2019 Stettenheim Award Winners: Mark Hauber & Phil Stouffer

Phil Stouffer (left) and Mark Hauber (right).

In the lead-up to our annual meeting in Anchorage, we’ll be highlighting the winners of this year’s AOS awards on the blog. This week, the 2019 Peter R. Stettenheim Service Award.

In 2018, the American Ornithological Society (AOS) established the Peter R. Stettenheim Service Award, intended to carry on the tradition of the Cooper Honorary Member Award, one of the oldest awards in ornithology, which was discontinued when the Cooper Ornithological Society merged with the American Ornithologists’ Union to form AOS in 2016. This award is made in honor of a senior ornithologist who has provided extraordinary service to AOS. In 2019, the award is being presented jointly to Dr. Philip Stouffer and Dr. Mark Hauber.

Phil Stouffer was Associate Editor of The Auk from 2002 to 2013 and Editor-in-Chief of The Condor: Ornithological Applications from 2013 to 2019. As the focus of the journal changed from general ornithology to applied ornithology, Dr. Stouffer managed the transition smoothly, raising the impact factor of the journal to first place among ornithology journals worldwide in the process. In addition to his decade-long stint as an editor for the society’s journals, Dr. Stouffer also served as Scientific Program Chair for the North American Ornithological Congress in New Orleans in 2002 and has been a judge for Cooper Ornithological Society Student Presentation Awards and AOS Student Presentation Awards. Dr. Stouffer received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1989 and is currently the Lee F. Mason Professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.

Mark Hauber was Associate Editor of The Auk from 2009 to 2011 and Editor-in-Chief of The Auk: Ornithological Advances from 2013 to 2018. Like Dr. Stouffer, Dr. Hauber expertly marshalled The Auk through the change from a general journal of ornithology to a journal that focused on fundamental knowledge of birds and the examination of broad biological concepts through study of birds. In addition to his singular editorial contributions, Dr. Hauber has served as a member of the society’s Student Awards Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Communications Committee, and Publications Committee. He has been an outstanding advocate for diversity in the society, both raising awareness and encouraging participation. Dr. Hauber completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University in 2002 and is currently the Harley Jones Van Cleave Professor of Host-Parasite Interactions in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior at the School of Integrative Biology of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL.

In recognition of their outstanding service to AOS publications, the society is proud to recognize Mark Hauber and Phil Stouffer as the second recipients of the Peter R. Stettenheim Service Award.

2019 Jenkinson Award Winner: Alice Boyle

In the lead-up to our annual meeting in Anchorage, we’ll be highlighting the winners of this year’s AOS awards on the blog. This week, the 2019 Marion Jenkinson Service Award.

The Marion Jenkinson Service Award is given to an individual who has performed continued extensive service to the American Ornithological Society (AOS), including holding elected offices but emphasizing volunteered contributions and committee participation. The award honors Marion Jenkinson Mengel, who served the American Ornithologists’ Union as treasurer and in other capacities for many years, and consists of a framed certificate and an honorarium. The 2019 award is presented to Dr. Alice Boyle.

Alice is currently an Associate Professor in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. She earned a B.Mus. in viola performance at the University of British Columbia, then changed her career path to avian ecology, completing her Ph.D. in 2006 at the University of Arizona. Following her Ph.D., she spent the next five years on prestigious postdoctoral fellowships at the Universities of Western Ontario and British Columbia before taking up her present faculty position in 2012. While Alice has an impressive record of research achievement, with 34 publications in ecology and ornithology, she has also tirelessly served the Cooper Ornithological Society, American Ornithologists’ Union, and now AOS in the six years since she became a faculty member at Kansas State. From 2013 to 2016, for example she served on the COS Board, simultaneously serving on their Student Presentation Awards Committee and chairing their Publications Committee from 2014 to 2016. When the AOU and COS began to jointly publish The Auk and The Condor, she became co-chair of the societies’ joint Publications Advisory Committee. Alice continues to chair this committee today, and provided leadership throughout the merger of the two societies in 2016 and the transition to the new journal publishing partnership with Oxford University Press in 2018. She also chaired the committee to identify a new editor for The Auk in 2018.

In recognition of her outstanding and diverse service to AOS and its predecessor societies, the society is proud to name Alice Boyle as the recipient of the 2019 Marion Jenkinson Service Award.

Congratulations 2019 Student & Postdoctoral Travel Award Winners

This year, AOS is providing a record amount of travel funding — over $125,000 — to students and postdoctoral researchers attending our upcoming annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. These awards make it possible for early-career ornithologists who lack other funding sources to participate in our annual meetings, present their research, and take advantage of professional development opportunities. Congratulations to all of this year’s travel award recipients, and thank you to the awards committee for their hard work in evaluating the applications!

Continue reading “Congratulations 2019 Student & Postdoctoral Travel Award Winners”

PRESS RELEASE: UV Lights on Power Lines May Help Save Sandhill Cranes

Illuminating power lines with UV lights could reduce collisions by Sandhill Cranes. Photo by James Dwyer, EDM International.

