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  1. The American Ornithologists' Union is soliciting nominations for the office of Treasurer. As an officer of the governing Council, the Treasurer provides leadership and strategic governance for the Society. As a member of the Executive Committee, the Treasurer implements the strategic initiatives of the AOU to advance its long-term goals. While day-to-day operations and financial management of the AOU are led by the Executive Director, the Treasurer is fully engaged in financial oversight, and advises management, as requested, on accounting and reporting policies and procedures. All AOU members are eligible to hold the office of Treasurer. Further details about the position are included in the job description, which is available here: http://www.americanornithology.org/content/aou-treasurer-position If you are interested in this position, please contact AOU President Scott Lanyon (lanyo001@umn.edu). Nominations are due by 27 March 2015. If you are nominating someone other than yourself, you must include documentation that the nominee is willing to stand for election.
  2. In 1814 volume 9 of Alexander Wilson's monumental American Ornithology was published thereby completing his description of the birds of the United States. The nine-volume set was the first major scientific publication of the young republic and the founding document of American ornithology. It was widely admired by European scientists of the day. Indeed, Baron Cuvier commented "Wilson treats their birds far better than ours have yet been treated." To commemorate the 200th anniversary of its publication, Ohio Wesleyan University will celebrate Wilson's life and accomplishments in a symposium "Alexander Wilson and the making of American Ornithology." The symposium will be held on 23 April 2014 beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing through dinner. Details of the program, meals and an exhibit of Wilson's artwork, publications and notes are available at http://Wilson200.owu.edu where you can also register. Registration by 9 April is requested for planning meals, breaks and an afternoon reception at the exhibit.
  3. The 2011 William Brewster Memorial Award is presented to Sandra L. Verhencamp, Emeritus Faculty in the Laboratory of Ornithology and Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Dr. Verhencamp earned a B.A. from the University of California – Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior at Cornell University where she was a student of Dr. Stephen T. Emlen. Her dissertation was on the evolution of communal nesting in groove-billed anis. Dr. Vehrencamp is a behavioral ecologist who studies social evolution in birds. Her research integrates the evolution of social behavior, life history evolution, signal evolution, sexual selection, and parental care. Within the broad category of social evolution, Dr. Vehrencamp has made important contributions to several different areas of ornithology: the evolution of cooperative breeding, including general theoretical work; the reproductive ecology of Crotophagine cuckoos with a focus on the evolution of joint nesting; the evolutionary significance of sexual displays; and evolutionary aspects of avian song. She has published over 65 papers, which have been cited more than 2400 times, and has authored 19 book chapters. Principals of Animal Communication is a respected and very influential textbook co-authored with Jack Bradbury and published in 1998. The book is considered the reference for the evolutionary and proximate aspects of animal signals and communication. It is a tour de force used both as an upper division textbook as well as a high level reference book for researchers in the field, including ornithologists. That the text has been cited over 1100 times attests to its value to the field. Dr. Verhencamp’s early work on the reproductive ecology of grove-billed anis focused on the evolution of joint nesting (also known as communal nesting), a form of cooperative breeding. At the time, much of the field of cooperative breeding was dominated by studies of helpers at the nest (i.e. non-breeding individuals). Her ani work helped to broaden the sorts of behaviors included in studies of cooperative breeding to include social groups with multiple breeding individuals. Equally important, Dr. Verhencamp’s work on reproductive competition within social breeding groups of anis played a critical role in forcing evolutionary biologists to pay more attention to the conflicts of interest that are often rife in putatively cooperative social groups of animals. Her two most important papers on the ani work were published in Science and Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology respectively. Dr. Vehrencamp’s work on anis, and the reproductive antics that female anis use to alter their share of the reproductive pie, led to two ground-breaking theoretical papers on reproductive skew. These papers laid out a broadly synthetic theory for the evolution