LOYE H. AND ALDEN MILLER RESEARCH AWARD
The Cooper Ornithological Society is pleased to honor Dr. Susan M. Haig as the recipient of the Loye H. and Alden Miller Research Award. Dr. Haig has had a distinguished career in ornithological and conservation biology, spanning traditional ecological studies to detailed studies in molecular ecology. Additionally, Dr. Haig was one of the first to approach studies of birds in a landscape context with innovative approaches that included both radio-transmitters and genetics. Her very important initiation of the International Piping Plover survey, still one of the only repeated and regular attempts at a full survey of an endangered species, has successfully documented the recovery of this species as well as mobilized an army of well-trained volunteers in field ornithology. Dr. Haig has more than 130 publications and has conducted very important work on the conservation genetics of numerous endangered species, including several critically endangered birds in Micronesia (including the Micronesian Kingfisher, Todiramphus cinnamominus) and the Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) in the U.S. Northwest. Her frequently cited paper entitled “Molecular Contributions to Conservation” (1998, Ecology 79: 413–525) is representative of her strong contributions to merging genetics, ecology, and conservation. She coauthored an important review paper discussing the critical topic of migratory connectivity (Webster, M. S., P. P. Marra, S. M. Haig, S. Bensch, and R. T. Holmes, 2002, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17:76–83) and reflecting her interests in understanding demography across seasons in migratory birds. Recently, Dr. Haig edited (with Kevin Winker) “Avian Subspecies” (2010, Ornithological Monographs 67), which underscores her long interest in the interface between subspecies identification and the implementation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. She has developed new techniques in molecular ecology as well as trained many students in shorebird ecology. Dr. Haig is also a regular contributor to scientific meetings, providing stimulating talks, and she has been an outspoken supporter of conservation activism in ornithological societies. She continues to explore new and exciting topics, while providing rigorous training for students. In honor of her achievements and contributions to ornithological and conservation science, the Cooper Ornithological Society is honored to present the 2011 Miller Research Award to Dr. Susan M. Haig.
YOUNG PROFESSIONAL AWARD
The Cooper Ornithological Society (COS) is pleased to recognize Luciano Naka and Morgan Tingley as the 2012 recipients of the Young Professional Award. First awarded in 2009, the Young Professional Award recognizes early-career researchers for their outstanding scientific research and contributions to the ornithological profession. Two awardees are selected from applicants to deliver presentation at the Young Professional Plenary session held at each annual meeting and are given 30 minutes each (25 minutes for presentation, 5 for questions) to present their research to the entire conference body. The two awardees each receive a cash prize, a travel award, and are honored at a reception attended by the COS officers, board of directors, and members of the Young Professional Award committee on the day of the plenary session. Candidates for the Young Professional Award must by COS members and must be in the final phase of their graduate studies (last nine months) or have graduated within three years of the previous meeting. More information is available under the awards and grants section on the COS website: http://www.cooper.org/.
Luciano Naka's main research interests are to unveil the mechanisms and processes responsible for the overwhelming avian diversity in the neotropics. He is interested not only in understanding the factors that promote the formation of new species but also in the forces that prevent gene flow between closely related taxa. For the last 10 years, he has been fascinated by the distributional patterns of Amazonian birds, in which pairs of closely related taxa replace one another along sharply defined areas, most often across large rivers. For his Ph.D. at the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University, he worked with Robb Brumfield and Van Remsen, studying the roles of physical and ecological barriers in the location of avian contact zones in northern Amazonia. Specifically, he focused on the patterns of geographic variation and phylogeographic structure in nearly 80 pairs of co-distributed avian taxa, analyzing the roles of rivers, habitat availability, and interspecific interactions in shaping their evolutionary history and current distributions. After defending his Ph.D. in 2010, he continued his Amazonian line of research as a post-doctoral fellow at the Federal University of Roraima, in northern Brazil, where he focused on understanding the role of large rivers in the evolution of Amazonian birds. He serves as the chair of the Condor's Latin American Editorial Board. Luciano discovered his interest in the natural world as a young boy, an interest possibly resulting from a somewhat deleterious mutation in a family of Jewish merchants. He spent most of his youth traveling, hiking, and birding throughout South America, from the Venezuelan cloud forests to the frozen plains of Tierra del Fuego. Luciano's interest in the tropics followed a very clear pattern of northward personal migration, which took him from the hectic city of Buenos Aires, Argentina (where he was born), to southern Brazil, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in biological sciences at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, and then to Manaus, in the heart of the Amazon, where he obtained a Master's degree in tropical ecology, studying canopy birds at the Brazilian Institute of Amazonian Research, INPA. He has been recently appointed as a professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, where he plans to expand his research into the highly endangered avifauna of the Atlantic forest and the semi-arid lands of the Brazilian northeast. Luciano would like to express his gratitude to the Cooper Ornithological Society for the prestigious award and particularly for being able to present his work at the 5th North American Ornithological Conference (NAOC-V) in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Morgan Tingley's research interests focus on understanding how bird populations and communities change and adapt to anthropogenic shifts in their environment. This research trajectory began while he was an undergrad at Harvard University working at the Harvard Forest on the effects of the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) on bird communities. After completing a M.Sc. in zoology at Oxford University, he began a Ph.D. in the department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. Working with Steven Beissinger, Morgan joined the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology's (MVZ) resurvey of Joseph Grinnell's Sierra Nevadan faunal transects, the Grinnell Resurvey Project. For his Ph.D., Morgan led the MVZ's bird-observation resurvey team in the Sierra, working alongside the teams collecting mammals, herps, and birds. The Grinnell Resurvey Project provided a rare opportunity across a large geographic area to test the effects of a nearly a century of climate change on birds' elevational distributions. Morgan's dissertation not only developed statistical models for detecting range shifts with tricky historical data, it also applied these models to document and explain range shifts over time. These empirical studies have already begun to play an important role in framing how future biotic responses to climate change are predicted. After completing his Ph.D. in 2011, Morgan worked first as a postdoctoral researcher with the Institute for Bird Populations, studying the temporal dynamics of bird communities and fire. In 2012, Morgan was awarded a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship and has joined the lab of David Wilcove at Princeton University, where he is exploring multiple drivers of change affecting the bird communities of the southern Appalachians.