The American Ornithological Society is pleased to honor Dr. Carol M. Vleck as the recipient of the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award for 2017. This award is presented for lifetime achievement in ornithological research.
Carol Vleck received her B.A. with honors from Pomona College in 1972. She then remained in California and went on to earn her M.S. in 1974 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), under the guidance of Nicholas Collias, and her Ph.D. in 1978, also at UCLA, supervised by Thomas Howell (a former president of the American Ornithologists' Union) and George Bartholomew (a past recipient of the Miller Award). Upon receiving her doctorate, Carol moved to the University of Washington as a postdoctoral research associate in the lab of noted avian physiologist Donald Farner. After two brief research appointments at SUNY Buffalo and the University of Adelaide, Carol assumed a faculty position at the University of Arizona in 1980. In 1994, she moved to Iowa State University's Department of Zoology and Genetics (now Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology). Carol retired in 2013 and is now an emerita professor who remains active in research and continues to train graduate students.
In a research career spanning nearly 40 years, Carol has made groundbreaking advances in the general discipline of avian physiological ecology. By integrating physiology, endocrinology, behavior, ecology, and evolution, Carol, along with her students and colleagues, has published more than 100 papers that have made a significant impact and advanced our understanding of aging processes in birds, oxidative stress and senescence, the neuroendocrinology of avian incubation and reproductive behavior, and embryonic energetics. After her early and frequently cited research in avian energetics, Carol focused on avian embryogenesis and its energetic costs. Her 1980 paper in American Zoologist on growth in avian embryos continues to be an essential and cited reference on the topic. More recently, in collaboration with her Ph.D. student Mark Haussmann, Carol has largely established the study of telomere shortening and aging processes in birds—a topic that has opened up entirely new questions and comparative methods in studies of senescence in birds, the evolutionary processes that mold avian life histories, and the environmental sources of chronic stress in birds. Carol continues to be sought after as a colleague for her extraordinary skills and experience in field- and lab-based research. Carol has also been recognized for her excellence in the classroom and her continuing efforts to train and mentor young scientists.
It is for these and other lasting contributions made in a long, productive, and continuing career that the American Ornithological Society is honored to present the 2017 Miller Research Award to Carol M. Vleck. A list of previous Miller Awardees can be found at http://www.americanornithology.org/content/aos-miller-award-recipients.