Capstone & Plenary Speakers

Plenary I Speakers


Kristoffer EverattThis 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.




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.




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.





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.




Plenary II Speakers


The 2018 recipient of the Joseph Grinnell Award is Dr. M. Denise Dearing, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology, University of Utah. At the University of Utah, Denise has taught Mammalogy, Ecology Laboratory, Advanced Topics in Ecology and Evolution, and Bio-Boot Camp.  For excellence in the classroom, she was recognized with the 2001 Student’s Choice Award, and the 2008 Distinguished University teaching award at the University of Utah. Denise has sponsored 11 PhD students and 17 postdoctoral scholars, with whom she has published over 150 papers.  Nearly 75% of these individuals are from traditionally under-represented groups, but they now fill the ranks of various academic institutions and continue to train the next generation of mammalogists. For her achievements in mentoring, Denise was recognized by the University of Utah with the 2009 Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor award. Denise’s career has been exemplified by pushing the boundaries of mammalogy and functional ecology, for which she received the 2014 C. Hart Merriam Award, but she has also pushed the boundaries of what typically limits full inclusion in academia, especially for women. Denise was, herself, a first generation college student who began her education at a 2-year community college. As a new Assistant professor, when she was faced with limited options for childcare at her institution, she spearheaded a campaign to create a campus childcare program eventually called Biokids. She conceived the idea, developed the resources, rallied the faculty, acquired space, and oversaw the establishment of this facility that has improved the educational and working environment for women and families.



The recipient of the 2018 Aldo Leopold award is Dr. Steve Goodman of the Field Museum of Natural History. Although the primary focus of Dr. Goodman’s research has been on the mammals of Madagascar, he has conducted research in numerous other African countries. His principal research interests are: 1) inventories of unknown or poorly known forested areas, 2) describing new species and elucidating the evolutionary history of Malagasy mammals, 3) application of gathered data in the advancement of conservation programs, and 4) capacity building for Malagasy conservation biologists, particularly graduate students. Dr. Goodman is a founder of the Association Vahatra, a grass-roots organization that promotes conservation of Madagascar’s native fauna while training the next generation of Malagasy scientists in ecology and conservation biology. Over the last three decades, Dr. Goodman has helped create a whole generation of biologist and conservationists by training dozens of Malagasy graduate students and hundreds of undergraduates in modern ecological techniques, including best practices for field surveys, museum collections, data acquisition, and analysis. He has actively applied their distribution and abundance data to various large-scale conservation projects and were vitally involved in the 2003 national plan to triple the size of the protected areas system. Every letter of support highlighted the profound and lasting impact he has had, not only on the understanding of mammalian taxonomy and conservation, but on the Malagasy people as well. To date, Dr. Goodman has received numerous awards from other organizations for his major contributions, including the Biodiversity Leadership Award (Bay and Paul Foundation, 2004), the Conservation Leadership Award (World Wildlife Fund, 2004), and was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2005 and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow in 2013.


Dr. Stan Boutin of the University of Alberta is the 2018 recipient of the C. Hart Merriam Award. He obtained his B.S. from the University of Alberta (Honors), and his M.S. (Zoology) and Ph.D. (Zoology) from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Boutin served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph, and ultimately was promoted through the professorial ranks at the University of Alberta. He now holds the Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair in the Department of Biology. Dr. Boutin has an exceptional record of publications, including 266 peer-reviewed papers. He also has published 1 book, and edited another—he has an additional 19 publications as book chapters and in symposia. He remains remarkably active with 57 papers published in the past 5 years, many with his numerous M.S. and Ph.D. students, and his Post-Doctoral Fellows. Dr. Boutin also has done an excellent job of funding his research and that of his graduate students and Post-Doctoral Fellows. Since 1984, he has received $30 million from NSERC (the Canadian equivalent of NSF) and other sources. Dr. Boutin has made significant contributions to our understanding of mammalian behavioral ecology, population dynamics, and conservation biology. The body of research for which Dr. Boutin is most renowned is his ground-breaking research into the factors that drive the evolution and dynamics of wildlife populations. Using mammals as his primary focus, he has made major and fundamental contributions to our understanding of predator-prey dynamics, the role of food, habitat selection and spacing behavior as factors determining population size, and the contributions of the genotype and phenotype of organisms in facilitating their responses to changing environments. Using judicious field experiments and one of the longest population studies on any mammal (data on ~10,000 individual squirrels sampled over more than 25 years), allowed him to test hypotheses and extend theory in areas as diverse as the effects of personality on reproduction, senescence, energetics, maternal effects and other key components that underpin individual fitness. Dr. Boutin’s contributions to science have not gone unnoticed. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has received the Society’s Romanowski Medal for contributions to environmental sciences. He was honored with the J. Gordin Kaplin Award for excellence in research (the University of Alberta’s highest research honor). He received the William Rowan Distinguished Service Award from the Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society, as well as 2 Outstanding Publication Awards from The Wildlife Society.