of cooperative breeding that combined two ideas that had previously been viewed as alternative hypotheses—indirect kin selection benefits to helpers and ecological constraints that favored delayed dispersal. Her synthesis highlighted the interesting pattern that the degree of reproductive skew varies tremendously in avian societies and provided a novel hypothesis to explain the variation. These ideas helped transform our thinking about the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds, and the ideas have also been extremely influential in studies of cooperative societies in other taxa as well (e.g. insects, mammals). With Jack Bradbury and Robert Gibson, Verhencamp conducted a long-term study of sexual selection and mating system in sage grouse following earlier work on mating system evolution in bats. Two papers were particularly influential. One study focused on the energetics of male sage ground display and was one the first to test honest signaling theory using an energetics approach. A second study focused on understanding the factors that affect female mating decisions in lekking systems, like grouse, where a few males garner most of the copulations and females seem to show unanimity in the males they prefer. The AOU honors Dr. Sandra Vehrencamp for her thorough and insightful body of work on social evolution and animal communication. She has served as an inspiration to all her colleagues through her commitment to excellence, exceptional dedication to ornithology, professionalism, and work ethic. We are proud to recognize a research scientist, teacher, and mentor who continues to increase our knowledge of the evolution of social behavior and communication in birds. Award criteria. - The William Brewster Memorial Award consists of a medal and an honorarium provided through the endowed William Brewster Memorial Fund of the American Ornithologists’ Union. It is given annually to the author or coauthors (not previously so honored) of the most meritorious body of work on birds of the Western Hemisphere published during the 10 calendar years preceding a given AOU meeting.
  4. The 2011 Elliott Coues Award is presented to Timothy Birkhead for his outstanding contributions to ornithology through his pioneering work on sperm competition and post-copulatory sexual selection in birds, his long term studies of seabirds, magpies and zebra finches, and his many books about birds written for both professional and lay audiences. Dr. Birkhead is a British behavioral ecologist who studies promiscuity and sperm competition in birds. His work has helped to re-shape our understanding of avian mating systems, and his unique combination of studies focusing on both free-living and captive birds has done much to shape modern ornithology. Dr. Birkhead’s early interests in birds were fueled at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in Zoology in 1972. He then conducted his doctoral research at the Edward Grey Institute, at Oxford, on the population biology and behavior of Common Guillemots (Uria aalge), at first supervised by David Lack, and then by Chris Perrins after Lack died. In 1976 he took up a faculty position at the University of Sheffield, UK, where he has been ever since. Birkhead became a Fellow of The Royal Society in 2004, was president of the International Society for Behavioural Ecology from 1996-1998, and has served on the management committee of the Darwin Correspondence Project. He was a Nuffield Research Fellow in 1990-91 and a Leverhulme Research Fellow in 1996. In recognition of the global influence of his research he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the AOU in 2010 and an Honorary Member of the Linnaean Society of New York in 2011. Dr. Birkhead’s research on captive populations of Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and the domestic fowl (Gallus domesticus) shaped our understanding of how post-copulatory sexual selection actually works in birds—elucidating the mechanism of sperm competition, identifying the strategic allocation of sperm by males, providing the first evidence for cryptic female choice in birds, and providing the first estimates of the quantitative genetics underlying sperm traits. His recent studies have resolved the long-standing issue of ‘internal incubation’ in cuckoos and honeyguides. Birkhead’s field research program has also included studies of Common Guillemots (continuously since 1972!), Eurasian Magpies (Pica pica), Aquatic Warblers (Acrocephalus paludicola), Greater Vasa Parrots (Coracopsis vasa), Red-billed Buffalo Weavers (Bubalornis niger), and have taken him to the Canadian High Arctic, Labrador, California, Australia, Africa and Europe. Few modern ornithologists have tackled such a range of study systems with such success; even fewer have used their studies to address such interesting questions about reproductive strategies and behaviors of birds. Birkhead’s studies of birds have led the way for research on sperm evolution and sperm design in all animals. To