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 IWSG - Jennifer Smart (UK)
Jen joined ExCo in 2019, but has been part of the Wader Study Group family since 1999. She is the IWSG Chair since October 2020.
She did her PhD on breeding redshanks. For the last 14 years she has been with the RSPB, where as part of the science team, she was working on solutions to reverse the declines of waders breeding in wetlands. She is now Head of Species for RSPB England where she helps focus RSPB’s species conservation work – ensuring the right actions for priority species in the right places. Fortunately, quite a few of the RSPB priority species are waders so she remains involved in important conservation programmes for curlews, black-tailed godwits, redshank, lapwing, oystercatcher and ringed plovers. When not working she is usually out on her bike.
Vice-Chairman - Ole Thorup (Denmark)
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 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 – Maurine Dietz (Netherlands)
Maurine joined the ExCo in 2018, taking over as treasurer from David Turner. Maurine is an ecophysiologist. She did her PhD on the development of thermoregulation in Galliformes whereafter she joined the team of Theunis Piersma at the University of Groningen to work on red knots. Her main interests were phenotypic flexibility with a focus on the gut and breast muscles, moult, metabolites and stable isotopes. Currently she is working on the relationship between the gut microbiome and avian ecology in pigeons, Pied Flycatchers and Red Knots.
Membership Secretary ~ Katharine Bowgen (UK)
Katharine joined the ExCo as interim Membership Secretary in 2017, and was formally elected 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.
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Wader Study ~ Jacquie Clark (UK)
Jacquie is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Wader Study, and ex officio member of ExCo since April 2018. Jacquie has been captivated by waders since she was an undergraduate, has been a member of IWSG ever since and was on ExCo back in the 1980s. She is an active member of the Wash Wader Ringing Group and enjoys wader ringing around the world. Her research has been focussed on the effects of cold weather on waders, as well as migration and moult. On deciding to quit paid work as Head of Ringing for BTO, she volunteered to get involved with IWSG again and became an editor, quickly morphing into co-Editor-in-Chief and consequently joining ExCo. In addition to her editing duties, she is having great fun carrying out wader and other ornithological fieldwork, as well as trying to write all those papers there was never time for and finally finding (a bit of) time to work on the house.
Editor, International Wader Studies ~ Vojtěch Kubelka (Czech Republic)
Vojtěch has been keen on shorebirds since 2007, when he renewed the Wader Study and Conservation Group (SVOB) in the Czech Republic. Then he became a member of IWSG in 2009 and a member of ExCo in 2014. Since 2018 he is the editor of International Wader Studies, the IWSG’s series of ‘special publications’. He is interested in the evolutionary ecology of shorebirds, field research, comparative analyses, science popularization and nature conservation. He defended his PhD: Significance of predation for breeding ecology and conservation in shorebirds at Charles University in Prague. Currently he is the Scientific Coordinator of ÉLVONAL SHOREBIRD SCIENCE, international project investigating sex role evolution in shorebirds.
Conference Coordinator ~ Triin Kaasiku (Estonia)
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 joined the ExCo in 2007. In 1998 he started his first wader work; a master’s 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 at the Institute of Bioscience, University of Aarhus in Denmark, working with ecological monitoring (incl. waders) at Zackenberg in Northeast Greenland. He took over the role of Projects Coordinator in autumn 2014.
Publicity Officer ~ Elwyn Sharps
IWSG-Wetlands International Liaison Officer ~ David Stroud (UK)
Colour-mark Coordinator (Scheme issuing) ~ Jim Wilson (Norway)
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)
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 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.
Patricia González (Argentina)
Patricia is the representative for South America in ExCo.
Birgita Hansen (Australia)
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. In daily life Gwenaël is bird database program manager at LPO/BirdLife France.
Passionate about shorebirds, I had the great opportunity to study habitat choice of Red Knot Calidris canutus islandica (East Atlantic flyway) during my PhD carried out at the University of La Rochelle in France under the supervision of Dr. Pierrick Bocher and with the collaboration of the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). Immersed in such enthusiastic and fanatical wader scientists, I was happy to have discovered the International Wader Study Group which brings together researchers and bird conservation organizations from all continents working on shorebird conservation research projects. After successive fixed-term contracts at the universities of La Rochelle and Nantes for studies on shorebirds, I now work at the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), BirdLife France, as programme manager on bird databases at the Knowledge Service. From bird survey manager to data analyst, I work on various subjects: Rare and Endangered Breeding Bird Survey in France, assessment and reporting under Article 12 of the Birds Directive, assessment of overwintering waterbird population trends in France from Wetlands International census, etc. Through these programs and the IWSG, I continue to maintain my interest on Shorebirds sciences and conservation.
I joined the ExCo in 2017 as general ExCo member and also Notes & News editor. I welcome any news about shorebirds and their habitats that you wish to share with the readers of the Wader Study and IWSG members.
Gregor Scheiffarth (Germany)
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.
Eveling Tavera (Peru/Canada)
Eveling joined ExCo in September 2018. Eveling is the Chair of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group (WHSG). She is currently based at Simon Fraser University in Canada and at Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI) in Peru.
Pavel Tomkovich (Russia) - leaving ExCo
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.