BIOMETRICS WORKING GROUP AWARDS – PAST RECIPIENTS

Award of Excellence

Special recognition award

Appreciation awards

 

Award of Excellence

Year

Recipient

Rationale

 2017 William Kendall 
 2016 Gary C. White This award seeks to “recognize individual BWG members for their career-long contribution to the field of biometrics and the application of biometrics to the field of wildlife science and management.” It is hard to think of an individual more worthy of this recognition than Gary White.  In fact, Gary’s career contributions are legion. After finishing his PhD at Ohio State University, Gary went on to a post-doctoral position in Utah, spent 7 years at Los Alamos National Laboratories, and ultimately took up a position at Colorado State University in1984. During his career, Gary produced foundational work in population dynamics (much of it informed by his rigorous field studies of ungulate populations) and population analysis methodology, with a particular focus on mark-recapture methods. Gary also authored a large share of the software catalog used for analysis of population data, including CAPTURE, RELEASE, NOREMARK, and – his emphasis in recent years – Program MARK. Gary’s software is used worldwide, and he has supported its use through training courses taught around the globe. Google Scholar records Gary’s citations at just under 30,000, which is nothing short of phenomenal. In addition, Gary advised a large cadre of graduate students over the years. Gary retired from CSU in 2007, but this has not slowed his contributions. Gary continues to program, teach, and publish. In addition, Gary’s contributions to the BWG are notable. Gary was an at-large member of the initial steering committee of BWG in 1995. Since then, Gary has always attended meetings and has contributed a large amount of his time as the webpage manager for BWG. Gary is also one of a handful of people who serve as a sort of institutional memory for the Group. Gary’s contributions to the larger Society are impressive as well. In particular, Gary served as a member of TWS Council from 2008 to 2014. But perhaps most notably, Gary was the 2000 winner of the TWS Aldo Leopold Award – the highest honor bestowed by our Society.  In short, Gary has exhibited exactly the kind of excellence that the BWG Award of Excellence seeks to highlight.

2015 

 Douglas H. Johnson

The Biometrics Working Group’s Award of Excellence seeks to recognize individual BWG members for their career-long contribution to the field of biometrics and the application of biometrics to the field of wildlife science and management. This year we would like to honor Dr. Douglas H. Johnson for his extensive contributions to the field of biometrics. Dr. Johnson is a current member of the Biometrics Working Group (BWG) and has a long history of contributing to the group. He has served on the Board from 1998–2000, and was Chair-elect 2005–2006, Chair 2006–2007, and Past-Chair 2007–2008. Dr. Johnson provided the computer facilities to host the first BWG web site. Against his supervisor’s admonitions, Dr. Johnson consistently attends TWS Annual Meetings, usually with his affiliation blacked out. Dr. Johnson has made significant contributions to the application of biometrics to the field of wildlife management and science in both development of new techniques and application of biometrical methods to wildlife management. His contributions started in the 1970’s with papers on estimation of survival from band returns, nest success, and general waterfowl research methods. Recently he is most noted for his informative and entertaining articles on P values, indices, multi-model inference. He has a knack for David taking on Goliath, but usually with much more ammunition than a single stone. His recent contributions to management concern grassland birds and Sandhill Cranes. In addition to providing statistical expertise for many of his colleagues at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Dr. Johnson has funded research projects and mentored a variety of graduate students. USGS recognized his accomplishments with his elevation to Senior Scientist. The Wildlife Society recognized the significance of Dr. Johnson’s contributions to the profession when he was awarded the Aldo Leopold Award and Medal in 2010, the highest honor bestowed by TWS.

2014

Kenneth P. Burnham

The Biometrics Working Group’s Award of Excellence seeks to recognize individual BWG members for their career-long contribution to the field of biometrics and the application of biometrics to the field of wildlife science and management. This year we would like to honor Dr. Kenneth P. Burnham for his extensive contributions to the field of biometrics. Dr. Burnham has made significant advances on experimental design, sampling protocols, and analysis theory for marked animals. He has advanced the theory and application of “open” capture-recapture models. His fundamental work on line and point transect sampling and analysis (“distance sampling”) has had an enormous impact on monitoring programs throughout the world. His most significant impact is arguably in advancement and advocacy of the information theoretic approach to data analysis and inference (suggested by the ~25,000 citations of his and Dr. Anderson’s book Model Selection and Multimodel Inference). His resume shows 192 publications including 6 books, 11 monographs, 16 book chapters, and 112 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Science Citation Index (Google Scholar) reports that his publications have been cited over 62,000 times. Since retirement in 2009 Dr. Burnham has continued to publish important papers and remain active in the profession. He is a great leader in the field of biometrics.