foster interaction among like-minded scientists, Birkhead has organized the biennial Biology of Spermatozoa conference, providing a forum for researchers interested in the biology of reproduction, since 1992. Tim is committed to undergraduate, graduate and public education. At Sheffield, where he has won two awards for innovative and effective teaching, he teaches courses on both animal behavior and the history and philosophy of science. To date he has supervised 38 PhD students, several of whom now hold academic positions in the UK and Europe. He is also dedicated to the public understanding of science (outreach), giving frequent public talks at book festivals and schools, as well as at the Royal Institution and Café Scientifique. One of his lectures available at TED: Ideas Worth Spreading (The early birdwatchers) has been downloaded >100,000 times. In addition to public lectures, he also has written popular articles for New Scientist, BBC Wildlife, Natural History magazine and the Independent newspaper, and for seven years he wrote a monthly column in the Times Higher Education, commenting on life in academia. In 2009 he helped to launch New Networks for Nature, a UK group committed to using culture to increase the understanding and value of conservation. Birkhead has written or edited 12 books, including Sperm Competition in Birds (1992, Academic Press; with A. P. Møller), Sexual Selection and Sperm Competition (1998, Academic Press; edited with A. P. Møller), and Sperm Biology (2009, Elsevier; edited with D. Hosken and S. Pitnick). These three books have defined the modern study of sperm competition and sperm biology from an evolutionary perspective. His popular science books include Promiscuity (2000, Faber & Faber), The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Ornithology (1991, Cambridge Univ Press; with M. Brooke; awarded the McColvin medal for best reference book), and The Red Canary (2003, Weidenfeld & Nicolson; awarded the Consul Cremer Prize). His recent book The Wisdom of Birds (2008, Bloomsbury), a well-illustrated account of the history of ornithology, won the ‘bird book of the year award’ from the British Trust for Ornithology and British Birds. In that book he makes a strong case for the influence of John Ray’s books The Ornithology of Francis Willughby (1678) and The Wisdom of God (1691) as the foundation for modern ornithology and the study of adaptation, respectively. For his comprehensive studies of sperm competition in birds in both laboratory and field, his naturalist’s eye for interesting questions and study species, his influential books on birds and the history of ornithology, and his dedication to the public understanding of science, the American Ornithologists’ Union is delighted to award Tim Birkhead the Elliott Coues Award for 2011. Award criteria.—The Elliott Coues Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to ornithological research. The award is named in honor of Elliott Coues, a pioneering ornithologist of the western United States and a founding member of the AOU. There is no limitation with respect to geographic area, subdiscipline of ornithology, or time course over which the work was done. The award consists of a medal and an honorarium provided through the endowed Ralph W. Schreiber Fund of the AOU.
  5. The 2011 Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award goes to Dr. W. Alice Boyle for her exciting and original work on the evolution and ecology of migration in birds. In her short career, she has made significant contributions to our understanding of the evolution of long-distance and altitudinal migration. Dr. Boyle is a Research Associate in the Centre for Applied Conservation Biology, Department of Forest Sciences - University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada. She has held post-doctoral fellowships in the Department of Biology at the University of Western Ontario where she has worked with Dr. Chris Guglielmo and Dr. Ryan Norris, another Ned K. Johnson Award winner (2006). During her PhD, Alice sought to understand the ecological and behavioral characteristics of tropical migrant species that made them the evolutionary precursors for long distance temperate migrants. She made huge progress in this area, elegantly testing long-standing hypotheses using extensive phylogenetic comparative analyses. She then conducted a series of detailed (and arduous) field studies in Costa Rica on altitudinal migration. It was in Costa Rica that she tested competing hypotheses about the ecological factors that contribute to the evolution of migration between high elevation breeding areas and low elevation non-breeding areas. Using artificial nests she was first able to rule out the hypothesis that high nest predation risk at low elevation leads to migration. What she found next was even more interesting. It had long been held that since most altitudinal migrants are frugivorous or nectarivorous, that their movements must track the availability of these foods. In a massive