The capstone speaker for the 2017 meeting will be Dr. Kay Holekamp. Dr. Holekamp’s research focuses on mammalian behavioral development and its physiological substrates. In particular, her research focuses on the ontogenetic development, physiological substrates, and evolution of mammalian behavior. Kay and her students are currently pursuing various lines of research investigating how social, ecological, and physiological variables interact during an individual’s early development to influence its subsequent behavior and its reproductive success as an adult.
The American Society of Mammalogists Conservation Awards Committee selected Héctor Ramirez-Chaves for the 2016 William T. Hornaday Award from the American Society of Mammalogists. Héctor is now a doctoral student at the University of Queensland in Australia and he has already made a strong impact on mammalian conservation in his homeland in northern South America and more recently with his fieldwork in Central Asia. Héctor has authored over 45 peer-reviewed papers (and many more technical reports), three books and four book chapters on various aspects of mammalogy. His published works include studies in conservation biology, natural history, and distribution studies of rodents, bats, shrews, anteaters, and especially small carnivores. He has also produced synthetic investigations of patterns of species richness and endemism in Neotropical mammals.
The 2015 recipient of the Albert R. and Alma Shadle award is Silvia Pavan from the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History. Ms. Pavan’s research focuses on the phylogeny, biogeography, and systematics of the genus Monodelphis (short-tailed opossums), the most species-rich genus of New World marsupials. Ms. Pavan has published 8 scientific papers in such journals as American Museum Novitates, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, and Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. She has presented her research at multiple conferences across North and South America, including the annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists. Ms. Pavan has received numerous fellowships, the award for the best oral presentation at the 2010 Brazilian Congress of Mammalogy, and research grants totaling approximately $18,000. She is a member of the Brazilian Society of Mammalogy and the American Society of Mammalogists.
The 2016 recipient of the Albert R. and Alma Shadle award is Angela Hornsby from the University of Nevada, Reno. Ms. Hornsby has published papers in Journal of Mammalogy, Journal of Mammalian Evolution, and Journal of Biogeography, and has presented her research at the annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists on 6 occasions. Ms. Hornsby has received numerous fellowships, including a 4-year NSF EPSCoR Nevada Climate Change Program fellowship, and research grants totaling approximately $17,000. She has also been very active in service and outreach, including as a manuscript reviewer for several journals, as a volunteer at UNR’s Museum of Natural History, in teaching high school students about genetics, and as the founder and coordinator of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Science Day at UNR. Ms. Hornsby’s research focuses on how mammals (particularly Neotoma) react and adapt to changing environments, and utilizes field collections, museum specimens, and ancient DNA.
The recipient of the 2016 American Society of Mammalogists Award is Bryan McLean from the University of New Mexico. Mr. McLean is the author of 6 publications in journals including Journal of Mammalogy, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, and Oecologia. He has presented at numerous scientific conferences, including 6 presentations at meetings of the American Society of Mammalogists. Mr. McLean is also a recent recipient of the Peter Buck Fellowship from the Smithsonian, and the Horner Award for the highest-ranked ASM Grant-in-Aid of Research proposal. Mr. McLean has served on the ASM Systematic Collections Committee for 4 years. Mr. McLean’s research focuses on the evolutionary diversification of ground squirrels, and uses approaches from molecular biology, genomics, paleontology, and morphometrics.
The 2016 recipient of the Joseph Grinnell Award is Dr. Joseph A. Cook, Professor of Biology, Director of the Museum of Southwestern Biology, and Curator of the Divisions Mammals and Division of Genomic Resources at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Joe’s career exemplifies the integration of teaching and research; he has mentored nearly 40 graduate students and 10 postdoctoral fellows, supervised more than 50 undergraduate research projects, and mentored over 85 high school students. With these students, he has published over 180 scholarly works. Joe regularly teaches Mammalogy and Tropical Biology courses and many students note that these are the best classes they have ever taken. He has remained committed to maintaining a rigorous field component in these courses providing students unique hands on learning opportunities “in the environments where organisms exist and the threats to them are observable.” Students note his commitment to training “broadly educated students who are thoughtful, aware and engaged.” And that he “gives people the tools they need, puts them in situations where they can succeed and challenges them to do so.” Joe is widely recognized for his career-long commitment to broadening diversity in the STEM disciplines and to stimulating academic development of local, minority, and native students across South, Central, and North America. The intellectual nexus for this geographically and culturally diverse community has been: fundamental ecological and evolutionary research firmly rooted with natural history collections. Joe has led initiatives like the UNO program to immerse student scholars in ecological and evolutionary research, the AIM-UP program that integrates natural history collections into undergraduate education, and the ISLES program that links university researchers, public school teachers and natural resource agencies to stimulate museum-based learning.
The recipient of the 2016 Aldo Leopold Award is Dr. Marco Festa-Bianchet, Professor of Biology, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada. Dr. Festa-Bianchet has focused on understanding how ecological change and selective pressures may affect the population biology and reproductive strategies of mammals. He and his more than 40 graduate students have used critical tests of ecological and evolutionary theory as a basis for pressing conservation and management issues in Canada, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. Much of his work has emphasized the importance of individual responses of wildlife, especially ungulates, through long-term monitoring of marked individuals. Dr. Festa-Bianchet’s studies of the evolutionary impact of trophy hunting are well known and have demonstrated how hunters can affect morphology and life history and ultimately may be detrimental to local populations. His highly influential contributions have caused wildlife managers to re-examine the potential ecological and evolutionary impacts of harvest management strategies. Dr. Festa-Bianchet’s efforts to translate research into conservation policy have been critical in Canada and globally. In Canada, he was elected Chair of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada for two terms (2002-2006) and co-Chair Terrestrial Mammals Species Subcommittee. While leading these committees, Dr. Festa-Bianchet carefully assembled expertise on threatened species and then guided his committee’s efforts to develop thoughtful and effective conservation plans for Canada’s terrestrial mammals throughout the first decade of the 21st Century. For more than 15 years, he also has served as Chair of the IUCN\SSC Caprinae Specialist Group and he is on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the World Wildlife Fund. His many students have moved into prominent roles in academia, government, and private industry, where they continue to contribute to the conservation of mammalian biodiversity. In total, Dr. Festa-Bianchet’s research, mentoring, and public service activities over the past three decades have significantly impacted the conservation of mammals (and other organisms).
The 2016 recipient of the Merriam Award is Dr. Joel Brown from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Brown is an evolutionary ecologist who explores how does natural selection acting as an optimization process determines feeding behaviors, population characteristics, and the properties of communities. His research includes the mathematical formulation and field tests of models and hypotheses based on foraging theory, consumer-resource models of species coexistence, and evolutionary game theory using the concept of evolutionary stable strategies (ESS). At present, he is using the giving-up density approach to examine the ecology of fear in fox squirrels, the community organization of desert granivores in the Negev Desert, Israel, the effects of granivory, herbivory, and fire on prairie restorations, and applications to the ecology of black rhinoceros, show leopards preying upon blues sheep, and mountain lions preying upon mule deer.