Vol. 63, No. 3 | Fall 2018

2018 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 2018 ABS Allee Session, 12 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 – Esteban Fernandez-Juricic (Purdue) ; Ann Hedrick (UC Davis); Elisabeth Hobson (Santa Fe Institute); Jennifer Fewell (Chair, Arizona State University)– found the papers and presentations to be of exceptionally high quality.

First place was awarded to Erin Siracusa (University of Guelph) for her talk and paper entitled “Long-term social relationships affect reproductive success and survival in a territorial squirrel.”

First runner-up was awarded to Samantha Carouso-Peck (Cornell University) for her talk and paper entitled “Evolving the capacity for social guidance of vocal learning in songbirds."

Second runner-up was awarded to Joel Slade (Michigan State University) for his talk and paper entitled "Chemical and acoustic signals of MHC and MHC-mediated mate choice in a wild songbird."

First place was awarded to Erin Siracusa (University of Guelph) and Judge Esteban Fernandez-Juricic.

First runner-up was awarded to Samantha Carouso-Peck (Cornell University), and Judge Esteban Fernandez-Juricic.

Second runner-up was awarded to Joel Slade (Michigan State University), and Judge Esteban Fernandez-Juricic.




The grand prize winner of the Stuart Altmann Founders Award for 2018 was Avalon Owens and Award Chair, John Swaddle.

Each year a poster competition, named for 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 Stuart Altmann, an expert in primate behavior. The judges were: John Swaddle (Chair), Elizabeth Peterson, Cassandra Nunez, Todd Freeberg, Emma Grigg and Molly Morris. 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 Stuart Altmann Founders Award for 2018 was Avalon Owens (Tufts University) for the poster “Does light pollution impact the flash color of Photinus pyralis fireflies?”


First presented at the 2000 ABS Annual meeting, the Genesis Award honors the best undergraduate poster presented at the meeting. This year 37 undergraduate students submitted posters for the Genesis Undergraduate Poster Competition, and the standard was extremely high. Judges Include (Matthew Wund (Chair), Melissa Graham, Carrie Hall, Sarah Humfeld, Sarah Jaumann, Caroline Jones, David Logue, Jennifer Mather, Dale Stevens, and Brooke Woelber) worked hard to carefully review all posters.

The grand prize of $300 was awarded to Chris Edomwande (Lake Forest College) for the poster entitled: "The influence of predation risk on mate choice in the waxmoth Achroia grisella.

Ivonne Arriola Mendieta (Florida State University) was the first runner up for the poster " Does courtship behavior of male lance-tailed manakins affect offspring survivability?"

Honorable mention was awarded to Brandi Pessman and Rosaria Rae (North Central College) for their poster"Juvenile social environment results in alternative mating strategies in Acheta domesticus males" and Rachel Ruiz (Colorado State University Pueblo) for the poster "The impact of multiple stressors on behavioral and immunological response in vinegar flies.

Winner Chris Edomwande (Lake Forest College) and Award Chair, Matthew Wund.

First runner up Ivonne Arriola Mendieta (Florida State University)  and Award Chair, Matthew Wund.

Rachel Ruiz (Colorado State University Pueblo) and Award Chair, Matthew Wund.


Now in its 35th 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 (Cassandra Nunez, John Swaddle, Chris Templeton, and Michael Noonan) received 58 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 films and one non-commercial film.

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 “The Ice Whale: Dephinapterus leucas”, directed by Michael Noonan.

The ABS Film of the Year in the Commercial category was “White Wolves - Ghosts of the Arctic”, directed by Oliver Goetzl.



Stories and pictures illustrate science in an exciting way. This year the Animal Behavior Society recognized one winner and three finalists through our Outstanding Children’s Book Award program. These books are targeted to children in grades 3-5 (ages 8-11). Inspire a future scientist by giving one of these as a gift or by encouraging your school or public library to acquire these titles.

The Animal Behavior Society will soon be soliciting books for next year’s award. Interested publishers should contact the Committee Chair, Jennifer Mather.