study of seasonal fruit production, she found that migrants leave high elevation sites in the rainy season despite there being greater food availability higher up than down slope. These findings led her to formulate the limited foraging opportunity hypothesis which posits the novel idea that severe multi-day rain events at high elevations can reduce foraging ability of birds, such that they have lower apparent food availability and migrate to avoid these bottlenecks. This new perspective was a major shift in thinking about tropical migration and foreshadows important consequences of climate change. Dr. Boyle’s other studies have contributed solid support for the limited foraging opportunity hypothesis. While working in Costa Rica, Alice discovered that the White-ruffed Manakin (Corapipo altera) is a partial migrant (i.e. only some individuals in the population migrate), and that migration is sex and condition dependent (i.e. males and low condition individuals of both sexes are more likely to migrate). Her post-doctoral research has been directed at the ecological, behavioral and physiological mechanisms that maintain partial migration in this species. Alice learned a variety of new approaches, such as using physiology to understand condition-dependent behavior, and stable isotope analysis of claws to infer altitudinal movement history. Her first paper from this work definitively showed that that the arrival of major rainfall events causes the down-slope migration of Manakins, and that there are significant physiological costs to individuals that remain at high elevation. This study was published by and featured on the cover of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. It also resulted in widespread press coverage in Science Now and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s weekly national science radio show “Quirks and Quarks”. Results from the second part of her study were recently published in Biology Letters, and shows for the first time a direct fitness tradeoff between reproduction and migration in birds. Male Manikins that migrate down-slope in the rainy season pay a reproductive cost by losing their status at lekking logs. Males that remain at high elevation (and risk perishing) benefit by increasing their status at lekking logs, and attract and mate with more females. A third component of this work has also been recently published wherein she and her co-authors conducted a community-level test of the foraging limitation hypothesis (see Oikos 2011). Altogether these findings represent a major contribution by Alice to our understanding of the evolution of migration in birds. This past spring, Boyle initiated a new collaboration with Dr. David Winkler at Cornell University to study interactions among migration arrival date, physiological condition, and reproductive performance in Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). She is using novel methods, such as magnetic resonance body composition analysis and plasma metabolites, to understand how arrival condition and severe weather events affect reproductive investment by adults and growth allocation in nestlings. Dr. Boyle’s work integrates advances from the fields of ecology, physiology and behavior to answer evolutionary questions. Thus, her work is filled with strong empirical data that fit together into a theoretical context. Furthermore, there is a very real application of her findings. As climate changes, the incidence and severity of rainfall in tropics are predicted to change from current patterns. Since many altitudinal migrant birds are frugivorous, they are the major seed dispersers for woody plants in tropical communities. Changes in rains will likely alter the movements of these birds and change the ecosystem functions they serve. Her work will have far reaching implications for both basic and applied research in ornithology. Dr. Boyle has already established a strong record of accomplishment and we expect that her reputation will continue to grow. The AOU believes Alice Boyle’s body of work exemplifies that of a promising researcher who skillfully uses birds to study important basic and applied questions in ecology and evolution and is therefore the recipient of the Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award. Award criteria.—The Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award recognizes outstanding and promising work by a researcher early in her or his career in any field of ornithology. Candidates excel in research and show distinct promise for leadership in ornithology within and beyond North America. They must have received their doctorate within 5 years of being nominated, must not have received the award previously, and must be a member of the AOU at the time of nomination. The award, presented for the first time in 2005, consists of a framed certificate and an honorarium provided through a gift to the endowment of the AOU honoring Ned K. Johnson, a lifelong supporter and former president (1996–1998) of the AOU.
