A former inner-city kid who grew up to be an acclaimed field biologist and college dean is being honored by the American Society of Naturalists (ASN).
Joseph Travis, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (http://artsandsciences.fsu.edu/) at Florida State University and a distinguished researcher in the field of ecological genetics, has won the 2011 E.O. Wilson Naturalist Award. Presented at the annual meeting of the ASN in June, the award "is given to an active investigator in mid-career who has made significant contributions to the knowledge of a particular ecosystem or group of organisms," according to the ASN (http://www.asnamnat.org/).
E.O. Wilson (http://www.eowilson.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43&Itemid=69), professor emeritus at Harvard University, is one of the most revered biologists on the planet and a gifted communicator of science who twice won the Pulitzer Prize for books in the "general nonfiction" category. The ASN award honors someone who embodies Wilson's ideals and whose research illuminates the natural world.
"The committee that selected Joseph Travis for the E.O. Wilson Naturalist Award chose wisely," said Wilson himself. "Dean Travis ranks very high as a naturalist, biologist and ecologist."
"To be thought of as embodying what Ed Wilson stands for as a naturalist/scientist is as good a tribute as I will ever receive," Travis said. "It's especially meaningful to me because Ed is from the Gulf Coast, loves this area, and has always encouraged me to stay the course as a real naturalist."
Travis, whose methods combine fieldwork, laboratory experiments and statistical analysis, studies how plants and animals adapt to their environment. His early work involved populations of tadpoles and looked at how
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Florida State University