Scientific advisory board (SAB)

Meet the experts that help us to save aquatic warblers by providing valuable advise and important backup of the scientific competencies. Most of them have long-years experience on aquatic warbler and other bird conservation and all together form a great team of ornithologists, botanists, wetland ecosystem ecologists and conservation policy experts.

Dr. Jaroslaw Krogulec

Jaroslaw Krogulec has more than 30 years of experience working with aquatic warbler conservation and it’s habitat management. It all started in 1984 when he discovered an unknown population on Chełm Marshes in Poland and later continued with surveys, monitoring, population counting, action plans’ preparation and various conservation initiatives. J. Krogulec was involved in drafting the first International Species Action Plan, forming the International Aquatic Warbler Conservation Team and in 2015 got a position of BirdLife/CMS Aquatic Warbler Conservation Officer.

“In the early 1990’s, we didn’t even know if aquatic warbler still existed and how big the population was. We only knew that it is “очень редкая птица” (ochen’ redkaya ptitsa –  very rare bird). Now we know a lot: where our help is needed, how to manage those areas and what the measures are the most effective. It is time to try out some methods that haven’t tested before.”

Dr. Martin Flade

Ornithologist and researcher who has studied aquatic warblers for more than 20 years already. He is known for discovering many populations in Belarus and Ukraine and has initiated and lead research expeditions to the species’ last breeding grounds in West Siberia and to it’s wintering sites in Africa. Martin Flade is the initiator and current chairman of International Aquatic Warbler Conservation Team and has also initiated, together with Norbert Schäffer, the Memorandum of Understanding concerning Conservation Measures for the Aquatic Warbler under the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

“For me, the aquatic warbler is a symbolic bird for the current problems of global change – mire destruction, climate change, biodiversity loss, wetland drainage, droughts and overgrazing in the Sahel region and so on, but also a symbol for international cooperation and friendship across continents, states and social systems.”

Dr. Franziska Tanneberger

Franziska Tanneberger is a peatland scientist based at the Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology at Greifswald University and co-director of the Greifswald Mire Centre, Germany. F. Tanneberger works on fen mire ecology and biodiversity, paludiculture, and peatland restoration, particularly within carbon schemes. She has contributed to various mire research and conservation projects in Germany, Russia, Belarus, and Poland. F. Tanneberger has studied aquatic warbler habitats in Pomerania and Lithuania in her PhD project and is a member of the International Aquatic Warbler Conservation Team for more than 10 years..

“This little brown bird is almost extinct in my region – I am very glad to support this crucial project in Lithuania and Belarus, and sure that we will learn a lot from it!”

More about Dr. Fračiską Taneberger

Prof. Rhys Green

For 35 years professor R. Green has been working for one of the leading organizations in the world of bird conservation – Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), where he devoted his researches to finding the perfect balance of coexistence between farmers and birds, people and nature. He was also actively involved in implementation of Corncrake translocation and other bird conservation initiatives. From 1999 the professor shares his knowledge and experience at the University of Cambridge.

“I studied the ecology of reed warblers and sedge warblers as a student in the UK and France in the early 1970s and first met the aquatic warbler in 1976 when I took a juvenile from a mist-net in Loire Atlantique, France which had been ringed as a nestling in Poland six weeks before. In 2000 I worked with fellow SAB member Alexander Kozulin on his aquatic warbler project in Belarus.”

More about prof. Rhys Green

Karl Wagner

Karl Wagner is a biologist by training and an environmental campaigner by profession. He has over the last 30 years conceptualized, developed and managed successful large environmental campaigns for a number of international organizations, mainly WWF International, foundations like Oak and MAVA and think tanks like the Club of Rome, where he was director external relations until January 2015.

Dr. Karl Schulze-Hagen

Karl Schulze-Hagen is a medic and biologist. Over 40 years he has studied the reproductive biology and ecology of Acrocephalus warblers, particularly, aquatic warbler. He is the only person who kept aquatic warblers in aviary, where they reproduced successfully. One bird reached an age of nine years. Karl Schulze-Hagen has a lot of practical knowledge on aquatic warbler dietary and living-style behavior.

Prof. Franz Bairlein

Franz Bairlein is an ornithologist and researcher. He is a director of Institute of Avian Research (Germany) and professor of zoology at the University of Oldenburg (Germany). Since 1998 he is editor of the Journal of Ornithology. From 2001 to 2012 he was president of the German Ornithologist’s Society (DO-G), from 2010-2014 president of the International Ornithologist’s Union (IOU), and he is currently president of the European Union for Bird Ringing (EURING). Franz is researching bird’s migration strategies, avian nutritional ecology, and avian population biology, and he is much involved in conservation of migratory landbirds.

“The Aquatic Warbler, Europe’s rarest breeding songbird, deserves all our conservation efforts.”

Cath Jeffs

Cath Jeffs is a Project Manager in RSPB, ornithologist and farmland management adviser. Her main focus is on the conservation of Cirl Bunting and she has been part of the successful species recovery programme for 20 years. This included leading the Cirl Bunting’s reintroduction and this experience is really valuable in the context of Aquatic Warbler translocation.

“My first encounter with AW was on a wetland reserve in the far south west of England, I stood with a group of birdwatchers and finally got a brief view of a small brown streaky bird creeping through the rush – more mouse than bird! The thrill of seeing such a rare and enigmatic bird stayed with me and having the chance to input into the reintroduction of a globally threatened species is a great honour.”

Dr. Kevin A. Parker

Dr. Kevin A. Parker is a conservation scientist with expertise in threatened species management, using reintroduction biology, decision science, ecological restoration, and applied research to recover threatened populations.

Kevin’s interest began at an early age through watching television documentaries about the New Zealand Wildlife Service. Their heroic work using translocations to save birds from extinction were especially influential on a boy with an innate fascination with animals.

Kevin has subsequently worked as a park ranger, zoo keeper, conservation manager and conservation scientist. This has included extensive field work in remote locations in New Zealand, the New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands, Antarctica, the Middle East, U.S.A, the Torres Straight Islands, Palmyra Atoll (North Pacific) and the Solomon Islands.

He has been directly involved in >70 translocations of 12 species along with providing advice and support to many other translocation projects in New Zealand, and internationally. He is also a member of the New Zealand Hihi Recovery Group, the Kōkako Recovery Group, the Black Robin Advisory Group, and the IUCN Conservation Translocation Specialist Group. Kevin’s primary goal as a conservation scientist is to be useful and to bring about meaningful change through his work, whether that is in the field or at the desk.

I first became aware of the aquatic warbler at a talk given by Tim Birkhead and was immediately fascinated by the species. I also have a soft spot for secretive small brown birds! When I met Zymantas at the 2023 International Conservation Translocation Conference I was incredibly impressed with the reintroduction programme that BEF Lithuania has developed. Joining the SAB provides a great opportunity to share my experiences on other recovery programmes, along with learning about critical work in Europe”.