  6. The 2011 Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award goes to Dr. Robert S. Ridgely for his outstanding contribution to the conservation of South American birds. Throughout his career Dr. Ridgely has made significant contributions to the taxonomy and biology of South American birds and has made such information accessible to the public and researchers through his books. His field guides and technical volumes provide important resources to enhance ecotourism (for birds), an important adjunct to conservation. However, it is his hands on efforts to preserve and protect critical habitat for rare species in Ecuador that serve as a model for bird protection. Ridgely received his BA from Princeton (1971), an M.Sc. in zoology from Duke (1975), and a Ph.D. in forestry and environmental studies from Yale (1981). Ridgely’s Neotropical studies began in Panama, where intensive field work led him to produce the Birds of Panama (1976, revised in 1989), the first richly and professionally illustrated field guide to birds of Central or South America. He subsequently spent a year traveling around South America, to assess the status of endangered parrots and macaws. Thus began his dedication to the preservation of endangered Neotropical species. This was followed by a series of expeditions, particularly in Ecuador, where undisturbed habitat was shrinking at an alarming rate. Over the years his exploration of little known regions has led to the discovery of seven new bird species, including the El Oro Parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi), Chestnut-bellied Cotinga (Doliornis remseni), and the Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi). Peter Thayer conducted an exclusive interview with Ridgely that was published on-line at www.wildbirds.com and provides an interesting and candid account of the discovery of the Jocotoco Antpitta. Birds of Panama was an important model for subsequent field guides, playing an important role in popularizing bird watching in Panama. The field guide was later followed by the first two volumes of Ridgely’s magnum opus, Birds of South America (1989, 1994), that he coauthored with artist Guy Tudor. Volume three is underway. In 2001, the two-volume Birds of Ecuador, illustrated by Paul Greenfield, was published. Their own words express it best “We hope that with the publication of this book, the movement to protect Ecuador’s magnificent birdlife will take a quantum leap.” This proved to be an understatement, and Ridgely himself has worked tirelessly to improve conservation of Ecuador’s birds. Ridgely, along with Guy Tudor, is clearly the authority on South American birds, and their Field Guide to the Songbirds of South America: The Passerines, appeared this year. All of these books have served as introductions to Neotropical birds for students, scientists, and for ecotourists. Their role as texts for budding ornithologists cannot be underestimated, as generations of students have used these books to facilitate their research. They have also served to inform and encourage Central and South American ornithologists to study and protect their own birdlife. And they are valuable assets to encourage conservation interest in South America. Ridgely’s books have provided the tools to conserve and protect the avifauna of a very critical geographical area. Ridgely has been sensitive to training young field ornithologists, particularly students from South America, devoting his time and expertise to taking them in the field. From 1982 to 2003, Ridgely worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, as its Neotropical bird expert, starting several conservation efforts there. From 2003 to 2006 he served as Vice-president for Endangered Species of the American Bird Conservancy, and then joined the World Land Trust-US. He has worked closely with the ICBP-IUCN Parrot Working Group, and was on the Board of Directors for the Pan-American section of the International Council for Bird Conservation. He has also served on the Board of Trustees for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, and on local Nature Conservancy Boards. His scholarly research base has placed him in a unique position to speak authoritatively, act responsibly, and work diligently with other scientists, local authorities and the general public to conserve Ecuadorian birds. Most importantly, Ridgely practices what he teaches, devoting his time and energy to hands-on conservation work in Ecuador. In 1998, Ridgely founded the Fundacion de Conservacion Jocotoco, a highly successful non-government organization in Ecuador. He now heads this organization which purchases land and now owns and manages eight nature reserves of critical importance to the birds of Ecuador. For his writing, mentoring, and hands on habitat protection, The American Ornithologist’s Unions is proud to present the 2011 Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award to Dr. Robert Ridgely. Award criteria.—The Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary scientific contributions to the conservation, restoration, or preservation of birds and/or their habitats by an individual or small team (usually fewer than 10 people). Contributions from throughout the world and over any time course are eligible. Appropriate activities include (1) applied research, restoration, and educational actions that conserve birds or preserve significant habitats; (2) scientific examination of the principles of avian conservation and application of new insights into species restoration; and (3) scientific evaluation, guidance, creation, and oversight of avian recovery programs or habitat reserve restoration programs. The award consists of a framed certificate and an honorarium.
