Post-AOS18AZ Recap & First Official Letter from Newly Inaugurated AOS President, Kathy Martin

Dear Ornithology Community,

I am writing to share highlights of the 136th annual conference of the AOS, recently held at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, Arizona.  THANK YOU to the 780 individuals who came together for the conference, presented their science, exchanged ideas and contributed so generously to fellowship and camaraderie.  We welcomed representatives from 13 countries as well as members of the public from throughout SE Arizona. Importantly, students and early professional members of the society made up 50% of conference attendees.  Thanks to everyone attending, the Tucson meeting was a success for ornithology and for the society.

That said, the AOS is committed to continuous improvement in planning and hosting relevant and exciting meetings.  We want to hear from ALL of you about ways to improve our annual conference and the professional development opportunities we offer.  Please fill out this short survey (LINK), whether you attended the meeting or were not able to go this year.  Thanks in advance for your time!

On behalf of the society, I would also like to thank RUTH and STEVE RUSSELL, honorary co-chairs of the conference, SALLIE HEJL, National Park Service, chair of the Local Planning Committee, COURTNEY CONWAY, University of Idaho, chair of the Scientific Program Committee, and SUSAN SKAGEN, USGS (emeritus) and MIKE WEBSTER, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, co-chairs of the Meetings Coordination Committee.  From my own experience, I know they are equally exhausted and exhilarated by their efforts to put on such a successful meeting, and we are grateful for all of their work.

It is also my pleasure to thank Steve Beissinger, who stepped down from serving as the first President of the new AOS, for his steady hand in stewarding the society and the ornithological community through a period of rapid change.  We all benefited from his thoughtful leadership and deep commitment to the future of our society.

Finally, I’d like to summarize those important activities and recognition that take place at our annual meeting: announcing the results of the annual elections, and conferring AOS’s annual awards in recognition of individual contributions to ornithology and to the society.


The conference’s scientific program included five outstanding plenary lectures by KRISTEN COVINO, SCOTT TAYLOR, JEFF BRAWN, REBECCA KIMBALL, AND IAN MACGREGOR FORS; 172 remarkable papers in 16 symposia; and, 433 excellent contributed presentations (288 oral and 145 posters) delivered over five days in 7 concurrent sessions.  The closing day marked AO’s convening for the 2018 March for Science.

AOS members elected three officers of the society: President-Elect THOMAS W. SHERRY, Secretary ANDREW W. JONES, and Treasurer REBECCA T. KIMBALL. Members also elected the Class of 2021 Elective Councilors PETER DUNN, SHARON GILL, SARA MORRIS, and CHRISTOPHER WITT.  The AOS Council re-elected MARK HAUBER as Editor of The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and PHILIP STOUFFER as Editor of The Condor: Ornithological Applications, and KATE HUYVAERT as Editor of Studies in Avian Biology.

The William Brewster Memorial Award, bestowed each year to the author or co-authors of an exceptional body of work on birds of the Western Hemisphere, was presented to BETTE LOISELLE of the University of Florida.

The Elliott Coues Achievement Award, recognizing outstanding and innovative contributions to ornithological research, was presented to PETER MARRA of The Smithsonian Institution.

The Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award, recognizing extraordinary scientific contributions to the conservation, restoration, or preservation of birds and their habitats, was presented to JOHN SAUER, USGS-Patuxent .

The Loye and Alden Miller Research Award for lifetime achievement in ornithological research was presented to JANIS DICKINSON, recently retired from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The 2018 James G. Cooper Young Professional Award, recognizing outstanding and promising work by a researcher early in his or her career in any field of ornithology, was presented to KRISTEN COVINO, affiliation (previously a postdoctoral fellow at Canisius College).

The 2018 Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award, recognizing work by an ornithologist early in his/her career who shows distinct promise for future leadership in the profession, was presented to SCOTT TAYLOR, University of Colorado, Boulder.

The 2018 Marion Jenkinson Service Award, given to an early career member of the society who has provided exceptional service to ornithology and who demonstrates leadership and commitment to the society, was presented to NICOLAS MASON, Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley (previously at Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

The 2018 Peter Stettenheim Service Award, recognizes a mid- to senior-member of the society who has offered continuous and extensive service to the society, was presented to ANNA CHALFOUN, University of Wyoming. This award was conferred for the first time at this meeting.

