Dr. Welsh has been at UT since 1993. Prior to joining NIMBioS he was affiliated with the Risk Analysis Group, focusing on ecological risk assessment methods and wildlife exposure models, first in the School of Information Science and later in The Institute for Environmental Modeling. He was an active member of the development team for SADA (Spatial Analysis and Decision Assistance), a software program designed to facilitate the use of geospatial modeling capabilities in risk assessment. More recently he has been interested in using Christmas Bird Count data to investigate changes in bird species distributions.
He received his Ph.D. in Forestry and Wildlife Management from the University of Massachusetts where he investigated relationships between forest management practices and bird community composition. From 1986 to 1992 he worked in the Wildlife Research Unit of the USDA Forest Service's Northeastern Forest Experiment Station studying forest bird-habitat relationships and the dynamics of small mammal populations in relation to forest management practices.
Dr. Welsh is a past president of the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society and former editor for The Migrant, the journal of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. In 2010 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Tennessee Ornithological Society. He spends considerable time on birding pursuits (every trip is a birding opportunity), has coached the Ornithology event for Science Olympiad, and is a mentor for the local Science Academy. He is also active in the community as a cross country running coach.