  7. Ornithological Monograph number 73, "Ecogeographic Patterns of Morphological Variation in Elepaios (Chasiempis spp.): Bergmann's, Allen's, and Gloger's Rules in a Microcosm," by Eric A. VanderWerf, is now available online to all AOU members at: http://www.jstor.org...2011.73.issue-1 and http://www.bioone.or...10.1525/aoum.73 Information about online access is at http://www.aou.org/auk/access.php If you would like a print copy, it will be mailed with your January issue of The Auk at no charge, but you must both renew your membership and notify OSNA of your desire for a printed copy, by 15 January 2012. After that date, print copies will only be available for purchase (at www.ucpress.edu/series.php?ser=orn). To request a printed copy before 15 January, contact the OSNA Business Office by email (om@osnabirds.org), telephone (254-399-9636), or mail (OSNA, 5400 Bosque Blvd. Suite 680, Waco, TX 76710 USA). This post has been promoted to an article
  8. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education has named Edward H. “Jed” Burtt Jr. of Ohio Wesleyan University as the 2011 Ohio Professor of the Year. The two prestigious higher education organizations bestow the award “to honor the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country – those who excel as teachers and influence the lives and careers of their students.” Burtt is a past president of the Association of Field Ornithologists, American Ornithologists’ Union, and Wilson Ornithological Society. Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said Burtt, a zoology professor at the university since 1977, is a perfect choice to receive the Ohio Professor of the Year Award. “Jed says his mission is to help students grow into ‘mature citizen-scholars,’ and he does it with an uncommon combination of warmth, high expectations, and passion,” Jones said. “He fully exemplifies the qualities required for Professor of the Year. He changes lives every day – and at Ohio Wesleyan, we have the privilege of watching him do it.” Burtt’s current and former students agree. Many seek him out while still in high school because of his reputation among birding enthusiasts as an accomplished ornithologist, professor, and mentor. Sean Williams, a 2011 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, is one such student. In supporting Burtt’s nomination for U.S. Professor of the Year, Williams told reviewers: “I write for the dozens of successful men and women when I say that he is the single most inspiring, effective, and dedicated professor we have encountered. We exclaim in harmony our support for this nomination.” With Burtt’s mentorship and support, Williams was selected while an Ohio Wesleyan undergraduate to receive a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Williams also was awarded a University Enrichment Fellowship from Michigan State University, where he is pursuing his doctorate. Fewer than 5 percent of accepted Michigan State graduates receive this fellowship. Burtt also served as a mentor to 2011 Ohio Wesleyan graduate Kristin Lear, who was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in April to use her research skills in Australia to develop a conservation plan for the critically endangered Southern Bent-wing Bat. Lear is spending a year living and working in Naracoorte Caves National Park in South Australia. Burtt said watching students such as Williams and Lear succeed in their professional and personal lives motivates and inspires him. “The most exciting part of teaching is working one-on-one to help each student fulfill her or his special potential,” he said. “As a friend, colleague, and mentor, I can share my values by living them and sometimes by speaking of them when consulted by a student dealing with a difficult situation. I hope that I convey to all students my passion for the birds I love, the science that provides me with boundless excitement, and the privilege I feel in becoming a trusted confidant in their lives. “Awakening a passion in a young person and helping each student fulfill a newly formulated dream is the essence of teaching,” Burtt said. “There is no higher calling, no greater purpose in life.” During his career, Burtt has delivered 115 presentations at national and international scientific meetings, including presentations with 53 different undergraduate students. He has received 16 research grants totaling more than $3 million, which helped to provide research stipends to 89 students. He has been awarded two patents and three equipment grants totaling approximately $800,000, which helped Ohio Wesleyan to purchase its original scanning electron microscope and its new replacement scanning transmission electron microscope. He has written four books, 54 research papers with 26 different student co-authors, and three papers on teaching methodology with four different student co-authors. Burtt has been awarded honorary life memberships in the Association of Field Ornithologists and Wilson Ornithological Society. He also has been elected as a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, American Ornithologists’ Union, Ohio Academy of Sciences, and the International Ornithologists’ Union. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and master’s and doctoral degrees in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Source This post has been promoted to an article
