Vol. 62, No. 2 | May 2017
 

Congratulations to the 2017 ABS Newly Elected Fellows


Verner P. Bingman, PhD

Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Bingman’s research: Vern has been a precocious and long-standing star in the field of animal orientation, migration, and the neuroethology of magnetic guidance in birds and other taxa, as illustrated by his outstanding CV, his numerous NSF and other extramural grants, and the success of his mentored students and postdoctoral fellows. Vern’s long record is marked by outstanding publications, and so I am confident that his abilities, record, service, and mentorship to the ABS community justify his recognition as an ABS Fellow. Vern’s 1983 publication entitled “Magnetic field orientation of savannah sparrows with different first summer experience” was the first paper to document multimodal integration of sensory (geomagnetic and celestial) information for the development of a migratory bird’s orientation system. His 1984 publication entitled “Homing behavior of pigeons after telencephalic ablations” put the hippocampus on the “neuroethological map”, and literally was a watershed moment that anticipated the neuroecological industry of research into the avian hippocampus and spatial cognition. More recent work coming from Vern’s research team has captured all the nuances that characterize the role of the avian hippocampus in homing pigeon navigation. This work was a “featured paper” for European Journal of Neuroscience. Vern’s research program has received extensive funding from NSF, NIH, DARPA, National Geographic, and the NATO Collaborative Linkage program. Vern has also received several international fellowships including an Alexander von Humboldt Alumni Renewal Fellowship in Germany, a Fulbright Fellowship in Argentina, a William Evans Fellowship in New Zealand, a BBSRC International Research Fellowship in Wales, and a Macquarie University Visiting Research Fellowship in Australia. To date Vern’s research group has published over 140 peer reviewed papers.




Jennifer H. Fewell, PhD

President’s Professor, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Fewell’s research: Jennifer has built her career working on the organization and evolution of insect societies, particularly on the roles of self-organization and selection in shaping cooperative social groups. Jennifer questioned whether the basic elements of division of labor can be produced as emergent social effects in small cooperative groups, and is well known for her tests of the hypothesis that a division of labor can spontaneously emerge at the very origins of social evolution via self-organizational effects. While she primarily works on ants, she has studied the social organization of a range of other cooperative groups, from sweat bees to NBA basketball teams. Jennifer is currently examining the role that self-organization plays in the transition from solitary to group living, as groups scale up in size. She has revealed that social networks and social insect networks function in qualitatively different ways, one selected to move information efficiently and the other to cement local relationships. Her research has extended beyond the world of animal behavior, with her work on network communication and social dynamics informing research programs in social sciences and biomimicry. Among her top cited manuscripts are four that have each been cited over 200 times, including (1) models of division of labour in social insects, (2) colony state and the regulation of pollen foraging in honey bees, (3) social insect networks, and (4) how genetic diversity promotes homeostasis in social insect colonies. Collectively, her research has informed social evolution and complexity theory. The impact of her research and her long-lasting and ongoing service highlight Jennifer’s integral and influential impact on the Animal Behaviour community. Jennifer’s research program has received extensive funding by NSF, NIH, DARPA, USDA, NESCent, and NIMBios. Jennifer has received several international fellowships and awards including a Wissenschaftskolleg Fellowship from Germany, and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. She currently serves on the board of the German Interdisciplinary Kolleg (IK). She was President of the North American Section of IUSSI in 1998, and was just elected as the Animal Behavior Society’s second president elect (commencing June 2017). To date, Jennifer and her research team have published over 120 peer reviewed publications.


Todd M. Freeberg, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Freeberg’s research: Todd’s research program is focused on understanding how social processes influence communication. The key factors driving communicative complexity remain largely unknown for both human language and for non-human communication systems. Discovering these factors is crucial to understanding the origin and evolution of complex communication. Todd examines social complexity and group size, predation risk, and habitat-induced constraints on sound transmission primarily in parid birds. He obtained the first experimental evidence that courtship systems could be socially transmitted across generations in a songbird in his paper “Cultural influences on female mate choice: an experimental test in Brown-headed Cowbirds”. He found some of the first evidence for seasonal changes in the auditory periphery of songbird species in his paper “Seasonal variation in avian auditory evoked responses to tones”. He also published the first experimental study demonstrating that variation in chick-a-dee calls could affect the behavior of conspecifics in his paper “Receivers respond differently to chick-a-dee calls varying in note composition in Carolina Chickadees”. This playback call system is now widely used by many labs worldwide. Todd conducted the first experimental study to document that social complexity can drive vocal complexity. His research program also demonstrated that social interactions within a group influence vocal signals. This important line of research resulted in an international symposium and, ultimately, to a special issue of the prestigious journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B. His co-authored review paper on the social complexity hypothesis for communication is becoming a foundation for work on questions related to diversity and complexity in communication. Todd’s research program is currently funded by NSF. He and his research team have published over 60 peer reviewed publications and book chapters; he has also published numerous commentaries and book reviews. Todd has been extremely active in the Animal Behavior Society, having served a member and the chair of both the animal care committee and the film committee for numerous years.


