Dr. Stan Boutin of the University of Alberta is the 2018 recipient of the C. Hart Merriam Award. He obtained his B.S. from the University of Alberta (Honors), and his M.S. (Zoology) and Ph.D. (Zoology) from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Boutin served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph, and ultimately was promoted through the professorial ranks at the University of Alberta. He now holds the Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair in the Department of Biology. Dr. Boutin has an exceptional record of publications, including 266 peer-reviewed papers. He also has published 1 book, and edited another—he has an additional 19 publications as book chapters and in symposia. He remains remarkably active with 57 papers published in the past 5 years, many with his numerous M.S. and Ph.D. students, and his Post-Doctoral Fellows. Dr. Boutin also has done an excellent job of funding his research and that of his graduate students and Post-Doctoral Fellows. Since 1984, he has received $30 million from NSERC (the Canadian equivalent of NSF) and other sources. Dr. Boutin has made significant contributions to our understanding of mammalian behavioral ecology, population dynamics, and conservation biology. The body of research for which Dr. Boutin is most renowned is his ground-breaking research into the factors that drive the evolution and dynamics of wildlife populations. Using mammals as his primary focus, he has made major and fundamental contributions to our understanding of predator-prey dynamics, the role of food, habitat selection and spacing behavior as factors determining population size, and the contributions of the genotype and phenotype of organisms in facilitating their responses to changing environments. Using judicious field experiments and one of the longest population studies on any mammal (data on ~10,000 individual squirrels sampled over more than 25 years), allowed him to test hypotheses and extend theory in areas as diverse as the effects of personality on reproduction, senescence, energetics, maternal effects and other key components that underpin individual fitness. Dr. Boutin’s contributions to science have not gone unnoticed. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has received the Society’s Romanowski Medal for contributions to environmental sciences. He was honored with the J. Gordin Kaplin Award for excellence in research (the University of Alberta’s highest research honor). He received the William Rowan Distinguished Service Award from the Alberta Chapter of The Wildlife Society, as well as 2 Outstanding Publication Awards from The Wildlife Society.
Photo courtesy University of Alberta