  9. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education has named Edward H. “Jed” Burtt Jr. of Ohio Wesleyan University as the 2011 Ohio Professor of the Year. The two prestigious higher education organizations bestow the award “to honor the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country – those who excel as teachers and influence the lives and careers of their students.” Burtt is a past president of the Association of Field Ornithologists, American Ornithologists’ Union, and Wilson Ornithological Society. Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said Burtt, a zoology professor at the university since 1977, is a perfect choice to receive the Ohio Professor of the Year Award. “Jed says his mission is to help students grow into ‘mature citizen-scholars,’ and he does it with an uncommon combination of warmth, high expectations, and passion,” Jones said. “He fully exemplifies the qualities required for Professor of the Year. He changes lives every day – and at Ohio Wesleyan, we have the privilege of watching him do it.” Burtt’s current and former students agree. Many seek him out while still in high school because of his reputation among birding enthusiasts as an accomplished ornithologist, professor, and mentor. Sean Williams, a 2011 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, is one such student. In supporting Burtt’s nomination for U.S. Professor of the Year, Williams told reviewers: “I write for the dozens of successful men and women when I say that he is the single most inspiring, effective, and dedicated professor we have encountered. We exclaim in harmony our support for this nomination.” With Burtt’s mentorship and support, Williams was selected while an Ohio Wesleyan undergraduate to receive a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Williams also was awarded a University Enrichment Fellowship from Michigan State University, where he is pursuing his doctorate. Fewer than 5 percent of accepted Michigan State graduates receive this fellowship. Burtt also served as a mentor to 2011 Ohio Wesleyan graduate Kristin Lear, who was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in April to use her research skills in Australia to develop a conservation plan for the critically endangered Southern Bent-wing Bat. Lear is spending a year living and working in Naracoorte Caves National Park in South Australia. Burtt said watching students such as Williams and Lear succeed in their professional and personal lives motivates and inspires him. “The most exciting part of teaching is working one-on-one to help each student fulfill her or his special potential,” he said. “As a friend, colleague, and mentor, I can share my values by living them and sometimes by speaking of them when consulted by a student dealing with a difficult situation. I hope that I convey to all students my passion for the birds I love, the science that provides me with boundless excitement, and the privilege I feel in becoming a trusted confidant in their lives. “Awakening a passion in a young person and helping each student fulfill a newly formulated dream is the essence of teaching,” Burtt said. “There is no higher calling, no greater purpose in life.” During his career, Burtt has delivered 115 presentations at national and international scientific meetings, including presentations with 53 different undergraduate students. He has received 16 research grants totaling more than $3 million, which helped to provide research stipends to 89 students. He has been awarded two patents and three equipment grants totaling approximately $800,000, which helped Ohio Wesleyan to purchase its original scanning electron microscope and its new replacement scanning transmission electron microscope. He has written four books, 54 research papers with 26 different student co-authors, and three papers on teaching methodology with four different student co-authors. Burtt has been awarded honorary life memberships in the Association of Field Ornithologists and Wilson Ornithological Society. He also has been elected as a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society, American Ornithologists’ Union, Ohio Academy of Sciences, and the International Ornithologists’ Union. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and master’s and doctoral degrees in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo: Jed Burtt, by Pam Burtt Source
