Brett has worked with migratory waders for more than 25 years, with a research focus on the demography and behavioral ecology of species breeding in arctic and grassland ecosystems. Brett first worked with Western and Semipalmated Sandpipers in western Alaska for a dissertation project and received his PhD from Simon Fraser University in 1997. He was a faculty member at Kansas State University for 17 years, where he completed the first long-term population study of Upland Sandpipers at sites in Kansas and Uruguay. For five years, Brett served as one of three coordinators for the Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network (ASDN), where project participants used a common set of field protocols to study shorebirds at field sites in Alaska, northern Canada, and Russia.
He is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research in Trondheim, Norway where he is involved with long-term monitoring programs for arctic and alpine vertebrates in Scandinavia.