The Miller Award Committee is pleased to honor Trevor Price as the recipient of the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award for 2013. This award is presented for lifetime achievement in ornithological research.
During graduate school at the University of Michigan, Trevor worked on sexual and natural selection in Darwin's ground finches (Geospiza spp.) as a student of another Miller Research Awardee, Dr. Peter R. Grant. Trevor's research in the Galápagos, especially on variation in selection with age and over time, and including oscillating selection, has proven fundamental in furthering our understanding of the dynamics of evolution and a keystone for much subsequent research on Darwin's finches.
After working in the Galápagos, Trevor began a faculty position at the University of California at San Diego in 1986 and returned to his first passion, namely, studying the birds of India and the Himalayas. Trevor hitchhiked from England to India in 1971, and developed this passion while banding birds in India. Now at the University of Chicago, Trevor remains committed to field work in India, where he spends several months or more each year. Undeterred by many hardships including kidnapping, Trevor and colleagues have made tremendous advances in the natural history, ecology, behavior, biogeography, and evolution of the Himalayan avifauna. The birds that Trevor has studied most intensively are the leaf warblers of the genus Phylloscopus. Widely cited papers on these birds include studies of the environmental determinants of coloration, the sequential patterns of ecological diversification, comparison of patterns of diversification in Phylloscopus and New World warblers, and the now classic demonstration of a ring species in the Greenish Warbler complex (P. trochiloides).
Trevor is one of the leading evolutionary ecologists of our time because an exceptional breadth of knowledge of both natural history and theory guides his research. His empirical work is conceptually driven, and his conceptual work is tethered by data. This interplay, combined with a creative mind, has resulted in numerous novel and important conceptual advances. These advances include elucidating conditions when heritable traits correlated with fitness (e.g., timing of breeding) might not evolve, providing alternative and compelling explanations for the low heritability of life-history traits, and developing a conceptual model for evolutionary divergence of male traits and female preferences between populations occupying different environments.
Trevor's greatest contribution to ornithology is his 2008 tour de force book, Speciation in Birds. This book is a stunning achievement for its clarity of writing and overview and synthesis of the literature. It represents of gold mine of information and ideas for any student interested in the behavior, ecology, and evolution of birds.
It is fitting that Trevor Price receives the Miller Research Award, as his contributions to ornithological research are many, and, like Alden Miller, Trevor is a naturalist: he has developed an extensive understanding of the birds in a particular geographic region, and his research and syntheses have greatly furthered our understanding of processes and patterns of diversification in birds. Trevor is a dedicated and generous mentor; the scope of his influence continues to expand through the success of his students. The Cooper Ornithological Society is honored to present the 2013 Miller Research Award to Trevor Price.