  10. Nominations are invited for the positions of AOU Officers and Elective Councilors. Nominations must be received by the Secretary by 14 Apr 2012. Officers will be elected by electronic and postal ballot prior to the 2012 Stated Meeting, and the new officers will be announced at the Business Meeting of Members. Officers to be elected will be President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and four Elective Councilors (three-year terms). Nominations may be submitted in writing or electronically to the Secretary, Sara R. Morris, Department of Biology, Canisius College, 2001 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14208 USA (PH: 716-888-2567, FX: 716-888-3157, EM: secretary@aou.org). Nominations are invited for new Fellows and Elective Members of the AOU. Nominations must be received by the Secretary by 14 Apr 2012. Fellows and Elective Members are encouraged to submit nominations of deserving colleagues. Nominations and full supporting information are to be supplied by the nominators. Lists of current Fellows and Elective Members are available on the AOU website (www.aou.org/membership/special.php3). Nominators seeking to endorse a nominee must first obtain the instructions and forms for 2012, available on the AOU web site (www.aou.org/nominations.php3) or from the Secretary, Sara R. Morris, Department of Biology, Canisius College, 2001 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14208 USA (PH: 716 888 2567, FX: 716-888-3157, EM: secretary@aou.org). More information
  11. Nominations are invited for the following AOU Senior Awards. Nominations may be submitted electronically to the Chair of the Awards Committee, Patricia Heglund (Patricia_Heglund@fws.gov) by 15 Feb 2012. ELLIOTT COUES AWARD - recognizes extraordinary contributions to ornithological research and involves no limitation with respect to geographic area, subdiscipline(s) of ornithology, or the time course over which the work was done. WILLIAM BREWSTER MEMORIAL AWARD - given for the most meritorious body of work (book, monograph, or series of related papers) on birds of the Western Hemisphere published during the past ten years. NED K. JOHNSON YOUNG INVESTIGATOR AWARD - recognizes outstanding and promising work by a researcher early in his/her career in any field of ornithology. RALPH W. SCHREIBER CONSERVATION AWARD - recognizes extraordinary scientific contributions to the conservation, restoration, or preservation of birds and/or their habitats by an individual or small team. More information
  12. Ornithological Monographs 72, "An Alphataxonomic Revision of Extinct and Extant Razorbills (Aves, Alcidae): A Combined Morphometric and Phylogenetic Approach" by N. Adam Smith and Julia A. Clarke is now available to all AOU members online at http://www.jstor.org...2011.72.issue-1 and http://www.bioone.or...10.1525/aoum.72 If you would like to have a print copy, it will be mailed with your October issue of The Auk at no charge, but you must notify OSNA by 18 October 2011. After that date, print copies will only be available for purchase (at www.ucpress.edu/series.php?ser=orn). To request a printed copy before 18 October, contact the OSNA Business Office by email (om@osnabirds.org), telephone (254-399-9636), or mail (OSNA, 5400 Bosque Blvd. Suite 680, Waco, TX 76710 USA).
  13. Contributing to the conservation of Missouri’s migratory and resident birds through scientific research and monitoring, community outreach, and education.
  14. The AOU joins leading bird conservation organizations including the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory in supporting the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s Bird Friendly® Coffee certification. This certification recognizes 100% organic coffee produced on farms with an overstory shade cover that provides vital habitat for migratory and resident birds in tropical landscapes, which are increasingly threatened by deforestation. The Bird Friendly® criteria are the world’s most stringent standards for shade-grown coffee production. Companies that sell and distribute coffee with the Bird Friendly® seal of approval contribute 25 cents per pound to support the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's research and conservation programs. For more information, visit the SMBC’s website: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratorybirds/coffee/
  15. The International Affairs Committee has announced its selections for the 2011 Competitive Grants program. These grants support ornithological societies in the western hemisphere by helping to develop infrastructure, train ornithologists, and build strategic partnerships. Congratulations to these three awardees: Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC) “Fortalecimiento administrativo de la ROC y desarrollo al nivel nacional de algunas actividades ornitológicas lideradas por la ROC” Optics for the Tropics, Inc. “The Caribbean Waterbird Census: A Training Workshop for Monitoring Caribbean Waterbirds and Wetlands” Sociedad para el Estudio y Conservación de las Aves en México A.C. (CIPAMEX) “CIPAMEX Infrastructure Consolidation and Regional Outreach”
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