2016 Merriam Award - Joel Brown

The C. Hart Merriam Award is given to eminent scholars in recognition of outstanding research in mammalogy over a period of at least 10 years. C. Hart Merriam was the first chief of the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy of the United States Department of Agriculture (the precursor of the national Fish and Wildlife Service), and a founding member of the American Ornithologists' Union, the National Geographic Society, and the American Society of Mammalogists.  Among other contributions to mammalogy and science, he developed the concept of "life zones" to classify biomes found in North America.

The 2016 recipient of the Merriam Award is Dr. Joel Brown from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Brown is an evolutionary ecologist who explores how does natural selection acting as an optimization process determines feeding behaviors, population characteristics, and the properties of communities. His research includes the mathematical formulation and field tests of models and hypotheses based on foraging theory, consumer-resource models of species coexistence, and evolutionary game theory using the concept of evolutionary stable strategies (ESS). At present, he is using the giving-up density approach to examine the ecology of fear in fox squirrels, the community organization of desert granivores in the Negev Desert, Israel, the effects of granivory, herbivory, and fire on prairie restorations, and applications to the ecology of black rhinoceros, show leopards preying upon blues sheep, and mountain lions preying upon mule deer.