2014 ASM Fellowship - Melissa Merrick

MelissaMerrick.jpgThe ASM Fellowship is the highest award made to a graduate student member of our Society.  The award is intended to recognize current outstanding accomplishments in Mammalogy, service to ASM, as well as the potential for a productive, future role in professional Mammalogy.  This year the award is $7,500, a set of ASM Special Publications, and a set of other literary material valued at approximately $2000.  The recipient of the 2014 American Society of Mammalogists Award is Melissa Merrick from the University of Arizona.

Ms. Merrick is the author of 11 publications, including three Mammalian Species accounts.  Other outlets include: Journal of Wildlife Management, Journal of Experimental Biology, Environmental Entomology, the Southwestern Naturalist and Endangered Species Research. She has received 21 grants and honorary awards including a Grant-in-Aid of Research and two travel awards from our society.  Ms. Merrick has presented results of her research at ASM meetings three times.  She has served our society by reviewing for the Journal of Mammalogy as well as serving on the Education and Graduate Student Committee and the Public Outreach and Education Committee.  She was elected to the ASM Board of Directors at our annual meeting in 2014.

Ms. Merrick has been described as “a clear leader among her peers that would rank in the top 3-4% of all the students I have advised.”  She “has a long and substantial academic record that epitomizes excellence in mammalogy, research and public outreach.” One reference writer wrote “I anticipate that she will emerge from her Ph. D. experience as a true star and leader in the field of mammalian ecology in a way that few graduate students are able.”

Ms. Merrick’s research addresses the proximate cues and ultimate fitness consequences of juvenile exploration and settlement during the dispersal process.  In particular she focusses on Mt. Graham red squirrels to test effects of natal habitat, behavioral phenotypes, and forest fragmentation on emigration, exploration, and settlement to assess the ultimate consequences of settlement decisions, namely, time to settlement, survivorship, and reproductive success.