The Ted and Donna Lyon Center for Gamebird Research at Texas A&M University-Commerce is an internationally recognized hub for gamebird research. Established in 2023 by a generous donation from Ted and Donna Lyon and led by founding director Dr. Kelly Reyna, the center's mission is to discover solutions for sustainable gamebird populations through innovative research, education and collaboration.

Our focus is on population sustainability of upland gamebirds and waterfowl. What makes us unique is our comprehensive research spanning life stages from embryo to adult and taking place in our state-of-the-art laboratory and in the wild on our large-scale research stations.

With the success of our research we are now building a new gamebird research and education facility, with construction starting on phase 1 in 2024.

Our Research

Explore solutions Lyon Center scientists are discovering for sustainable gamebird populations and bridging the gap between gamebird knowledge and conservation progress. Our major research includes investigations into:

Quail Research Laboratory

Since 50-80% of quail adults die each year, and a quail's lifespan is ~6 months, quail populations hinge on sustained quail chick production. Yet, that is the main cause of quail population decline in drought years. Accordingly, The Quail Research Laboratory is able to recreate field conditions in the lab to develop solutions for chick production in adverse conditions. We also develop the normal stages of development for various quail species and look at environmental pollutants and medicated feed on quail chick production and development.

A quail chick

Gamebird and quail populations are declining across the globe. Developing solutions for population sustainability is key to reversing these trends. The Quail Research Laboratory is unique in that our smallest research stations spans more than 500,000 acres. We image large-scale populations through innovative monitoring and provide results that explain observed mysteries of “where did all the quail go?” We have research stations in Montana, Kansas, California and Texas with comprehensive research into the impacts of climate, weather, management and other factors on a suite of upland gamebirds and waterfowl.

As gamebirds across the globe continue to decline, population restoration is at the forefront of conservation action. Once habitat is restored, gamebird restoration becomes a prominent focus. However, historic releases of captive-reared quail have been unsuccessful and translocation are typically cost prohibitive to make a positive impact on a population level. Accordingly, The Quail Research Laboratory is leading the charge to develop an affordable and effective solution to gamebird restoration. Our Super Quail project is promising and a new Super Quail production facility will begin production in early 2024. We suspect we are on the brink of large-scale population restoration.

Dr. Reyna and student setting quails free.

The Super Quail Project works to produce an affordable gamebird with wild-type survivability and a more stringent thermal tolerance so that they are prolific in challenging environments. We've made great progress in this arena and are building a Super Quail Production facility that will begin construction in 2024.

Waterfowl Research

Coming Soon!

Faculty and Student Researchers

Kelly Reyna, Ph.D.

My laboratory focus is on discovering practical solutions to modern quail and grassland bird problem…

Jeffrey Whitt, Ph.D.

Life on this planet is beautiful, bizarre, complicated, messy, confusing, disgusting, astonishing an…

Aujarai Ivy

Whether it’s an internship, an assignment for a class or just volunteering for a professor or gradua…

Tina Reichner

Since joining the quail team, I have noticed considerable growth in my confidence and public speakin…

Brooke Clifton

My dream job is working with other scientists performing studies and acts that ensure the continuati…

Laritza Tinajero

I could not be more grateful to be part of a great crew that has helped grow my passion for becoming…

Grace James

Choosing gamebird research has given me the opportunity to fully engage in my passion for this type …

Lexxi Godwin

Here, you will find a close-knit group of people who have a passion for quail and other gamebirds an…

Two students watch as a professor examines a quail egg.

Join Our Team

The Lyon Center is hiring a new waterfowl professor! Come join our amazing team as we work to discover solutions for sustainable gamebird populations. Work alongside our team with motivated students, accomplished faculty and a supportive working environment.

Ted and Donna Lyon

In December 2022, the Lyons made a historic $1 million donation to A&M-Commerce, the largest immediate-impact gift in the university’s history. This donation supports gamebird research, a new research center and an endowed professorship, committed to sustainable gamebird populations and conservation.

High school sweethearts Ted and Donna Lyon have deep ties to Northeast Texas. Ted is a former police officer who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) and a Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University School of Law. Donna worked as an executive assistant for Southwestern Bell.

Their unrelenting stewardship of wildlife and natural spaces inspired them to create a legacy of conservation that matches the center’s mission to foster sustainable gamebird populations through innovative research, education and collaboration.

Take a Sneak Peek!

Phase I will consist of the construction of the Super Quail Complex, including a super quail production facility, super quail grow-out building and a super quail training facility.

Phase II: Gamebird Community Engagement

We are raising funds for this very important phase of the Lyon Center. Phase II will include a gamebird education building, a quail interactive experience, a quail research laboratory, a waterfowl research pavilion, and offices for students and faculty.

Commemorate Your Legacy!

Your support is vital to our success! Mark your legacy with a naming-rights donation for the Super Quail Complex or one of the state-of-the-art buildings in Phase I, or contribute to construction on Phase II to make a lasting impact on gamebird populations for generations to come!

Contact Dr. Kelly Reyna, director of the Lyon Center, at [email protected] or 940.395.5128, or Devin Girod, VP of Philanthropy, at [email protected] or 214.449.6555 for more information!

You Can Help

Give the Gift of Gamebirds

Giving Form and introduction Gamebirds

Help us shape the future of gamebird research and sustainability through your generous gift. The Lyon Center for Gamebird Research depends on charitable gifts to support our research, faculty and students. We welcome new and continuing support of individuals, corporations and foundation partners.

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