MISSOULA – The American Society of Mammalogists recently awarded UM Wildlife Biology Professor and Craighead Chair Joel Berger the 2013 Aldo Leopold Conservation Award.
The award honors well-established individuals who have made lasting contributions to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.
Berger has addressed research questions about mammalian ecology and conservation in natural systems at wide-ranging geographic scales namely in Asia, Africa and North America. This award recognizes his broad scope of work, which includes social behavior and ecology of wild horses; behavioral and demographic consequences of horn removal in African rhinos; effects of predator reintroduction on the ecology of prey species and on the structure of vertebrate communities; long-distance migration by mammals and conservation of their migration corridors; effects of climate change in the Arctic on demography and persistence of musk ox; and conservation of large mammals in Bhutan, Tibet and Mongolia.
“In each of these systems, our recipient and his collaborators have combined traditional approaches and novel field manipulations that facilitate stronger inferences about both fundamental and applied ecological topics,” stated the American Society of Mammalogists in their award announcement. “Dr. Berger also has engaged in capacity building in these projects through efforts with local conservation organizations, education and training for local scientists and students and advising for governmental agencies.”
In 2002, ASM created the award, which is named after Aldo Leopold, the “father” of wildlife ecology and management, who is well known for his famous land ethic philosophy and his influence on wildlife conservation, including his active membership on ASM Conservation Committees in the 1930s.
“I am motivated by conservation and finding ways to protect our planet’s spectacular diversity,” Berger said. “This means understanding systems and species, their challenges, and proffering solutions.”
Along with his position at UM, Berger also is a senior conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. His past honors include the 2009 LaRoe Memorial Conservation Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. Twice he has been selected as a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Sciences and twice has received the Rolex Foundation's Meritorious Project Award.