Capstone Speakers


Dr. Thomas Lovejoy was elected University Professor at George Mason in March 2010. He previously held the Biodiversity Chair at the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment and was President from 2002-2008. An ecologist who has worked in the Brazilian Amazon since 1965, he works on the interface of science and environmental policy. Starting in the 1970’s he helped bring attention to the issue of tropical deforestation and in 1980 published the first estimate of global extinction rates (in the Global 2000 Report to the President). He conceived the idea for the long-term study on forest fragmentation in the Amazon (started in 1978) which is the largest experiment in landscape ecology, the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (also known as the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project). He also coined the term “Biological diversity”, originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps and has worked on the interaction between climate change and biodiversity for more than 30 years. He is the founder of the public television series “Nature”. In the past, he served as the Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation, as the Chief Biodiversity Advisor to the World Bank as well as Lead Specialist for the Environment for the Latin American region, as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental and External Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution, and as Executive Vice President of World Wildlife Fund-US. In 2002, he was awarded the Tyler Prize, and in 2009 he was the winner of BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology Category. In 2012 he received the Blue Planet Prize. He has served on advisory councils in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton administrations. In 2009 he was appointed Conservation Fellow by the National Geographic Society. He chaired the Scientific and Technical Panel for the Global Environment Facility which provides funding related to the international environmental conventions from 2009-2013 and serves as Advisor to the current Chair.  He received his B.S. and Ph.D. (Biology) from Yale University.


Dr. Gerardo Ceballos has been actively working on the diversity, ecology and conservation of mammals in Mexico and the entire world for at least 30 years. He is a pioneer in many fields in mammal ecology and conservation in Mexico. Not only has he led the first ever long-term community and population biology studies of Mexican mammals in the early 1980’s, but he has also pioneered reintroduction of endangered species such as the black-footed ferret and eradication of exotic species from islands of the Gulf of California. He has published well over 200 peer-reviewed papers in the primary literature and over 30 very influential books, including some of the most significant papers on mammal ecology, biodiversity, biogeography and conservation published in Science in the past couple of years. He has also published a truly daunting volume, the Mammals of Mexico, a major landmark in the discipline given the huge task at hand (Mexico is country # 3 in terms of numbers of mammal species in the world), and the extraordinary difficulty of attempting to compile this humongous, extremely useful volume for anyone working on mammals in Mexico and its neighboring countries. His influence has flourished and mushroomed, with dozens of his students occupying key positions in many universities, local, state, and federal government agencies, and virtually every NGO active in Mexico. All those that recommended him commented particularly on his extraordinary ability to “operationalize his science” and achieve meaningful conservation outcomes on the ground. Many of the most important protected areas in Mexico, from the Chamela-Cuixmala reserve (the only one with a significant extension of the endemic-rich Mexican tropical dry forest) to the San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California to the last remaining extensive grasslands of North America in Chihuahua, owe their existence in great part to his efforts.


Dr. Kate Jones is Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity, Director of the Biodiversity Modelling Research Group in the Centre for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (CBER), within the Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment (GEE) at University College London. Dr. Jones is a world-leading biodiversity modeller known for her innovative, broad cross-disciplinary research in the linkages between global change, biodiversity and ecosystem services, winning the Philip Leverhulme Prize for outstanding contributions to Zoology in 2008. Dr. Jones holds scientific advisory positions for a number of national and international conservation charities and was the Chair of The Bat Conservation Trust from 2010-2015. She also directs a number of citizen science projects monitoring biodiversity globally. Dr. Jones is a passionate science communicator and regularly appears in the national and international media, including the Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4 in 2015. Allegedly*, Charles Darwin is her 8th cousin (6 times removed).