Outstanding Children’s Book Award Winner

The winner of the 2018 Oustanding Children's Book Award is Wolf Island by Nicholas Read and Ian McAllister (Orca Book Publishers). The Great Bear Rainforest is a majestic place full of tall trees, huge bears and endless schools of salmon. Award-winning photographer and author Ian McAllister's luminous photographs illustrate the story of a lone wolf who swims to one of the small islands that dot the rainforest's coast. The island provides him with everything he needs—deer, salmon, fresh water—everything, that is, but a mate. When a female wolf arrives on the island's rocky shores, she and he start a family and introduce their pups to the island's bounty.

Outstanding Children’s Book Award Finalists

Honey Girl (The Hawaiian Monk Seal) by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Shennen Bersani (Arbordale Publishing)

Hawaiian locals and visitors always enjoy spotting endangered Hawaiian monk seals, but Honey Girl is an extra special case. She has raised seven pups, and scientists call her Super Mom. After Honey Girl is injured by a fishhook, she gets very sick. Scientists and veterinarians work to save Honey Girl so she can be released back to the ocean. This true story will have readers captivated to learn more about this endangered species.

This work of narrative nonfiction includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book and a 30-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online. Honey Girl is vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The enhanced ebook reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension.

The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia, by Margriet Ruurs and Pedro Covo (Kids Can Press)

When teenaged Aaron discovers a baby elephant nearly drowning in the swimming pool at the guest lodge where he works, he acts quickly and manages to save the animal just in time. The rescued baby is brought to an elephant orphanage for care, and given the name Zambezi. Though Aaron has been raised to think of elephants as dangerous to humans and their crops, on a visit to the orphanage, he learns that illegal poaching of these animals is threatening them with extinction, and the orphanage is trying to prevent that from happening. And when Aaron is offered a job at the orphanage, his life is suddenly transformed, as he discovers a bond of friendship with Zambezi and his lifelong vocation as an elephant keeper.

Inspired by the real-life Aaron and Zambezi at the Lilayi Elephant Nursery in Zambia, author Margriet Ruurs has created a moving story that powerfully demonstrates the plight of endangered animals everywhere. Pedro Covo's stunning illustrations add a level of depth and haunting beauty to the story and the animals. Three nonfiction spreads interspersed throughout the story explore facts about elephants, ivory poaching and elephant orphanages. The back of the book contains ways children can help endangered wildlife. Useful tools include a table of contents and a glossary. This beautifully illustrated nonfiction book spans the curriculum, from life sciences to global awareness to environmental stewardship. It also offers a unique perspective for character education lessons on empathy, caring and responsibility on a larger scale.

Bird Brains: The Wild & Wacky World of Birds, by Jeremy Hyman and Haude Levesque (MoonDance Press)

Loaded with remarkable bird behaviors and full-color illustrations from cover to cover, Bird Brains is a perfect blend of science and entertainment for young children and kids.

Birds do the wildest things! In Bird Brains, learn how birds use sound, color, and even dances to communicate with each other, plus you'll see how they use camouflage, dive-bomb, and projectile vomit to discourage predators. Not only that, you'll get the full story on how they build nests with sticks, stones, feathers, vines, mud, saliva, and even mucus. Bird Brains comes loaded with full-color illustrations to showcase these cool behaviors.


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 highly qualified undergraduate applicants to bring to the Milwaukee 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 year’s deserving Turner award winners were Anya Auerbach, Sophie Barton, Gabriela Chio, Anessa Fogle, Daniela Gomez, Laney Hayward, Noah T. Leith, Nicole M. Lopez, Jeanne McDonald, Ivonne Arriola Mendieta, and Xochilt Ortiz Ross.

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



The Public Affairs Committee organized the second annual 3 MT 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”. This year's first place winner was Jess Cusick (Florida State University). Second place went to Eve Humphrey (Florida State University) and third place went to Cameron Jones (University of California Davis). 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.



ABS Newsletter

Send general correspondence concerning the Society to Danielle J. Whittaker, Public Affairs Officer, at: publicaffairs@
. Deadlines for materials to be included in the Newsletter are the 15th of the month preceding each issue. The next deadline is February 15, 2019. 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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