Cameron Award

Guy N. Cameron Rodent Research Award (ad hoc)

Chair

Members

  • Gerardo Ceballos
  • M. Denise Dearing
  • Andrew McAdam
  • Rebecca J. Rowe
  • Nancy Solomon

History and Mission

The Cameron Award supports graduate and postdoctoral research on the ecology or behavior of rodents native to the New World (North, Central, South America), with an emphasis on (1) field research or (2) laboratory research that supports or augments field research. See the “Grants & Awards” tab for further details. A single award of $5,000 is available annually to qualified students enrolled in a MS or PhD program in the United States, and a second $5,000 award is available to qualified postdoctoral researchers employed in the United States. The nationality of the applicant is not considered in reviewing applications. Applicants must be current ASM members and must maintain their membership for the duration of the award.

The Cameron Award was established in 2019 with a substantial gift by Guy N. Cameron to the ASM. The name of this award was proposed by ASM President Kelt and Secretary-Treasurer Hopton and approved by the ASM Board of Directors.

2021 Cameron Award Recipients

The Cameron Award supports graduate and postdoctoral research on the ecology or behavior of rodents native to the New World, with an emphasis on (1) field research or (2) laboratory research that supports or augments field research. The 2021 graduate student recipient of the Cameron Award is Mena Davidson. The 2021 postdoctoral recipient of the Cameron Award is Dr. Caitlin Wells.

Mena Davidson is a PhD candidate working with Ben Dantzer at the University of Michigan, where she is interested in understanding the ways that animals use behavior to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Her dissertation research focuses on the impact of features of the social environment on discrete patterns of mating behavior in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Specifically, she is interested in identifying causes and consequences of variation in reproductive decision-making and pair bonding processes.

To address these topics, Mena manipulates the social environment of free-living voles located in outdoor enclosures by removing some individuals and recording how the remaining individuals respond. She uses bio-loggers to passively record pairwise social interactions and individual movement patterns over the course of an experiment. These data are then used to conduct social network analyses in conjunction with behavioral assays, physiological biomarkers of stress and inflammation, and neurobiology relevant to variation in mating behavior. Mena aims to integrate established findings from field and laboratory studies of prairie vole mating behavior, while adding clarity to the evolution and ontogeny of discrete behavioral phenotypes more generally.

Dr. Caitlin Wells has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Aubry lab at Colorado State University since 2019. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis, working with Dirk Van Vuren on the role of kinship in asocial ground squirrels. After postdoctoral work in conservation genomics at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and University of Oregon, she has returned to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado, as Co-PI of the 30-year golden-mantled ground squirrel project. Her research has been published in a variety of journals including Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Journal of Zoology, Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, and Molecular Ecology.

Dr. Wells’s postdoctoral research is on the life-history responses of hibernating squirrels to climate change. With support from the Cameron Award, she is combining molecular and behavioral approaches to examine the physiological bases of accelerated life-histories under warming and drying conditions.

Donate Now!

You can donate to the Guy N. Cameron Rodent Research Award fund (and others) here.

Research that may be funded by the Cameron Award.

The purpose of the Cameron Award is to fund field research on native rodents. In some cases, laboratory research may enhance field research or may explain findings of field research. If both field and laboratory research is proposed, applicants must describe how laboratory studies will augment or enhance field studies. Laboratory studies per se will not be supported. The type of research to be supported is broad, generally falling under the umbrella of ecology and behavior. Potential research themes include but are not limited to the following:

  • ecology (e.g., abundance, habitat use, diet, inter- or intraspecific competition);
  • reproduction and development;
  • physiology, nutritional ecology, metabolism, hibernation, estivation;
  • behavior (e.g., mating behavior, movement/dispersal/ home range, territoriality, communication [scents and odors]);
  • impact on habitats (e.g., burrows, runways, dams, tunnels, foraging);
  • impact on other animals (e.g., prey, predators, competition, mutualism);
  • impact of diseases;
  • conservation or management issues (e.g., impact of habitat destruction/habitat alternation, introduced non-native animals, fossil fuel extraction, chemicals released by industries, wind farms).

Research projects conducted anywhere in North, Central, or South America may be supported by the Cameron Award.

How can funds from the new research award be used?

Funds may be used for field or laboratory supplies or equipment, and for travel to or housing at study sites. Salary and travel to meetings will not be supported.

Application requirements and instructions

Applicants must submit a research proposal, limited to five double-spaced pages (12 point Times New Roman font, full 1” margins). The proposal must include a description of the thesis, dissertation, or postdoctoral research project organized under the following headings: Title, name, and affiliation of the applicant; Introduction, including questions/hypotheses to be addressed; Objectives; Methods, including where the research will take place, and noting whether permission has been granted to use study sites; Preliminary results of the research, if applicable; Duration of the research to be supported by the Cameron Award and the expected completion date for the project; Significance of the research and Expected results; How the proposed research fits the purpose of the Cameron Award; and Literature Cited (which may be on a separate page, independent of the 5-page limit).

A detailed budget is required, as is a separate justification (1 page maximum) of the funds requested to support the research (these are independent of the 5-page limit for the proposal). Any other grant support for the proposed research should be noted. The applicant’s CV (3-page limit) should include: education, past or current research projects, past research support, any other requested support for the research project under consideration by the Cameron Award, and a list of publications and presentations of research efforts (if any) at annual society meetings. A recommendation letter from the Major Professor (for student applicants) or Postdoctoral Mentor (for postdoctoral applicants) is required, and should indicate why this application should be supported by the Cameron Award; the letter should also indicate how the proposed projects fits into the applicant’s overall research effort. The letter will be submitted separately from the application and instructions will be provided to the writer by email.

See the grants page for current submission dates.

2020+

  • 2020—Carson Keller, graduate student, University of Wisconsin, Madison

  • 2020—Andreas Kauttpostdoctoral scientist, Harvard University

  • 2021—Mena Davidson, graduate student, University of Michigan

  • 2021—Caitlin Wells, postdoctoral scientist, Colorado State University