MSU ornithologist joins flock of national avian society fellows

Contact: Meg Henderson

Mark Woodrey with a banded Clapper Rail
Mark Woodrey with a banded Clapper Rail (Photo by David Ammon)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station scientist and associate research professor in Mississippi State’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture is being honored as a new fellow of the American Ornithological Society.

Mark Woodrey, who has devoted his career to researching avian ecology and conservation across the Gulf of Mexico region, joined the society over 40 years ago. Known as AOS, the organization is the world’s largest network of professionals dedicated to advancing the scientific study and conservation of birds.

AOS Fellows are mid-to-late career professionals who have made significant contributions not only to the society and its publications but also to the profession at large. Woodrey has authored, co-authored and edited over 90 publications, attended 33 annual meetings, and served on over 45 technical committees and advisory boards.

Stationed at MSU’s Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, he has made the Mississippi Gulf Coast his research lab for the last 20 years. His Coastal Avian Ecology Lab’s primary research and conservation focus involves secretive marsh birds in Gulf of Mexico tidal marshes.

Woodrey played a key role in developing the Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network, a multi-state conservation partnership, and in 2021 he secured a $4 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study the impact of prescribed fire on mottled ducks and yellow and black rail populations on the Gulf Coast.

When Woodrey was a graduate student and just beginning his involvement in the society, his advisor urged him to join the abstract committee, which needed another member. That experience launched his career-long involvement.

“Most people join an organization for the journal and publications, but I urge young professionals to join a committee or help plan the annual meetings,” he said. “It’s important to get involved, meet others in your field and give back to your profession.”

As a fellow, Woodrey looks forward to the opportunities he will have to support and encourage AOS members who are just beginning their careers.

“I’m honored to be an AOS Fellow, and I’m looking forward to the greater opportunities this position will open up to lead and mentor others in the profession,” he said.

Learn more about AOS at To learn more about MSU’s Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, visit

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