Research Staff

Technical management and research expertise on the refuge is provided by six RWR biologists, including a Biologist Manager and Refuge Program Manager. These biologists work on various monitoring, research, and inventory projects cited herein.

Although RWR has a substantial trust fund accumulated from past/present mineral exploration revenues from the refuge, the pursuance of grant money for research/applied science projects will always be beneficial.

The many partnerships that RWR has established throughout the years remain as important today as they have ever been. Past and future partnerships may involve other state (LSU Veterinary School, LSU Ag Center) and federal agencies (USFWS Southwest Louisiana Refuge Complex), as well as universities (McNeese State University, Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette) and environmental organizations (The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society). Furthermore, it is imperative that RWR staff maintains partnerships with local governments (Cameron and Vermilion Parish Police Juries) and neighboring landowners to provide a wide variety of marsh and coastal research, restoration, and educational projects.

Thomas Hess, RWR Program Manager
Tom Hess currently serves as Rockefeller's Program Manager. He has worked on various projects throughout his years working with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He has been beneficial in working with projects related to Brown Pelicans, Bald Eagles, and is currently working with and implementing the Reintroduction of the Whooping Crane to Louisiana Project.

Ruth M. Elsey, Biologist Manager
Ruth works to administer Louisiana's alligator farming program, coordinate research activities on wild alligators, and is involved in the wild alligator harvest program, particularly for the Rockefeller zone. She serves as a Chairman for North America for the IUCN's Crocodile Specialist Group. She has also conducted research on alligator snapping turtles, mottled ducks, feral pigs, and furbearers.

Will Selman, Research Wildlife Biologist/Research Coordinator
Will is currently a Research Wildlife Biologist and Research Coordinator at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. He received his Bachelor's degree in Biology from Millsaps College (2003) and thereafter, completed his doctoral degree from the University of Southern Mississippi (2010). His dissertation focused on the conservation and ecology of the Yellow-blotched Sawback. Recent and current work at Rockefeller has centered on a broad range of conservation biology and applied wldlife conservation projects including translocation of rehabilitated Brown Pelicans from the Gulf Horizon Oil Spill; life history, distribution, and abundance of Louisiana Diamondback Terrapins; reverine turtle status in southwestern Louisiana; Whooping Crane reintroduction to southwestern Louisiana; and impacts of oilfield exploration and disturbance on grassland bird diversity/abundance.

Phillip "Scooter" Trosclair, Biologist Supervisor/Habitat Management
Scooter has been involved with the Coastal and Non Game Resources Division, Alligator Program at Rockefeller Refuge for the past 13 years. Scooter has recently changed positions at Rockefeller and will now be responsible for Wetlands Management and Enhancement. His duties will be working with private landowners giving technical assistance, overseeing mineral management, and fisheries research and management.

Bruce Davis, Research Wildlife Biologist
Bruce is currently a Research Wildlife Biologist at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge. He received his BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University in 1996, his MS from Louisiana State University in 2007, and his PhD from Louisiana State University in August, 2012. His thesis work focused on the habitat use and survival of Mallards in NE Louisiana and SE Arkansas; his dissertation work focused on the movements, habitat use, and ecology of Mottled Ducks in Louisiana and Texas Gulf coast habitats. Bruce is currently developing proposals for new research in coastal Louisiana hatitats. His research interests focus on avian ecology and habitat management of coastal marsh environments with an emphasis on applied waterfowl research.