2019 Elliott Coues Award Winners: Linda Whittingham & Peter Dunn

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 Elliot Coues Award.

The Elliott Coues Award recognizes outstanding and innovative contributions to ornithological research, regardless of the geographic location of the work. The American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) established this award in honor of Elliott Coues, a pioneering ornithologist of the western United States and a founding member of the AOU. The award consists of a medal and an honorarium provided through the society’s Elliott Coues Achievement Award Fund. The 2018 Elliott Coues Award goes to Dr. Linda Whittingham and Dr. Peter Dunn.

Dr. Linda Whittingham is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Linda’s research program has been at the interface of behavioral ecology and molecular biology. She has pioneered the use of microsatellites, DNA sequencing, MHC genes, and other genetic techniques to study the reproductive behavior of birds, including mating systems, patterns of mate choice, sex ratio variation, and investment in parental care. Linda has studied the evolution and maintenance of reproductive traits both from a phylogenetic perspective and with field studies of common birds. She was selected as an AOS Fellow in 2006.

Dr. Peter Dunn is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Peter’s work has been complementary to Linda’s, as they have both conducted field studies and molecular lab work on Tree Swallows and Common Yellowthroats in North America and cooperatively breeding birds in Australia. Peter has also pioneered large-scale studies of the impact of climate change on avian reproduction. He also became an AOS Fellow in 2006.

Linda Whittingham and Peter Dunn are well known for their collaborative work, having published together as a team for over 25 years. They published their first joint publication in 1993, and since then over 80% of their publications have been jointly co-authored with their students and co-authors. Their joint record includes 153 peer-reviewed publications, including highly cited work in Animal Behavior, Evolution, Molecular Ecology, and Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. Combined, they have trained 18 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and 4 postdoctoral researchers at the University of Wisconsin.

In recognition of these contributions to ornithology, AOS is pleased to name Linda Whittingham and Peter Dunn as the 2018 Elliott Coues Award recipients.

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