Vol. 62, No. 3 | August 2017

2017 Meeting Awards


The Warder Clyde Allee Symposium for best student paper is always a highlight of the conference as it features outstanding graduate student research, with an award for the best paper and talk. The session honors Dr. Warder Clyde Allee (1885–1955) who was very influential in the development and direction of animal behavior research in the 20th century. Dr. Allee earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1912, was a faculty member at the University of Illinois, University of Oklahoma, University of Chicago, and University of Florida. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1951 and ranks among the leading twentieth century ecologists.

In the 2017 ABS Allee Session, finalists were selected to present their research based on the quality of their papers. Any independent graduate student research is eligible, but the students must have had the principal responsibility for the conceptualization and design of the research, the collection and analysis of the data, and the interpretation of the results. These presenters also cannot have completed their defense of the doctoral dissertation before the preceding ABS annual meeting.

The judges, John Swaddle (Chair), Jennifer Fewell, Emilie Snell-Rood, and Elizabeth MacDougall Shackelton, found the papers and presentations to be of exceptionally high quality.

First place was awarded to Kelly Ronald (Indiana University) for her talk and paper entitled “ Is mate choice in the eye and ear of the beholder? Multimodal sensory configuration shapes mating preferences”.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Matthew Nielsen (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) for his talk and paper entitled “ Color Plasticity Alters Thermoregulatory Behavior in Battus philenor Caterpillars by Changing the Cue Received”, as well as Marcela E. Benítez (Georgia State University) for her talk and paper entitled “Evidence for mutual assessment in a wild primate”.

Kelly Ronald (Indiana University) the winner of the Allee Award presented by Allee Symposium Chair, John Swaddle. Photo Credit: Ken Jones

Matthew Nielsen (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) and Marcela E. Benítez (Georgia State University) photographed receiving their Honorable Mention certificates by Chair, John Swaddle. Photo Credit: Ken Jones


Madhura S. Amdekar (Indian Institute of Science) receiving Honorable Mention Charles Carpenter Founders Memorial Poster Award. Photo Credit: Ken Jones

Each year a poster competition, named after a Founder of the Animal Behavior Society, is held at the annual meeting. A founder is defined as “A person active in the period prior to 1966 who held at least two administrative positions, elected or appointed, in ABS or the ESA Section on Animal Behavior and Sociobiology or the ASZ Division of Animal Behavior as recorded by the ABS Historian.” The Founders’ award is for outstanding posters presented at the annual meeting. This year the Founders Memorial Poster Competition was named to honour Charles Carpenter, an expert in reptile behavior. The judges were: Jeff Podos (Chair, First President Elect), Ted Stankowich, and Diana Hews. There were several excellent posters, and a lot of great science shared. The judges identified one outstanding poster, notable for its innovative science and clear presentation.

The grand prize winner of the Charles Carpenter Founders Award for 2017 was: Senthurran Sivalinghem (University of Toronto- Scarborough) “Function of vibration signals during courtship and competition in black widow spiders (Araneae: Theridiidae)”.

Honorable mentions:
Madhura S. Amdekar (Indian Institute of Science) “Hiding Health behind Hues: Information within Physiological Colour Signals in the Indian Rock Agama”
Rosanette Quesada-Hidalgo ( University of São Paulo) “Paternal Care and the Possible Role of Females in Offspring  Protection in Quindina limbata (Opiliones)”.



First presented at the 2000 ABS Annual meeting, the Genesis Award honors the best undergraduate poster presented at the meeting. This year 39 undergraduate students submitted posters for the Genesis Undergraduate Poster Competition, and the standard was extremely high. Ten judges (Matthew Wund, Noah Gordon, Misty McPhee, Carrie Hall, Ryan Taylor, Jen Hamel, Heather Zimbler-DeLorenzo, Debbie Tobin, Manuel Leal, Sue Margulis) worked hard to carefully review all posters.

The grand prize of $300 was awarded to Colby Behrens (Iowa State University) for the poster entitled: "Do paper wasps have personalities? Physiological and genomic mechanisms of personality in Polistes fuscatus”.