Crane species are declining around the world, and lethal collisions with power lines are an ongoing threat to many crane populations. Current techniques for marking power lines and making them more visible to cranes aren’t always effective, but new research published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that adding UV lights—to which many birds are sensitive—can cut crane collisions with power lines by 98%.

EDM International’s James Dwyer and his colleagues created what they dubbed the Avian Collision Avoidance System, or ACAS, by mounting UV lights on power lines’ supporting structures and shining them on the lines at night. They tested its effectiveness in 2018 at Nebraska’s Iain Nicolson Audubon Center, where a power line crosses the Central Platte River in key habitat for migrating Sandhill Cranes. Randomly assigning the ACAS to be on or off each night, they observed the behavior of cranes flying along the river at dusk and during the night. They documented 98% fewer collisions and 82% fewer dangerous flights when the ACAS was on and showed that cranes reacted sooner and with more control to avoid hitting the power lines.

“This project came about as a result of years of studying avian collisions with power lines throughout North America. My studies included collisions involving numerous species and families of birds, even on lines modified to industry standards to mitigate avian collisions, and I thought perhaps there could be a more effective approach,” says Dwyer. “Even so, I did not imagine that the ACAS would have the effect that it did—a 98% reduction in collisions! I thought it would have some effect, but I didn’t dare think the ACAS would pretty much solve the Sandhill Crane collision problem at our study site on our first try.”

The Avian Collision Avoidance System at night. Photo by James Dwyer, EDM International.

Conventional line markers were already in place on the power lines crossing the Central Platte River, and Dwyer and his colleagues speculate that the ACAS illuminated them and made them easier for cranes to see. “We don’t know how effective the ACAS will be on wires without line markers, so we’re testing that now,” says Dwyer.

“I hope to see the ACAS applied to and studied on other power lines and on communication towers to identify whether it is as effective with other species, habitats, and wire configurations,” he continues. “From there, if the ACAS proves broadly effective, I hope to see it made easily available to the global electric industry. I also very much hope to see collision studies expanded. Because large carcasses like those of cranes and waterbirds are more easily noticed than smaller species like sparrows and warblers, collision studies have mostly focused on those larger species, and I fear that we may not understand the true distribution of species and habitats involved in the global avian collision problem.”

Near-ultraviolet light reduced Sandhill Crane collisions with a power line by 98% is available at https://academic.oup.com/condor/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/condor/duz008.

About the journal: The Condor: Ornithological Applications is a peer-reviewed, international journal of ornithology, published by the American Ornithological Society. For the past two years, The Condor has had the number one impact factor among 27 ornithology journals.

2019 Katma Award Winners: Benjamin Winger, Giorgia Auteri, Teresa Pegan, & Brian Weeks

From left, Brian Weeks, Benjamin Winger, Giorgia Auteri, and Teresa Pegan.

In the lead-up to our annual meeting in Anchorage, we’ll be highlighting the winners of this year’s AOS awards on the blog. This week, the 2019 Katma Award.

The American Ornithological Society’s Katma Award is intended to encourage the formulation of new ideas that could challenge long-held accepted views and possibly change the course of thinking about the biology of birds. This award, proposed and sponsored by Dr. Robert W. Storer, is to be given to the author(s) of an outstanding paper related to ornithology and published in any journal that offers unconventional ideas or innovative approaches, backed by a well-reasoned argument.

The American Ornithological Society is pleased to present the 2018 Katma Award to Benjamin M. Winger, Giorgia G. Auteri, Teresa M. Pegan, and Brian C. Weeks of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology for their paper “A long winter for the Red Queen: rethinking the evolution of seasonal migration,” which appeared in Biological Reviews in 2018.

Winger and his colleagues provide a cogent review of existing theories for the evolution of migration, but unlike previous authors, they identify migration as just one mechanism that organisms have evolved for dealing with seasonally inhospitable conditions; alternative strategies found in non-avian species include diapause and hibernation, and non-migratory birds possess a variety of other life history strategies for dealing with seasonal conditions as well. The capacity for flight clearly provided birds with the option of geographic escape, but Winger and his coauthors argue that if viewed as only one of several alternative strategies for winter escape, the fundamental connection between all “escape strategies” is to survive and breed in the same place following the return of favorable conditions. Benefits of breeding site fidelity are well documented, and given such benefits, the evolution of migration can be seen as an escape strategy that allows a bird to return to a former breeding location to draw on those reproductive benefits. Without such benefits, there is no selection to remain site faithful, and thus the authors see migration as a means by which organisms travel long distances to ultimately stay in the same place, just as hibernation allows an animal to emerge in spring to breed again in the same place. The authors’ perspective is “agnostic” regarding the geographic origins of migratory behavior (southern home or northern home), is strongly compatible with the importance of studying migratory connectedness between breeding and nonbreeding areas of seasonal residency, and can accommodate idiosyncratic migratory behaviors because migration is viewed as a highly labile trait, but one that comes with the baggage of the species history. Winger et al.’s contribution is an exciting new perspective on migration that justifies it acknowledgment as the 2019 Katma Award winner.

The Katma Award is given only when it is merited, no more than once a year. The award consists of approximately $2,500 plus a certificate and is presented at the annual meeting of the American Ornithological Society. A full explanation of the Katma Award was published in The Condor in 2003.