2019 Merriam Award - Hopi Hoekstra

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 2019 recipient of the C. Hart Merriam Award is Dr. Hopi E. Hoekstra of Harvard University. She obtained her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in Integrative Biology (Highest Honors), and Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Washington. Professor Hoekstra rapidly advanced her career at several well-regarded institutions before joining Harvard University as the Curator of Mammals. She is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a Member of the Broad Institute, and currently resides in an endowed Professorial Chair in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Hoekstra has 81 high-quality publications focused primarily on genetics, evolution and behavior. She is an evolutionary geneticist, who principally conducts research on the molecular basis of adaptation in wild mammals. Five of her papers have become “citation classics,” receiving ≥ 500 citations in high-end journals. Dr. Hoekstra has 28 publications with ≥ 100 citations, and has amassed a total of > 11,000 citations—an exceptional record of accomplishment. Dr. Hoekstra’s contributions to science have not gone unnoticed. She was awarded the Ernst Mayr Prize from the Society for Systematic Biologists, the Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Naturalists, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award, and the Richard Lounsbery Award from the National Academy of Sciences. She is an Elected Fellow of The American Philosophical Society, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and The National Academy of Sciences.