty years. In 1996 he moved to Australia and he worked full time on waders and wetlands there for five years. He was also chairman of the Australasian Wader Study Group from 1998 to 2001, and in that capacity he first came onto the ExCo. By profession Jim is a Civil Engineer and still works in the construction industry, and thus he is one of the last of the amateurs.

Colour-mark Coordinator (Sightings) ~ Ryan Burrell (UK)

Ryan Burrell

Though always a keen birder, Ryan’s interest in waders is rather more recent in part due his supervision by Tamás Székely during his BSc degree. In 2014 and 2016, Ryan acted as a field technician on the James Bay Shorebird Project, assisting with research on stopover ecology using colour-marks and the MOTUS tracking network. He is currently employed as a GIS Research Assistant at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, UK, where he is involved in several projects, including the EU Life+ project, Waders4Real. Ryan is particularly interested in wader spatial ecology and how a better understanding of predator ecology can improve the success of conservation programmes. A keen ringer, he is involved with the Wash Wader Ringing Group and Farlington Ringing Group.

Yahkat Barshep (South Africa/Nigeria)


Yahkat Barshep

Yahkat Barshep in the African representative in ExCo. Currently, Yahkat has two research interests (1) investigating population dynamics of migratory (Palearctic) and resident African waders and (2) the patterns of moult particularly in relation to breeding and migration and the consequences of environmental change on this trait.

Stephen J. Dinsmore (USA)


Stephen Dinsmore

Stephen is a long-time birder and shorebird enthusiast who joined the International Wader Study Group in the mid-1990s. His graduate research involved studies of the stopover ecology of the Sanderling (M.S. degree) and the population ecology of the Mountain Plover (Ph.D.), both occurring in North America. He is currently employed as a Professor of wildlife ecology and Associate Department Chair in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University. His primary research interests are population biology, capture-recapture analysis, and monitoring animal populations, especially when they involve shorebirds. In addition to projects involving graduate students, he maintains his own research program with Mountain Plovers, which he began in 1991.


Patricia González (Argentina)

Patricia_G._with_REKN_by_Guy_MorrisonPatricia is the representative for South America in ExCo.

Birgita Hansen (Australia)

Birgita Hansen

Birgita is the Treasurer of the Australasian Wader Studies Group, based in Australia. She is also a long-term member of the Victorian Wader Study Group and has extensive experience is wader studies including capture and monitoring. She recently led a team of researchers and wader experts in Australia to revise the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Population Estimates for 37 wader species listed under the Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. She is currently running a research program on the ecology and migration of Latham’s Snipe, and collaborating with the Wild Bird Society of Japan to understand and document changes in population size and distribution. She is currently working as a Research Fellow in the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation at Federation University in Ballarat, Victoria.

Gwenaël Quaintenne (France)

Gwenaël joined ExCo in 2017. She is a general ExCo member and also Notes & News editor.

Vojtěch Kubelka (Czech Republic)


Vojtěch Kubelka

Vojtěch has been keen on shorebirds since 2007, when he renewed the Wader Study and Protection Group (SVOB) in the Czech Republic. Then he became a member of IWSG in 2009 and a member of ExCo in 2014. He is generally very interested in the evolutionary ecology of shorebirds and his current PhD study (Department of Ecology, Charles University in Prague) covers the topic: Coping with predation in reproductive strategies of waders. So far, he has done the majority of his fieldwork with Northern Lapwing in the Czech Republic and several wader communities elsewhere (Barrow in Alaska, Egypt, Chukotka and Baikal lake in Russia).

Magdalena Remisiewicz (Poland)


Magdalena Remisiewicz

Magda has been in the ExCo since 2004 and is a member of the Editorial board of the WSG Bulletin. She did a post-doc at the ADU at the University of Cape Town, and she is the Head of the Bird Migration Research Station at the University of Gdańsk in Poland. She is a ringer of the WRG KULING and Operation Baltic. Magda has coordinated project Tringa glareola 2000. Her research focuses on migration and moult strategies of waders and passerines between Eurasia and Africa.

Gregor Scheiffarth (Germany)

Gregor Scheiffarth

Gregor Scheiffarth

After working on breeding Oystercatchers for some years, Gregor switched to stopover ecology of Bar-tailed Godwits in the Wadden Sea for his PhD. His major interests lay in foraging ecology, migration ecology, and ecosystem processes. Gregor joined the Wader Study Group in 1991 and was General Secretary from 2004 to 2016. Currently he is working at the National Park Authority for the Lower Saxon Wadden Sea.


Pavel Tomkovich (Russia)

Pavel Tomkovich

Pavel Tomkovich

Pavel is getting to be an ancient member of the ExCo being first elected in 1992. Since then he fulfils a link between the IWSG and wader enthusiasts of several countries of the former USSR as a chairman of the Working Group on Waders in CIS. He functioned as a regional coordinator in several IWSG projects, coordinates the Arctic Birds Breeding Condition Survey initiated by the IWSG and is a member of the editorial board of the Bulletin. Pavel works for the Zoological Museum of the Moscow State University having main interests in Arctic waders, mostly Calidridinae sandpipers.

Nils Warnock (USA)

Nils Warnock

Nils Warnock

Nils has been a member of the WSG since 1987. He joined the executive committee in 2008 as a North American representative and sits on the editorial board of the WSGB. He oversaw the Wetlands Division of PRBO Conservation Science from 2000 – 2008. Presently, Nils is the Executive Director of Audubon Alaska located in Anchorage, AK. Current shorebird research focuses on migration of Pacific Basin shorebirds.