2013

James Nichols

Nichols, a charter member of the Biometrics Working Group and long-time member of The Wildlife Society, has been making outstanding contributions to wildlife science, management, and education, for the 37 years he has served as a wildlife biologist at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. This work has largely been focused on (1) providing designs and estimation approaches for maximizing the strength of inference from ecological  studies or monitoring, or (2) providing approaches for making more informed wildlife management decisions in the face of uncertainty; linking objectives, monitoring, and modeling. His research in accounting for detection probability in statistical inference has produced seminal publications in analysis of band recoveries, multistate models, temporary emigration, transience, population growth (via capture and point counts), state uncertainty, occupancy, etc. This work has led directly to great advancements in the population ecology and evolutionary ecology of various taxa, as well as stronger inference in community ecology and biogeography. His scientific contributions, which include 371 papers, books, monographs, edited books, book chapters, and proceedings, have been cited more than 14,000 times. He has also served as reviewer for 115 journals. Although not an academic, Nichols has advised or served on committees for 69 students at 32 universities, spanning 7 countries, and has mentored many of the quantitative ecologists working in wildlife today.
In addition, he has long been a leader in the management of federal trust species, especially waterfowl, culminating in his major contribution to the development of adaptive management approaches being implemented on various taxa within the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He was among the first cohort to be named Senior Scientists within the U. S. Geological Survey, and frequently serves as an advisor to leaders within the U. S. Department of the Interior.

 

 

 

 

Special Recognition Award

Year

Recipient

Rationale

 2017 Jeff Laake 
 2016 Cavell Brownie The stated intention of this Award is to recognize an individual for an outstanding contribution to the development and application of quantitative methods to wildlife science. Dr. Brownie certainly deserves such recognition. Dr. Brownie’s contributions to the wildlife profession began with the research that became her Ph.D. thesis.  The importance and volume of work completed by Brownie for her Ph.D. were remarkable. She developed a set of models designed to deal specifically with band recovery data for hunted species. She developed advanced models to estimate such quantities as seasonal survival rates using data from 2 banding periods per year, and the covariance between instantaneous rates of hunting and nonhunting mortality.  Most importantly, the new models were published not only in the standard statistical journals, but also in a comprehensive monograph written for biologists. The monograph was accompanied by computer software (ESTIMATE, BROWNIE) written by Brownie and colleagues to enable biological users to obtain estimates from band recovery data. The publications of Brownie ushered in a period of inferential rigor that was previously absent from work in the wildlife profession, signaling an end to dependence on ad hoc approaches and a turn to the formalism of mainstream statistics. Dr. Brownie then turned her attention to more general capture-recapture modeling for open animal populations. She developed a trap-response model, and as with band recovery models, she worked with others to write two synthetic monographs on capture-recapture models for open populations directed at a biological readership. The monographs and associated software became very influential in the methodological transformation of the wildlife profession that had begun with the publication of her band recovery monograph. Subsequent major contributions to capture-recapture models included the placement of robust design modeling into a formal likelihood framework and the full development of multistate models.  Other contributions were to the analysis of radio telemetry data and avian point count data. Dr. Brownie recently addressed the issue of misidentification of individuals in capture-recapture studies.  In summary, Dr. Brownie is very deserving of recognition by BWG. Although she split her research time and effort among multiple disciplines, her contributions to the wildlife profession are exceptional and Dr. Brownie’s career absolutely deserves the recognition of BWG.
 2016 James Hines The stated intention of this Award is to recognize an individual for an outstanding contribution to the development and application of quantitative methods to wildlife science. Jim Hines certainly deserves such recognition.  Jim Hines began his long career in federal service in 1977 while an undergraduate student in mathematics at the University of Maryland. When he graduated from University of Maryland with a B.S. degree in Mathematics in 1979, he was offered a full-time position as a computer analyst with Fish and Wildlife Service, and he accepted. He immediately became a major contributor to all of the research and management work with important contributions in mark-recapture techniques, estimation of species richness and vital rates, and was heavily involved in development of software for implementing occupancy modeling.  The range of application areas to which he has contributed over the last 16 years is extremely large.  During his career Hines has authored over 30 pieces of user-oriented software that are used by scientists and managers throughout the world. Hines has been extremely responsive to these users, and he maintains a Patuxent server for his software and for certain data sets. Hines also helped to develop the initial web page for the N. American Breeding Bird Survey, the first real web page making citizen-science data and analyses available to the general public.  He still plays a major role in maintenance of this innovative site. Hines also teaches workshops and short courses on estimation methodology and associated software. He has taught > 50 such courses at universities and research institutions all over the world. He has served on university Ph.D. committees, and he has hosted many visiting research scientists seeking assistance with complex analyses. As for publication statistics, he has an h-index >70, well exceeding the reported average for new National Academy of Sciences inductees.  In summary, James Hines contributed greatly to the methodological revolution that occurred in wildlife biology over the last 3-4 decades. Without the implementation software developed by Hines and a small number of others, the assimilation of formal inference methods into the wildlife profession would have been much slower.  James Hines is one of the real unsung heroes of the wildlife profession, and he is very much deserving of this important BWG award