The Brina Kessel Award for the best paper published in The AUK during the past four years, was presented to F. KEITH BARKER, senior author, and co-authors KEVIN J. BURNS, JOHN KLICKA, SCOTT M. LANYON, and IRBY J. LOVETTE for their 2015 paper “New insights into New World biogeography: An integrated view from the phylogeny of blackbirds, cardinals, sparrows, tanagers, warblers, and allies.” This award was conferred for the first time at this meeting.
Full Citation:
Barker, F. K., K. J. Burns, J. Klicka, S. M. Lanyon, and I. J. Lovette. 2015. New insights into New World biogeography: An integrated view from the phylogeny of blackbirds, cardinals, sparrows, tanagers, warblers, and allies. Auk 132:333-348. (Direct link to article:

THE STUDENT PRESENTATION AWARDS COMMITTEE was co-chaired by Matt Carling and Morgan Tingley.  A total of 128 attendees participated in the competition this year.  We thank the 71 volunteers who served as judges. Awards were given to 10 students for excellence in the rigor and quality of their scientific presentations, and these awards were unranked.  Honorable mentions went to 11 students. The complete list of 2018 student presentation awardees are listed on the AOS Website.

The Nellie Johnson Baroody Award went to CALUM DIXON (Colby-Sawyer College): “Examining temporal changes in morphology, population dynamics, and wind migration patterns of raptor species migrating through Cape May, New Jersey.”

The Robert B. Berry Award went to GAVIN JONES (University of Wisconsin): “Declining old-forest species as a legacy of large trees lost.”

The Mark E. Hauber Awards went to SARA LIPSHUTZ (University of Tennessee-Knoxville): “Female competition facilitates hybridization in sex-role reversed jacanas” and NADGE NAJAR (University of Northern Colorado): Latitude predicts repertoire size in migratory, but not sedentary, rock wrens (Salpinctes obsoletus).”

The six AOS Council Awards went to
ERIK ENBODY (Tulane University): “Evolutionary genomics and transcriptomics of variable female plumage ornamentation in a New Guinea Malurus fairywren,”
CAROLINE JUDY (Louisiana State University):“Genomic approaches to understanding speciation in Jamaican-endemic streamertail hummingbirds,”
AHVA POTTICARY (University of Arizona): “Stress-induced maternal effect links local competitive environment with large-scale changes in population demography,”
ELIZABETH SCHOLD (Virginia Commonwealth University): “A landscape approach to understanding breeding habitat of a rapidly declining migratory songbird,”
ANNA TUCKER (Auburn University): “Effect of resource mismatch on stopover mass gain dynamics for two Arctic-breeding shorebirds,”
RYAN WEAVER (Auburn University): “Carotenoid metabolism strengthens the link between feather coloration and individual quality.”

The 11 Honorable Mentions went to:
Danielle Belleny (Tarleton State University): “An evaluation of land restoration effects on Northern Bobwhite survival in north-central Texas,”
Kristin Davis (Colorado State University): “Grazing and grassland birds: Does management affect abundance in Colorado’s shortgrass steppe,”
Brock Geary (Tulane University): “Condition-dependent foraging strategies of brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) in the northern Gulf of Mexico,”
Emily Griffith (University of Florida): “The evolution of tarsal spurs in Galliformes,”
Chance Hines (Old Dominican University): “An indirect mutualism between host-specific insects and Hackberry trees (Celtis spp), mediated by migratory songbirds,”
Logan Maxwell (University of New Hampshire): “Fitness consequences of hybridization in Saltmarsh and Nelson’s sparrows,”
Sabrina McNew (University of Utah): “Epigenetic variation between urban and rural populations of Darwin’s finches,”
Corey Riding (Oklahoma State University): “Nocturnal lights affect bird-building collisions,”
Robert Taylor (California State University): “Monitoring the response of the bird community to restoration of the Owens River, California,”
Joseph Welklin (Cornell University): “Winter mates impact summer dates: Linking non-breeding social environment and reproductive success in an Australian songbird,”
David Zonana (University of Colorado-Boulder): “Do birds of a feather covey together? Social networks and pair bonding within a sympatric Callipepla quail population.”

THE COMMITTEE ON STUDENT AND POSTDOCTORAL TRAVEL AWARDS was co-chaired by Matt Carling, Morgan Tingley, and Chris Balakrishnan. and AOS Council Student and Postdoctoral Travel Awards and Diversity Travel Awards were granted to 185 students to help defray expenses for transportation to the annual conference.

The AOS was pleased to recognize the class of 2018 Fellows and Elective Members of the society.

