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2015 COS Board of Directors Nominees

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The following 5 people (in alphabetical order) have agreed to be nominated for the Cooper Ornithological Society (COS) Board of Directors to serve from 2015 to 2018.


Jen C. Owen is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University in the Departments of Fisheries and Wildlife and Large Animal Clinical Sciences. She received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology from University of Montana, Missoula in 1993 and her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2004. Her early work focused on threatened and endangered species, including Mexican Spotted Owl and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher before developing a research program focused on the health and disease ecology of migratory birds. Her interdisciplinary research program addresses issues at the interface of wild bird, human, and environmental health and focuses in the areas of ecoimmunology, behavioral ecology, and conservation medicine. Along with collaborators and students, she has published 24 refereed papers. Her research has been funded from multiple agencies, including the National Science Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

She is the member of several ornithological, ecological, and wildlife disease societies and has served her societies in a number of different roles. She served as the Editor of The Condor: Ornithological Applications and was on the Editorial Board for Studies in Avian Biology. She served as an Elective Councilor for the American Ornithologist Union’s and as the Committee Chair for AOU Membership and Early Professional Committees. She is the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2017 AOU/COS/SCO-SOC meeting in East Lansing, Michigan.


Garth Spellman is an Associate Professor of Vertebrate Evolution at Black Hills State University and a Program Director in the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation. In August 2015, he will begin a new position as the Curator of Ornithology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He received a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College in 1996, a M.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks in 2000, and a Ph.D. from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2006. His focused research efforts use a combination of specimen based fieldwork and genetic and genomic methods to examine how past and current climate change have impacted biological and genetic diversity in North American birds. This research involves collaborative work with undergraduates, graduate students and colleagues, and produced over 25 refereed papers and several technical reports. The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and South Dakota Department of Fish and Game have funded his research. Garth is also interested in broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines. He has served as project lead on two National Science Foundation funded initiatives to assist Native American students at Black Hills State University and Oglala Lakota College in the completion of STEM degrees and serves on several broadening participation committees at the National Science Foundation. Garth is a member of several ornithological and evolutionary societies and frequently participates and facilitates society driven broadening participation activities.


David Swanson is a Professor of Biology at the University of South Dakota, where he also currently serves as Director of the Missouri River Institute and has also served as department chair. He received a B.S. in Biology from George Fox University and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Oregon State University. His research program is broadly based in the areas of ecological and conservation physiology, the evolution of physiological adaptation in animals, and ornithology. Within these broad areas, his specific research foci include patterns and mechanisms of seasonal phenotypic flexibility in response to changing energy demands (e.g., winter and migration) in birds, and use of natural and anthropogenic woodland and wetland habitats by migrating and breeding birds. His research program is integrative in nature, and includes ecological, organismal, organ/tissue, biochemical and molecular approaches within these research foci. David has authored or co-authored one book and over 80 peer-reviewed articles in a variety of journals, including The Condor, The Auk, Journal of Avian Biology, Journal of Ornithology, Evolution, and Journal of Experimental Biology. His research has been funded by several federal, state and private agencies, including the National Science Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the American Philosophical Society. In addition to his work in the Northern Prairie region, David has conducted field work in Chile and Poland, the former on a Fulbright Teaching and Research Fellowship. David is a member of several professional societies, and has served the Cooper Society in a variety of roles, including Chair of the Painton Award committee, book review editor for The Condor (2004-2011), and reviewing editor for The Condor (2008-2013), and he currently serves as an Associate Editor for The Condor: Ornithological Applications. He has also been involved in efforts to increase participation of underrepresented groups in science, including efforts to engage Native American students in ornithological research.


Morgan Tingley is an Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. He received his B.A. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University in 2003, an M.Sc. in Zoology from Oxford University in 2004, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. He completed post-docs with the Institute for Bird Populations and Princeton University, during which he was awarded a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship. Since 2002, his published work has centered at the intersection of bird distributions and community dynamics with global change ecology. His work primarily is focused on bird communities along temperate elevational gradients, particularly the Appalachians and the Sierra Nevada of California, and how these communities are impacted by climate change, invasive species, habitat conversion, and fire. He has co-authored 19 refereed papers in a range of journals, including The Condor, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and Global Change Biology. In 2012, he was awarded the Young Professional Award by the Cooper Ornithological Society, and in 2014 – with the Institute for Bird Populations – he was awarded a “Wings Across America” conservation award from the USDA Forest Service. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of Studies in Avian Biology, is a Subject Editor for Ecography, and actively reviews for over 25 ornithological, conservation, and ecological journals, including Auk, Condor, Wilson Journal of Ornithology, and Journal of Field Ornithology.  Passionate about engaging new generations of ornithologists, Morgan served on the Communications Committee of the prospective Society for Ornithology from 2011 to 2012, and more recently has helped develop the website .



Blair Wolf is a professor of biology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  He has been a life member of the Cooper Society since 1990 and has served on the board of directors for a single term from 2002-2005, when he also served as chair of the publications committee.  Blair was the driving force in the creation of SORA, which now encompasses more than a dozen journal titles and provides free access to ornithological literature to both scientists and amateur ornithologists worldwide.  Blair’s research focuses on the physiological ecology and natural history of birds and other vertebrates with a particular interest in the effects of global warming on desert bird communities.  He is very interested in student training and has trained a number of undergraduate, masters and PhD students. As a member of the board of directors, Blair would work with the ornithological community and Cooper society to bring more young people into ornithology by encouraging membership, meeting attendance and grants programs for students, engagement in social media, and he would also encourage greater society engagement in conservation issues. He would also work towards expanding the impact and size of the publications of the Cooper Society to broaden access.



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