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 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and a founding member of the American Ornithologists' Union, the National Geographic Society, and the American Society of Mammalogists. Among numerous contributions to mammalogy and science, he developed the concept of "life zones" to classify biomes of North America.
The 2020 recipient of the C. Hart Merriam Award is Dr. Jean-Michel Gaillard of Leon University. Dr. Gaillard earned his Ph.D. in 1988 from Lyon University in France. In 1990 he became a Junior Researcher at CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) at that same university. In recognition of his exceptional scholarship, Dr. Gaillard was awarded Bronze Medal from CNRS in 1993. He received his Habilitation (which allows him to supervise Ph.D. students) in 1994, and currently is a 1st Class Senior Researcher at the CNRS.
Dr. Gaillard’s research lies at the interface of theory and application. He is known world-wide for research in four major areas of mammalogy, often integrating those sub-disciplines to achieve novel outcomes: 1) Life-history Theory (especially senescence and aging); 2) Behavioral Ecology; 3) Population Ecology; and 4) Management and Conservation. His approach often involves quantitative methods, at which he excels. Much of this research has been focused on ungulates, especially roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). His research is characterized by long-term field studies in which he uses mammals as models to answer important questions in biology.
Dr. Gaillard has amassed ~400 scientific publications in high-quality journals; 123 of those papers were published from 2015 to the present. He has three publications with > 1,000 citations, and his papers have accumulated > 26,000 citations. Many of those publications have involved his 31 Ph.D. students. He has been involved in a tremendous number of editorial duties for various scientific journals, including being the Executive Editor for the Journal of Animal Ecology, and serving as Associate Editor for nine other journals. Dr. Gaillard also was the President of the Evolutionary Demography Society in 2018. He is among the most influential researchers in the fields of population ecology and demography of mammals, and his research has provided important theoretical underpinnings for those disciplines.