Vol. 64, No. 2 | Summer 2018

Congratulations to the 2019 ABS Newly Elected Fellows

Leticia Avilés, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Zoology and Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Avilés’ research: She is a prolific researcher who has made significant contributions to animal behavior with an emphasis on in social spiders. Her research, which is always grounded in natural history and field observations, is innovative and ground-breaking; her empirical research is elegant and rigorous; her theoretical contributions are analytical and extremely sophisticated. She is never afraid to broach controversial topics and has helped to revolutionize our thinking about social evolution. As one example, she has been a leader, since the 1980s, in examining levels of selection, embracing the possibility that group selection can be important in social evolution and under certain circumstances. Needless to say, at the time, many biologists considered the concept of “group selection” near anathema. Thus, Leticia was a pioneer in advocating for the importance of multi-level selection in social evolution – an idea that was well ahead of its time – and that now has been embraced even by E. O. Wilson. Lastly, it is noteworthy that Leticia has been an indefatigable advocate for the development and improvement of science in Latin America. She is, without doubt, a most important role model for younger Latin American scientists.

Mark E. Hauber, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Harley Jones Van Cleave Professor of Host-Parasite Interactions, Department of Animal Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Hauber’s research: Mark’s research is focused on the evolution of recognition systems using behavioral, developmental, physiological, and molecular tools with an emphasis on avian brood parasites and their hosts. An obligate brood parasite’s reliance on host species to raise its offspring raises the question of how recognition of conspecific song develops in parasitic young, which lack exposure to conspecific referents. Among his more important publications are considerations of the “password” (lock-and-key) process by which an initial recognition cue triggers the sensitive period in young individuals to begin to learn about salient features of conspecific partners (Hauber and Sherman 2001a, b). Mark’s work is increasingly incorporating techniques from genomics (e.g. RNA-Seq, methylation profiling) and neuroscience (e.g. MRI) to address fundamental questions about behavior. Mark champions inclusion, diversity, and broader impacts of the scientific process as a researcher, collaborator, mentor, and teacher. Working with birds allows Mark to capture people’s attention, and he often talks about research in high schools, public clubs, and citizen science projects. He is an ambassador for animal behavior who considers it his ethical duty to report unbiasedly to the public about our scientific challenges and discoveries.

Diana K. Hews, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biology, Indiana State University

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Hews’ research: Diana works primarily with lizards in the field and has pioneered the use of simple field manipulations to test sophisticated behavioral, mechanistic and evolutionary questions. Diana focused in on stress and reproductive hormones, crafting a research program around
clever field manipulations (implants, blockers, and live stimuli) that impact both hormones and behavior. Diana’s most important contribution has been to our understanding of the evolution of sensory systems and communication. Her early finding that there was a connection between a color signal and chemosensory behavior (Hews & Benard, 2001), bolstered by studies finding mechanistic links between reproductive hormones, signal production and response behavior (e.g., Hews, Knapp, & Moore, 1994; Quinn & Hews, 2000) inspired a now long-term collaboration (Hews & Martins, 2013) that worked out many of the details of how a color patch was lost (e.g., Romero-Diaz et al., 2019), and the evolutionary consequences of that loss to chemical signaling behavior (e.g., Pruett et al., 2016). Diana has been a highly-effective mentor to students at all stages and gives frequent public talks to local groups such as the Audubon Society and life-long learning institutes. Her primary outreach contribution may be in engaging high school teachers in her research.

Regina Helena Ferraz Macedo, Ph.D.

Professor, Zoology Department, Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil

Here is a short selection of excerpts received by the ABS Executive Committee about Dr. Macedo’s research: Regina is a dynamic, creative, and productive scientist who has made important contributions in the study of animal ecology, behavior, and genetics. A hallmark of Regina’s approach to science has been to develop multifaceted research programs that involve strong collaborations with other scientists and with students. For Regina, science is not just about ideas and nature but also about people. Regina has also proved to be a real scientific MacGyver, working out the best ways to push her science forward in the face of limited funding and infrastructure. Regina addresses many of the most important questions in sexual selection, including the occurrence and adaptive significance of extra-pair copulations and its relationship to mating systems. Perhaps even much more important is that Regina is investigating whether neotropical birds fit the same patterns and that have been documented in temperate birds. Regina is among a very small number of scientists currently conducting detailed and comparative studies of neotropical species. Regina has been an extremely effective and prolific mentor with students, showing great energy, patience and dedication. Regina has been a pioneer in fostering cultural and scientific exchanges between US and Brazilian professionals in our field.


Mathis.pngThe Penny Bernstein Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes a sustained record of excellent teaching in Animal Behavior. Since the first recipient, Jane Brockman (1995), nominees and awardees have all had outstanding reputations as educators. This year the Education Committee received a number of nominations for wonderfully qualified teachers. After carefully considering each nominee’s dossier and letters of support, the committee is awarding Alicia Mathis the 2019 Penny Bernstein Distinguished Teaching Award. Alicia is chair of her department and professor in biology at Missouri State University where she teaches Behavioral Ecology and Comparative Vertebrate Physiology. She has advised dozens of graduate and undergraduate students who have written to us about her as a true mentor and role model. She has trained many cohorts in both experimental design and critical thinking and instills in her students the importance of being a broadly read biologist, rather than a narrow specialist. She has brought more than 100 students to conferences to give papers and has coauthored more than 50 articles with her students. These students point out that Alicia has made them better writers and scientists by giving them real feedback and expecting them to revise their work rather than just editing their writing for them. Alicia has also inspired thousands of young scientists with her work in Science Olympiad and the Ozark Science and Engineering Fair. Alicia Mathis’s generosity and careful mentoring of her students is an inspiration to all of us who want to become better teachers.


ABS Newsletter

Please send general correspondence concerning the Society to ABS Secretary, Patty Brennan (secretary@animalbehaviorsociety.org). Deadlines for materials to be included in the Newsletter are the 15th of the month preceding each issue. The next deadline is 15 September, 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 Behaviour

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