Vladimir V. Pravosudov, PhD

Professor, Department of Biology, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, Nevada, USA

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Pravosudov’s research: Vladimir is a highly integrative cognitive biologist — one who uses the tools of neuroscience, endocrinology, ecology and behavioral ecology to explain spatial memory in animals. He mostly focuses on birds and capitalizes on food-caching chickadees (and their allies) as his primary study system, but has recently expanded his work to study cortical volume in lizards. His work wonderfully combines field studies of food caching that allows him to understand the adaptive value of caching in the wild, with captive studies where he has sufficient control to drill down into the mechanisms of caching. His work is comparative and he seeks to capitalize on interspecific variation to understand brain function. Vladimir’s work has been published in the top journals in our fields. He has chapters in consequential volumes and encyclopedias, and his work is described in many of the major behavioral textbooks and has received very favorable press. Vladimir’s excellence is broadly recognized. He is an Elective Member of the American Ornithologists Union. He has given numerous invited departmental seminars as well as several keynote addresses for major international meetings. His impressive career continues along an exciting and productive trajectory and shows no sign of slowing down. Vladimir’s research program has been extensively funded by grants from NSF and NIH. In 2016 he received the Dr Donald Mousel and Dr William Feltner Award for Excellence in Research and the Hyung K Shin Award for Excellence in Research from the University of Nevada, Reno. He and his research team have published over 100 peer reviewed publications, and his research has been extensively covered in Animal Behaviour, Behavioural Ecology, and Behavioural Endocrinology textbooks.


Kerry L. Shaw, PhD

Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Shaw’s research: Kerry is best known for her research on the adaptive radiation of Laupala crickets in Hawaii. Her study of Laupala radiation has been incredibly comprehensive, spanning genetics and phenotypes to behavior, ecology, and evolution. The first research area I highlight involves the complex relationships between male mating signals, female mate preferences, and speciation. Kerry’s co-authored publication in Nature entitled “Sexual behaviour: Rapid speciation in an arthropod” presented new phylogenetic and geographical evidence that Laupala has had an unusually high rate of speciation, compared to other arthropods and most vertebrate taxa. It suggested that the high rate of speciation has derived from plasticity in these animals’ mate recognition systems, which has enabled rapid evolution of pre-mating isolating barriers. Interestingly, these species seem not to differ in basic ecological parameters, negating the alternative possibility of ecological speciation as a driving influence. A second, newer research area has taken more of a natural history angle (e.g., her co-authored publication on “High opportunity for postcopulatory sexual selection under field conditions”), documenting patterns of breeding and assessing the relative contributions of pre- versus post-copulatory sexual selection. Altogether, Kerry’s work has brought much needed empirical perspective to areas that have seen substantial controversy, especially concerning relationships between sexual selection and speciation. She has been at the forefront of placing data about signals and mate preferences into empirical genetic and phylogenetic contexts. For all the ink spilled on these topics, the limiting factor in pushing our understanding forward has been the relative limited number of good empirical studies. In preparing and executing these studies, Kerry has been a leader in our field, producing some of the first and most comprehensive papers of their kind. Kerry has received extensive NSF funding for her research program. Kerry has been awarded several fellowships and honours including a Public Voices Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Alfred P Sloan Foundation Young Investigator Award, as well as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship. She has served in the presidential stream (President Elect, President, and Past President) of the American Genetic Association, served as the Vice President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, was awarded the title of Faculty of 1000, and served on the Council of the American Genetic Association. She has given numerous national and international invited symposium and plenary speaker talks. To date, Kerry and her research team have published over 70 peer reviewed publications.


James F. A. Traniello, PhD

Professor, Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Traniello’s research: James’ work fuses ecology and behavior, sociobiology and immunology, and sociobiology and neurobiology to explore the evolution of adaptive worker and colony phenotypes. His research first focused on the role of social behavior as a mechanism of ecological interaction. He examined the importance of chemically organized foraging in interference competition, resource control, and antipredator defense in temperate and tropical species of ants and termites. Additionally, he has worked intensively on the evolution and ecology of caste, testing theories of adaptive colony demography and temporal caste discretization, experimentally determining caste plasticity, and examining the importance of life history in the organization of age-related behavior and aging. These studies bridge sociobiology, senescence theory, apoptosis, and neurobiology. His findings have not supported a foundational hypotheses of caste theory: that temporal polyethism results from non-overlapping changes in task sets with advancing worker age. Instead, his experiments indicate task repertories are built by the addition of new tasks and the retention of tasks performed at an earlier age. His current research integrates socioecology, social brain theory, and complexity theory to understand the design and function of miniaturized eusocial brains in light of their extraordinary complexity and collective intelligence. Their work on the neuroanatomy and neuromodulation of social behavior examined for the first time the ultrastructure of the ant brain to understand the synaptic correlates of temporal polyethism (age-related behavior), and the role of neuromodulators in the age-related processing of social signals that underscore division of labor by morphologically differentiated workers. These studies have allowed us to causally define the function of neurochemicals in worker behavioral development and subcaste-related task specialization by quantifying brain titers of biogenic amines and using pharmacological manipulations to alter monoamine levels and receptor action. James’ research program has received extensive funding from NSF, NIH/NIA, Whitmire Microgen Corporation, and FMC Corporation. James currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, and on the Advisory/Editorial Board for Ethology, Ecology and Evolution and the Journal of Insect Behaviour. To date James and his research group have published over 160 peer reviewed papers and 3 books, as well as several book reviews, editorials, and commentaries.

 
ABS Newsletter

Starting June 17th, please send general correspondence concerning the Society to the new ABS Secretary, Patty Brennan (pbrennan@mtholyoke.edu). Before June 17th, 2017 please send general correspondence to Sue Bertram, Sue.Bertram@carleton.ca. Deadlines for materials to be included in the Newsletter are the 15th of the month preceding each issue. The next deadline is 15 July, 2017. Articles submitted by members of the Society and judged by the Secretary to be appropriate are occasionally published in the ABS newsletter. The publication of such material does not imply ABS endorsement of the opinions expressed by contributors.

Animal Behaviour

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