Alexandra Dorison (University of Toronto Scarborough): “Behavioural and developmental responses of invasive Japanese redback spiders to new temperature challenges”.
Cora Anne Romanow (Lingle Lab, University of Winnipeg) : “Designed to attract: ontogenetic transitions from infant distress to male courtship calls in elk”.
Veronica Gerios (University of Michigan Dearborn): “ Flubs that function: an analysis of sperm removal behavior in an orb weaving spider”.
Archchana Rajmohan: (University of Toronto Scarborough): “Heterospecific matings in widow spiders:
Do males use different sperm allocation strategies?”.


Colby Behrens (Iowa State University)
receiving the Genesis Award for best
undergraduate poster presentation. Photo Credit: Ken Jones


Now in its 34th year, the ABS film festival featured top films that were produced in the preceding five years that portray important concepts in animal behavior research and education. Categories included both amateur (non-commercial) and professional (commercial) films. This year the film committee judges received 104 film submissions that were ranked based on their accuracy, quality of narration, quality of videography, degree of anthropomorphism, and overall appeal. They narrowed the field down to two commercial and two non-commercial films.

After careful deliberation, and input from all audience members, the Film Committee was happy to announce that the ABS Jack Ward Film of the Year in the Non-Commercial category was “Person of the Forest” Directed by Melissa Lesh. The ABS Film of the Year in the Commercial category was “Lemming – The Little Giant of the North", directed by Zoltan Török .



In 2002, the Animal Behavior Society created the Charles H. Turner Program for undergraduate participation at the annual society meetings. Charles Turner was the first known African American researcher in animal behavior. He earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1907. Among other things, his research showed that insects can hear and exhibit trial-and-error learning. By naming the undergraduate program after him, the ABS Diversity Committee emphasizes its goal of increasing the diversity of its membership by encouraging researchers of all ages, levels and ethnic groups to participate in the annual meetings.

The ABS Diversity committee selected twelve Charles H. Turner Fellows from the 55 highly qualified undergraduate applicants to bring to the Toronto meeting this year, covering all expenses and providing a full program of events including a pre-meeting workshop and direct mentorship from junior and senior scientists. This years’ deserving Turner award winners were Angela Rincon, Archchana Rajmohan, Chente Ortiz, Colby Behrens, Dajia Ye, Denisse Gamboa, Laura Arroyo, Michael Austin, Rebecca Migotsky, Tara Brown, Taylor Simmons, Timothy Fernandes, Jenna O’Del.

Special thanks goes to ABS Diversity Committee members Daniel R. Howard (DC Chairperson), Carrie L. Hall (University of New Hampshire), Mia Phillips (University of New Hampshire) and Delia Shelton (Oregon State University), and Brooke Woelber (University of New Hampshire), (for putting together a day-long pre-conference workshop for these students and mentoring them throughout the conference.

2017 Charles H. Turner Award recipients and mentors.


The Public Affairs Committee organized a new competition at the meeting this year. The following description is taken from the creator’s website: Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props”.
With 6 competitors signed up for our first event ever, the winner was Cylita Guy (University of Toronto). We encourage all graduate students to consider participating in this event, particularly if they have fewer outreach opportunities at their home institution. Please email [email protected] to register for next year.




First Female Finisher:  Jennifer Hellmann, 26:00
First Male Finisher:  Tim Fernandes, 21:20

Thank you to the organizers, Nathan Harness and AJ Masson, and to all the great volunteers that didn’t let the participants get lost along the route!


The ABS 2017 Fun Run Participants


The ABS 2017 Poster Session, University of Toronto Scarborough Science Wing


ABS Newsletter

Send general correspondence concerning the Society to Patricia Brennan, the Secretary of The Animal Behavior Society, E-mail: [email protected]. Deadlines for materials to be included in the Newsletter are the 15th of the month preceding each issue. The next deadline is October 15, 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 Behavior Society Website: http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org

Animal Behavior

Animal Behavior, manuscripts and editorial matters: Authors should submit manuscripts online to Elsevier’s Editorial System (http://ees.elsevier.com/anbeh/). For enquiries relating to submissions prior to acceptance, contact the Journal Manager ([email protected]). For enquiries relating to submissions after acceptance, visit Elsevier at http://www.elsevier.com/journals. For other general correspondence, contact Kris Bruner, Managing Editor, Animal Behaviour, Indiana University, 407 N. Park Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA. E-mail: [email protected]. Phone: 812-935-7188.

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