Nominations Sought for Ornithology’s Katma Award

The American Ornithological Society is currently seeking nominations for their annual Katma Award, which recognizes publications that propose ideas or test theories that challenge current ornithological dogma and could change the course of thinking about the biology of birds.

The award was originally established by the Cooper Ornithological Society in 2003 through the generous gift of Dr. Robert Storer, who proposed the name “Katma,” derived from the Greek work kat, which means “against.” The award consists of a $2500 prize and a certificate and is announced at the American Ornithological Society’s annual meeting.

“Why is katma needed?” wrote Dr. Storer. “Science moves forward by the production and acceptance of new ideas, yet it has been increasingly difficult to air new ideas in both the pure and applied sciences. Serious work that questions current dogma too often is stifled by those who are angered by seeing their own work questioned. Great katmatists like Galileo and Darwin are heroes of science.”

Nominees for the award do not need to be members of the American Ornithological Society, nor do papers nominated need to have been published in an AOS journal. Full eligibility and nomination information is available on the AOS website at americanornithology.org/content/aos-katma-award. The deadline for the current nomination cycle is December 14. Please contact info@americanornithology.org with any questions.

Upcoming Dates & Deadlines

AOS_logo-k375k_stackedAOS members should have received an email last week reminding them of important upcoming dates and deadlines! In case you missed it, here’s a roundup of AOS dates you may want to add to your calendar.

2019 Meeting: Our 2019 annual meeting will be June 24-28 in Anchorage, Alaska. Registration is open now, and we hope you’ll be joining us to celebrate the summer solstice at 61° North latitude!

  • Symposium and Round Table proposal deadline: 15 December 2018
  • Abstracts submission & travel grant deadline: 15 February 2019
  • Early Bird Registration deadline: 15 March 2019

Council & Officer Nominations: We invite all members to submit nominations for four AOS Elective Councilor positions, AOS Secretary, and AOS Treasurer. Nominations require the consent of the nominee and should be emailed to AOS Secretary Andy Jones at secretary@americanornithology.org. Deadline: 30 November 2018.

Fellow & Elective Member Nominations: These special membership classes recognize members for their contributions to ornithology and/or service to AOS. Deadline: 30 November 2018.

Senior Professional, Early Professional, Service, & Katma Award Nominations: Nominate yourself or your colleagues for AOS’s prestigious ornithology awards. Full information available at the pages linked. Deadline: 14 December 2018.

Student Membership Awards: Please encourage eligible ornithology students to apply for AOS Student Membership Awards, which provide one year of free AOS membership to interested students who have not previously been members of the society. Deadline: 31 December 2018.

Congratulations 2018 AOS Peter R. Stettenheim Service Award Winner – Dr. Anna Chalfoun

In 2018, AOS established a new service award meant to carry on the tradition of the Cooper Honorary Member Award, one of the oldest awards in ornithology.  The new award is made in honor a senior ornithologist who has given extraordinary service to the AOS or its predecessor societies, the AOU and COS. The Executive Committee tasked the Service Awards Committee with recommending a name. After an extensive search, they choose to honor Dr. Peter Stettenheim. Peter’s service to ornithological societies was extensive.  He was a Life Membership, Elective Member, and Fellow, Council Member, and Vice President of the AOU (2001-02). He was Editor of The Condor and Life Histories of the Birds of North America (a.k.a. BNA), Honorary Life Member of the Cooper Society; and Patron and Investing Trustee of the Wilson Ornithological Society.  Peter was a well-respected expert on avian anatomy and functional morphology, but had a broad appreciation and interest in ornithology.  Peter passed away in 2013, and was known by many of us as a kind and gentle giant.

The 2018 Peter R. Stettenheim Service Award is presented to Anna Chalfoun. Anna has had a distinguished record of service to our former ornithological societies over the past decade and now AOS. She served on the Miller Award Committee, the COS Nominations Committee in 2015, the Scientific Program Committee for the last NAOC, chaired the COS Student Awards Committee, COS President-Elect, the societies Merger Advisory Committee, and now is on AOS Council and our Conservation Committee.

In recognition of her outstanding and diverse service to the AOS and earlier ornithological societies, the society is proud to name Dr. Anna D. Chalfoun as the first recipient of the 2018 Peter R. Stettenheim Service Award.

AOS President Steve Beissinger presenting Anna Chalfoun with her award at the 2018 AOS annual meeting in Tucson, Arizona.

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Congratulations 2018 Brina C. Kessell Publication Award Winners – Barker et al. 2015

The Brina C. Kssell Publication Award is a new award and is for the best paper in The Auk published within the past 4 years (2014-2017). It is to given in even numbered years, which complements the Painton Award given in odd numbered years for the best paper in the Condor.

The first Brina Kessell Publication Award given in 2018 goes to:
F. Keith Barker, Kevin J. Burns, John Klicka, Scott M. Lanyon, and Irby J. Lovette for their article published in 2015, entitled, “New insights into New World biogeography: An integrated view from the phylogeny of blackbirds, cardinals, sparrows, tanagers, warblers, and allies.”

The authors bring to bear modern molecular and analytical techniques to address a long-standing question in ornithology (and biogeography generally) that Ernst Mayr attempted to address in 1946: what are the origins of the New World avifauna? Over 800 species of the nine-primaried oscines of the large clade Emberizoidea were sampled to develop a phylogeny that was combined with a temporal and biogeographic analysis. It established that the emberizoid ancestors entered the New World through Beringia, and rapidly diverged in North America to also produce a clade that entered and diversified in South America. Subsequent dispersal between North and South America, especially after formation of the Isthmus of Panama, was mostly north to south (as also seen in mammals). These results largely confirmed Mayr’s speculations. This work stood out for its strong grounding in a deep historical question that has vexed ornithologists, for the thoroughness of its sampling, and for a strong quantitative treatment of the large data set.

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: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1642/AUK-14-110.1)

Congratulations 2018 AOS Loye and Alden Miller Research Award Winner – Dr. Janis Dickinson

The Loye and Alden Miller Research Award is given  for lifetime achievement in ornithological research. Loye Holmes Miller and his son, Alden, left a remarkable legacy to the field of ornithology and to the American Ornithological Society. Together they sponsored 30 PhD students, 28 in avian biology, and their students in turn trained a total of 166. Alden also made contributions to the society and ornithology as a long standing editor of The Condor. Previous recipients at this meeting include Ellen Ketterson and Sue Haig. This year AOS is pleased to honor Dr. Janis Dickinson as the recipient of the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award.

Janis began her career at Hastings Natural History Reservation as an affiliated faculty member with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the UC Berkeley, with postdoctoral fellowships from NIH and NSF, and then in an appointment as a research zoologist. In 2005, she joined the faculty at Cornell University as the Arthur A. Allen Director of Citizen Science, with a joint appointment between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Department of Natural Resources, where she remained until her retirement in 2017.

Janis has had a distinguished career in behavioral ecology and conservation biology. She has made important contributions to ornithology in three main areas: i) the behavioral ecology of animal mating systems, ii) the evolutionary ecology of cooperative breeding in vertebrates, and iii) the role of citizen science in advancing ornithology. Her scientific output includes over 80 peer-reviewed papers and three edited books.  Janis was also a successful mentor for graduate students and postdocs who have continued in careers in ornithology.

For her lifetime contributions to the understanding of avian behavioral ecology and citizen science, AOS is proud to present the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award to Dr. Janis Dickinson.

AOS President Steve Beissinger presenting Janis Dickinson with her award at the 2018 AOS annual meeting in Tucson, Arizona.