Plenary Session III – 2021 Student Speakers


The first recipient of the Murie Family Conservation Award is Dr. Jennifer A. Guyton, recent graduate from Princeton University and current National Geographic–Fulbright Digital Storytelling Fellow. Since 2013, Dr. Guyton has worked in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa. Her recent paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution on the control of the alien invasive Mimosa pigra in Gorongosa by large mammalian herbivores has given scientists important insights into the management of the habitats of those species. This is very relevant because Gorongosa National Park is fast recovering from a catastrophic decline in its large mammal population during the long period of the Mozambican civil war and its aftermath. In addition to her PhD research, Dr. Guyton participated in the parks small mammal surveys and eventually became the small mammal specialist, conducting surveys for mice, rats, shrews, and bats. She has since continued the biodiversity surveys each year for bats, having censused 37 species of bat in the park. The survey eventually lead to the discovery of three entirely new species of bat, some of which may only occur in the Park. Her research on bats in Gorongosa is soon to become its own field guide. Along with the extensive field based conservation biology work, she has made it a point to share her experience and her life through a camera lens. Through her photography of wildlife and African mammals, Dr. Guyton has become a National Geographic Explorer, Fulbright – National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow, and a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. She has won numerous awards with her wildlife conservation based photography, along the way writing articles for National Geographic and the BBC.


The 2020 recipient of the Albert R. and Alma Shadle award is Jesse Alston of the University of Wyoming. Mr. Alston has published in journals including Conservation LettersBiological Conservation, and Forest Ecology and Management. He has independently raised over $220,000 to support his research from numerous organizations, including the National Park Service, Prairie Biotic Research, the Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and the American Society of Mammalogists. He has written about science, policy, and the environment for several public media outlets, including FiveThirtyEight and High Country News, and is on the pre-print editorial team at Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. He is an active member of ASM, serving on the Human Diversity, African Graduate Student Research Fund, and Biodiversity Committees, and has presented at the past two annual meetings. Mr. Alston’s dissertation work combines field research and analyses of a large biometric data set to link thermal ecology to behavior, reproduction, and biogeography in bats. He is also working on several additional projects concerning disease ecology, animal movement, demography, conservation, and open science. He plans to use funds from the Shadle Fellowship to expand the scope of his ongoing field research at Jewel Cave National Monument and to attend the next ASM annual meeting.


The recipient of the 2020 American Society of Mammalogists Fellowship is Jonathan Nations of Louisiana State University. Mr. Nations has received grants from the American Society of Mammalogists, The Society of Systematic Biologists, as well as a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. He is a recent recipient of the NSF Postodoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology. He has published work in Evolution, The Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society, and The Journal of Mammalogy. He has been a member of ASM for 9 years and has presented at 6 ASM meetings as well as the International Mammalogical Congress in 2017. He is an active member of ASM, serving on both the Nomenclature and Biodiversity Committees. Jon’s dissertation work focuses on the interplay of function, history, and ecology on morphological evolution. His work combines data from museum specimens with myriad methodologies, such as phylogenetic inference, 2D and 3D morphometrics, stable isotope ecology, and multilevel modeling, to investigate the role of locomotion in the generation and maintenance of diversity in a species-rich group of small mammals, the murine rodents. Museum collections form the keystone of his research, and he is passionate about combining specimen data with current technologies to better understand mammalian diversity. He plans to use his ASM Fellowship funding as support, and to continue building both specimen collections and collaborations in Southeast Asia.


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