AOS Fellows elected 26 new Fellows:
Robert J. Cooper (University of Georgia)
Russell D. Dawson (University of Northern British Columbia)
Elizabeth P. Derryberry (University of Tennessee)
David J. Green (Simon Fraser University)
Sallie J. Hejl (University of Arizona)
Darren E. Irwin (University of British Columbia)
Todd E. Katzner (United States Geological Survey)
Rolf R. Koford (Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit – retired)
Gary M. Langham (National Audubon Society)
Sara J. Oyler-McCance (USGS Fort Collins Science Center)
Liba Pejchar (Colorado State University)
Kathryn L. Purcell (USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station)
Sushma Reddy (Loyola University Chicago)
Richard T. Reynolds (USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station)
Dustin R. Rubenstein (Columbia University)
Victoria A. Saab (USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station)
Michael A. Schroeder (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Cagan H. Sekercioglu (University of Utah)
Wayne E. Thogmartin (United States Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center)
Morgan W. Tingley (University of Connecticut)
Andrea K. Townsend (Hamilton College)
Eric VanderWerf (Pacific Rim Conservation)
Enriqueta Velarde (Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Pesquerias, Universidad Veracruzana)
Eric L. Walters (Old Dominion University)
Nils D. Warnock (Audubon Alaska)
Jean L. Woods (Delaware Museum of Natural History)

AOS Fellows and Elective Members elected 39 new Elective Members:
Virginia Abernathy (University of Rio Grande)
Jane E. Austin (Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, USGS)
Colleen Barber (Saint Mary’s University)
Than James Boves (Arkansas State University)
Patricia Brennan (Mount Holyoke College)
William P. Brown (Keuka College)
Jameson F. Chace (Salve Regina University)
Stéphanie M. Doucet (University of Windsor)
Kyle H. Elliott (McGill University)
Auriel M. V. Fournier (Mississippi State University)
Kevin Charles Fraser (University of Manitoba)
Matthew Fuxjager (Wake Forest University)
Laurie A. Hall (U.S. Geological Survey)
Julie A. Heath (Boise State University)
Pamela D. Hunt (New Hampshire Audubon)
Alex E. Jahn (Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)
Sarah E. Jamieson (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ontario AND Trent University)
Frank A. La Sorte (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Gavin M. Leighton (Cornell University)
Christopher J. W. McClure (The Peregrine Fund)
Edward Henry Miller (Memorial University)
Andrea R. Norris (Canadian Wildlife Service)
J. Fernando Pacheco (Comitê Brasileiro de Registros Ornitológicos)
Mario B. Pesendorfer (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Dustin G. Reichard (Ohio Wesleyan University)
Rosalind B. Renfrew (Vermont Center for Ecostudies)
Christina Riehl (Princeton University)
Kristen Ruegg (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Daniel R. Ruthrauff (USGS Alaska Science Center)
Luis Sandoval (University of Costa Rica)
José Roberto Sosa-Lopez (CIIDIR Oaxaca, Instituto Politécnico Nacional)
Diana Stralberg (University of Alberta)
Jeffrey A. Stratford (Wilkes University)
Conor C. Taff (Cornell University)
Junior A. Tremblay (Environment and Climate Change Canada)
Jennifer L. Walsh (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Petra B. Wood (USGS West Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit AND West Virginia University)
Natalie A. Wright (Kenyon College)
Elise F. Zipkin (Michigan State University)

AOS also recognized those members who have passed over the last 12 months.

In Memoriam:
Arthur Binion Amerson
Peter L. Ames (Elective Member)
Robert F. Anderle (Elective Member)
C. Davison Ankney (Fellow; d. 2013)
Thomas G. Balgooyen (d. 2016)
Sir Patrick Bateson, FRS (Honorary Fellow)
Harry R. Carter (Elective Member)
Stephen W. Eaton (Elective Member)
James H. Enderson (Elective Member)
James L. Ingold (Elective Member)
Martin K. McNicholl (Elective Member)
Dale W. Rice
Richard B. Root (Elective Member, d. 2013)
Beverly S. Ridgely
James D. Rising (Fellow)
Kimberly G. Smith (Fellow)
Milton W. Weller (Fellow)
Amotz N. Zahavi (Honorary Fellow)

Looking ahead, I hope you are already thinking about next year’s meeting! Please mark your calendars: the 137th Stated Meeting of the American Ornithological Society (#AOS19AK) will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, USA, 24-28 June, 2019. Colleen Handel, USGS, is chairing the Local Planning Committee. This will be a family-friendly conference, and we will deliver another high-quality scientific program along with exciting networking events. Note the scientific meeting will end on Friday, one day earlier than usual, offering attendees time to visit Alaska!

Kathy Martin
President, AOS

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