The Population Association of America (PAA) selected biologist Hal Caswell of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to receive the 2014 Mindel C. Sheps Award for his contributions to mathematical demography. The PAA is the major professional society devoted to the study of human populations. The prestigious honor is awarded to one scientist biennially on the basis of important contributions to knowledge either in the form of a single piece of work or a continuing record of high achievement.
Caswell, who received the award at the PAA meeting in Boston, on May 2, 2014, was cited for his lifetime contributions to mathematical demographic analysis, especially his work on matrix population models, spanning studies of plants, animals, and humans. His results have had a great influence on such diverse areas as life history theory, conservation biology and climate studies, patterns of longevity and reproduction in human populations, and the evolution of aging.
"It is certainly fitting that Hal has received this award. He literally 'wrote the book' on matrix population models, and has applied these and other kinds of mathematical models to a variety of important ecological questions," said Mark Hahn, chair of WHOI's Department of Biology. "His work has had broad impact, not just in marine science but also in conservation biology generally as well as in evolutionary biology."
The award was created in honor of Mindel C. Sheps, MD (1913-1973), an expert in statistics who made fundamental contributions to the demographic and biological aspects of fertility through her research on the impact of social factors in public health.
"I feel very honored to be recognized by PAA in this way because my work on populations has often focused on species other than humans," Caswell said. "But, the mathematics of population is more general than the species we study. This award is a recognition of that."
Some of Caswell's recent rese
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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution