Plenary I Speakers

2019 ANNIE M. ALEXANDER AWARD

Marie Martin is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is advised by Dr. Jonathan Pauli. She is broadly interested in the ecology of free-ranging animals with particular regards to movement, energetics, and responses to landscape change. In her current position, Marie is implementing a variety of techniques (e.g., doubly-labelled water, GPS collars) to understand how a forest carnivore of interest, the Pacific marten, moves through a heterogeneous landscape in northern California and how shifting abiotic and biotic landscape conditions alter marten movement and resource selection patterns and, consequently, energetic expenditures. After completing her Master’s, Marie is excited to pursue further opportunities to better understand how landscape change affects the ecology of free-ranging species of interest. Though she currently spends most of her time writing and fiddling with R code, Marie also enjoys knitting, backpacking, biking, and hanging out with her dog, Sheila.

 


2019 ELMER C. BIRNEY AWARD

Brian Tanis is currently finishing a PhD in Zoology at Oregon State University, where he is advised by Dr. Rebecca Terry. Brian’s research interests surround how interactions between and within species have shaped large scale ecological and evolutionary processes. Specifically, he leverages modern, historical, and paleontological museum specimens to reconstruct changing interactions within mammalian mesopredators. For his dissertation, Brian tested the spatial impacts of mesopredator release on diet shifts in Pacific Northwest canids over the last century following extirpation of wolves, coupled with a temporal analysis of the link between dietary specialization, clade-level competition, and species longevity spanning the last 33 million years of evolutionary history within the Canidae. Previously, Brian earned a master’s degree from Fort Hays State University, studying occupancy dynamics of foxes and coyotes near wind. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University, where he excavated and sorted small rodent fossils from a Pleistocene cave deposit. Brian’s long-term goals are to integrate modern, historical, and paleoecology research to inform fundamental and applied questions at broader spatial and temporal scales than are typically considered in ecological and conservation research.


2019 A. BRAZIER HOWELL AWARD

Dakota Rowsey is an evolutionary biologist affiliated with the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History and Ph.D. program in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, advised by Dr. Sharon Jansa. Dakota is interested in integrating molecular phylogenies and phenotypic data to infer historical macroevolutionary and biogeographic processes. His dissertation research focuses on the two clades of “Old Endemic” murine rodents of the Philippines to determine whether repeated colonization of spatially-limited island systems influences the tempo and mode of lineage diversification and ecomorphological evolution. Specifically, Dakota’s research tests multiple hypotheses regarding potential competitive advantages presented to the incumbent, or primary-colonizing, murine lineage in the system. Following the anticipated defense of his dissertation in May 2019, Dakota will begin a postdoctoral research position at the Field Museum of Natural History, working with Dr. Lawrence Heaney to explore the role of island ontogeny in the diversification and biogeography of the endemic rodents of the Philippines.

 


2019 ANNA M. JACKSON AWARD

Katie Stanchak is currently finishing her PhD in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington and the Department of Mammalogy at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture under Dr. Sharlene Santana. Prior to embarking on a career as a mammalogist, Katie received her undergraduate degree from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Her primary scientific interests are mammalian evolution and skeletal biology, and her dissertation research is focused on explaining the origin and diversification of a novel skeletal element in bats. This project is inherently integrative, drawing on methods from comparative anatomy, development, biomechanics, and macroevolution. Katie’s long-term research goals are to use this interdisciplinary approach to reveal the sources of evolutionary novelty in the vertebrate skeleton (particularly in small mammals) and to understand the potential impacts of skeletal plasticity on skeletal evolution.

 


2018 WILLIAM T. HORNADAY AWARD

This year’s recipient of the William T. Hornaday award is Kristoffer Everatt from Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth South Africa. Kris has a long history of mammal conservation, beginning as a guide for photographic expeditions of wolves and grizzly bears throughout the Yukon Territory and the Arctic. This experience inspired him to pursue a career as a conservation biologist. He obtained a Bachelors of Science with distinction from Vancouver Island University and went then went on to do a Masters at the University of Pretoria, South Africa on the status and ecology of lion, cheetah, wild dog, leopard and hyena existing in the human impacted Limpopo National Park. Some of this data provided the first evidence of these species current occurrence in Mozambique. He is now completing his PhD in Zoology at Nelson Mandela University on the influence of poaching on the landscape ecology and conservation biology of lions in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. He has been actively engaged in creating policy, including contributing to the development of a National Action Plan for the Conservation of Lions in Mozambique and on-the-ground programs such as the Greater Limpopo Carnivore Program, the Limpopo Lion Guardians, and the Limpopo Elephant Program. Upon completion of his PhD he will be the director of Panthera’s newly established African Lion and Poaching program.


2018 ALBERT R. & ALMA SHADLE FELLOWSHIP AWARD

The 2018 recipient of the Albert R. and Alma Shadle award is Jocelyn Colella of University of New Mexico.Ms. Colella has received grants from the Joseph Gaudin Fellowship in Mammalogy and the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology at the University of New Mexico and the American Society of Mammalogists, in addition to substantial state and federal agency support of her work. Ms. Colella has published in journals such as Nature Communications Biology, Journal of Mammalogy, Canadian Journal of Zoology, and Arctic Science. She is an active member of ASM, serving as the student board member and an active member on the Biodiversity Committee. Ms. Colella presented at ASM conferences 4 times since 2013. Ms. Colella’s dissertation research focuses on understanding how dynamic episodes of climate change in the Late Quaternary have led to recurrent bouts of admixture that impacts the evolution of high-latitude meso-carnivores; specifically, marten (Martes americana and Martes caurina) and ermine (Mustela erminea). By synthesizing genomics and morphometrics, she strives to increase our understanding of the role of hybridization in mammals, and also to provide new information and tools to managers for use in conservation. Ms. Colella plans to use funds from the Albert R. and Alma Shadle Fellowship to complete genomic sequencing for Martes.


2017 ASM FELLOWSHIP AWARD

The recipient of the 2017 American Society of Mammalogists Fellowship is Anne-Marie Hodge from the University of Wyoming. Ms. Hodge has received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a NASA Space Grant Fellowship, in addition to numerous other grants and awards. She has published multiple papers from her dissertation, master’s thesis, and an REU project. She also has an impressive record of writing for a general audience, with several pieces published in Scientific American, and has been the primary instructor for an undergraduate mammalogy class at the University of Wyoming. She has been a member of ASM since 2008, is a founding member of the African Graduate Student Field Research Fund committee, and has given multiple presentations at ASM meetings. She organized a crowd funding campaign to support the African Graduate Student Field Research Fund, and has reviewed for Journal of Mammalogy. Ms. Hodge’s research focuses on interactions between native small mammals and invasive plants in Kenya, and she plans to use ASM Fellowship funding to collect additional data on the effects of a biocontrol campaign on diet shifts in olive baboons.

 


2018 ASM FELLOWSHIP AWARD

The recipient of the 2018 American Society of Mammalogists Fellowship is Brooks Kohli from University of New Hampshire. Mr. Kohli was a NOAA Hollings Scholar, was the recipient of the ASM Annie M. Alexander Award, and has received numerous other grants, scholarships, and awards.  He has published work from his dissertation, master’s thesis, and undergraduate research in journals such as Ecography, Journal of Biogeography, and Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, and has presented at national and international meetings.  He has also held several positions with wildlife management agencies and was a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Southwestern Biology.  Mr. Kohli has been an active member of ASM since 2010, serving on the Biodiversity Committee and Informatics Committee, and presenting at the annual meeting multiple years. Mr. Kohli’s dissertation integrates field work, museum records, and ecomorphology to investigate community assembly, diversity gradients, and change in small mammal communities over the last century in the Great Basin. He applies a multi-dimensional perspective of diversity (functional, phylogenetic, taxonomic dimensions) to uncover drivers of community structure and dynamics. He plans to use ASM Fellowship funding as support during the final year of his dissertation and to attend meetings where he can share his work with regional stakeholders in the Great Basin.


2019 UNDERGRADUATE HONORARIA AWARDS

Robert Beers is an undergraduate student at the University of Oklahoma. He is currently studying to complete his bachelor’s degree as a Biology major with a minor in Psychology. Drawn to nature since he was a child, he spent countless nights camping and backpacking, including at the Philmont Scout Ranch in the Boy Scouts of America on his path to reaching the rank of Eagle Scout. Through college, his interest in nature has continued and expanded into research. Robert got his start in fieldwork at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station, trapping multiple species of small mammals and collecting specimens with Dr. Brandi Coyner. In the summer of 2018, Robert joined a field project in Yellowstone, led by Dr. Hayley Lanier and Dr. R. Scott Seville, focused on understanding the impacts of fires on mammal community assembly. His work included trapping and prepping various species of small mammals, collecting invertebrate and vegetative data, and analyzing data for changes in species richness and abundance. Robert is currently an undergraduate researcher at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, where he is working on data analysis and specimen preparation. He has identified various vole and Sorex species caught in the field at Yellowstone to help better understand the small mammal community dynamics. In 2018, Robert presented his Yellowstone research at the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists Annual Meeting where he was awarded the best undergraduate student poster award. Robert is currently weighing opportunities for attending medical school against biology-focused graduate work, and is excited to learn more about mammal research at this year’s ASM annual meeting.


Maya Juman is an undergraduate at Yale University, completing a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, as well as a certificate in Statistics and Data Science. She conducts research in the Mammalian Evolutionary Morphology Lab with Dr. Eric Sargis. Her current project involves exploring ecogeographic variation in the large treeshrew (Scandentia: Tupaiidae) using morphometric osteological data from the hands and skulls of museum specimens. Last summer, she collected and analyzed data for this research at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History under the guidance of Dr. Neal Woodman. She will be presenting her results at the 2019 American Society of Mammalogists meeting. Maya has previously worked on Permian reptile cranial evolution with Dr. Anjan Bhullar at Yale. She also analyzed pseudoxyrophiine snake speciation with Dr. Sara Ruane at the American Museum of Natural History and coauthored a paper describing a new cryptic species on Madagascar. Following her graduation in May 2020, she intends to pursue a Master’s degree in biogeography and systematics. Alternatively, she is interested in taking a year off to work on scientific outreach and wildlife conservation, while gaining some field experience. Ultimately, she plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in evolutionary biology.