2014

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative

The Biometrics Working Group’s Special Recognition Award is meant to recognize a group or an individual that has made an outstanding contribution to the development and application of quantitative methods to the fields of wildlife science and management. This year the award is presented to the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) implemented by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ARMI has shown a deep appreciation for biometrical methods and their importance for drawing inferences about biological populations and communities. Most significantly ARMI propelled forward the development of a class of models (occupancy) that is now used worldwide by ecologists and conservation biologists. This funding support was largely responsible for dozens of papers on the development of occupancy modeling and for the 2006 book (MacKenzie et al. 2006, Academic Press; see Acknowledgements in this book) summarizing developments to that time. This development has not only been useful to ARMI projects, but has also benefited the worldwide community of animal ecologists, wildlife managers, and the field of biometrics.

2013

 Ken Pollock

A professor of statistics, biomathematics, and biology for almost 40 years, has focused his career on working closely with biologists in wildlife and fisheries to improve inference from field studies, through a combination of improvement in study design and development of robust statistical methods. Through these efforts Pollock has become a pioneer and leader in the field of statistical population ecology, making numerous seminal contributions, including capture-recapture methods (e.g., population estimation models, goodness-of-fit tests, age effects, recruitment through backward time modeling, band recoveries, tag loss, use of covariates, robust design, multistate models, and misidentification), survival analysis from telemetry, distance sampling, change-in-ratio methods, aerial surveys, catch-effort, nest survival, species richness, occupancy modeling, adjusting population indices for detection probability, and integrating sources of data into more robust models. Pollock’s papers have been cited over 7,000 times according to Web of Science, and have won multiple awards from The Wildlife Society, the American Statistical Association, and the Environmetrics Society.
Although Pollock’s numerous publications have been important contributions, Pollock’s most important biometrical contributions to the wildlife profession have been through the consultation and mentoring he has provided to biologists, and the students he has trained to do the same. Pollock was the director of the Southeastern Cooperative Fish and Game Statistics Project for many years, providing consultation, analyses, and workshops for wildlife agencies of the southeastern U. S. Pollock has mentored many students in statistics, biomathematics, fish and wildlife, and ecology at North Carolina State University, many of which are leaders today within the wildlife and statistical ecology professions.

 

Appreciation Awards

Year

Recipient

Rationale

 2016 Grey Pendelton  Grey Pendelton has demonstrated continued and sustained commitment to Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society over the years.  Most recently, he was Treasurer of BWG for four years from 2011-2015, and since abdicating his position has willingly continued to assist the current Treasurer with his duties.  He is a shining example of BWG and its membership. 
 2016 Ryan Nielsen Ryan Nielson has exemplified leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Ryan has served as Chair of BWG from 2013-2014, and has participated in several workshops including the Basics of the R programming language held in Winnipeg in 2015, Estimating Resource Selection Functions using R in 2014 in Pittsburgh, Spatial Statistics in R in Portland in 2012, and Advanced Ecological Data Analysis using R in 2010.  These workshops have helped fiscally support the many activities of BWG.  Ryan's service has been vital to BWG and is highly commendable. 

2013

 John Sauer

For involvement with BWG by being a board member (most notably as a past chair), and for organizing numerous symposia and workshops of great benefit to BWG and the TWS.

2013

 Lyman McDonald

Lyman was involved early with the formation of BWG and has served as an officer several times, including chair. He has also organized workshops and symposia, including one in Hawaii on use & availability data that some claimed was the most highly attended that that they’ve ever seen. Lyman has also encouraged many of his WEST compatriots to be involved with BWG and TWS, which we think has been of great service in itself.

 

 

 

2011

 Duane Diefenbach

For leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Duane has been a mainstay for the Biometrics Working Group since 1999.  He served as an officer or chair of an ad hoc committee from 1999 through 2004 and returned in 2010 to serve on the BWG Executive Board.  During his term as Chair, he oversaw the development of guidelines for BWG support and endorsement of workshops and symposia.  He was instrumental in moving BWG from paper ballots distributed and returned by mail to internet voting.  The first successful internet elections were held in the summer of 2003 after the BWG Charter was amended.  His service to the BWG has been exemplary and vital to the BWG.

2011

 Christine Ribic

For leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Chris has made outstanding contributions to the Biometrics Working Group (BWG) as an organizer of symposia and through her service as an officer.  Chris served as Chair in 2002 and oversaw the final steps in the implementation of the Student Travel Grants Program.  As a Board Member, she recruited an excellent set of technical sessions for the 2001 annual TWS conference.  She herself has had a hand in organizing several excellent symposia over the years.  Her contributions to the BWG have been sustained and commendable.

2011

 Terry Shaffer

For leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Terry has provided outstanding leadership to the Biometrics Working Group (BWG) over the last decade.  During this period Terry has served twice as Chair and in the associated positions of Chair-Elect and Past Chair.  He completed the transition of the BWG web site from its original host to its current home on the TWS web site.  He has also contributed to the success of the BWG by organizing technical sessions at the annual TWS meetings.  His efforts have contributed greatly to the vibrancy of the BWG over the last decade.

2011

William Thompson

For leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Bill provided exemplary service to the BWG over the last decade.  He served as Chair-Elect, Chair and Past Chair from 2005 through 2007.  During his tenure he successfully lobbied TWS leadership to reduce the scheduling conflicts among BWG-sponsored session.  His tenacious efforts to oversee and manage the transition of the BWG web site to its new home on the TWS web site laid the critical foundation for the success of this transition.  Also Bill organized several highly successful symposia at TWS annual conferences that were well attended by BWG members and others.  He has given freely of his time and energy.  His efforts have been an important factor in the success of the BWG.

 

 

 

2010

Michael Conroy

For leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Mike served on the Executive Board on several occasions.  He was instrumental in organizing numerous BWG-sponsored symposia and workshops.  His efforts have brought considerable recognition to the BWG as a leader in providing quality and timely information on important topics and new developments in biometrical methods and applications.

2010

William Gould

For leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Bill provided outstanding leadership through his service on the Executive Board on several occasions as a Board Member and also as the Chair.  Bill was instrumental in organizing a highly successful symposium targeted at improving biometrics education.  This symposium led to publication of a special section on biometrics education in the 2001 Wildlife Society Bulletin.

2010

Grey Pendleton

For leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Grey was a key member of the steering committee that led to the formation of the BWG.  Grey served numerous stints on the BWG Executive Board, as a Board Member, Secretary, and Chair.  He was instrumental in developing and making important revisions to the BWG Charter.  He has organized several BWG-sponsored symposia and contributed to the publications from these symposia.

2010

Gary White

For leadership, dedication, and service to the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Gary was also was a key member of the steering committee that led to the formation of the BWG and has been active ever since.  In addition to his direct service to the BWG, Gary has been a champion for involving students and attracting new members.  A number of Gary’s students have served on the Executive Board, received BWG student travel grants, or both.  Gary has also given generously of his time by serving as the BWG’s official webmaster.

 

 

 

1998

Steven Sheriff

For leadership, dedication and initiative during the formative years of the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society.  Steve’s leadership and energy as Interim Co-Chair and the first elected Chair were instrumental in creating a solid and professional foundation for its operation.  He contributed to all facets in the development of the working group and has always been an enthusiastic advocate for the BWG.  His efforts during these critical formative years were essential to the creation of the BWG.

 

 

 

1997

Christine Bunck

For leadership and dedication in bringing the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society to reality.  Chris started and led the petition drive to initiate the Biometrics Working Group and drafted its mission statement.  She formed the Steering Committee and served initially as the chair and then as co-chair of the Steering Committee throughout the interim status of the BWG.  Her efforts were instrumental in launching the BWG.

1997

Clinton Moore

For leadership and dedication in bringing the Biometrics Working Group of The Wildlife Society to reality.  Clint was a member of the Steering Committee and served as interim treasurer and as the liaison between the Steering Committee and TWS headquarters.  He helped the BWG move forward with outstanding contributions to the draft charter.  Clint also edited and published the BWG newsletter until the first elections were held.  His efforts during these early years were crucial moving the BWG from a concept to a functioning working group.