American Society of Naturalists

A membership society whose goal is to advance and to diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.


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The American Society of Naturalists confers several awards each year to honor scientists of great distinction. The membership of the awards committees can be found here.

Honorary Lifetime Membership

Honorary lifetime membership in the American Society of Naturalists is intended to recognize scientists whose research careers epitomize the mission of the society, which is the conceptual unification of the biological sciences. The society limits the number of honorary lifetime memberships to twelve. Honorary lifetime member Ruth Patrick passed away in 2013: In Memoriam.

Links in the table below lead to the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award announcement for that honoree.

Joseph Connell Margaret Davis Joseph Felsenstein B. Rosemary Grant
Peter R. Grant Daniel Janzen Richard Lewontin Jane Lubchenco
Robert Paine Mary Willson E. O. Wilson  

Past honorary lifetime members have included:

Charles E. Allen Samuel Henshaw John Thomas Patterson
Liberty Hyde Bailey Samuel Jackson Holmes Linus C. Pauling
William Bateson G. Evelyn Hutchinson Fernandus Payne
Albert F. Blakeslee Wilhelm L. Johannsen Wilhelm Roux
Hampton L. Carson Joseph Leidy Elizabeth B. Russell
James D. Dana Joseph P. Lesley Karl Sax
Bradley Moore Davis Othniel Charles Marsh William Berryman Scott
Hugo De Vries John Maynard Smith George Harrison Shull
Theodosius Dobzhansky Ernst Mayr Aaron Franklin Shull
Henry Herbert Donaldson Barbara McClintock Robert Sokal
Benjamin Minge Duggar James Playfair McMurrich George Gaylord Simpson
Leslie C. Dunn Clinton Hart Merriam G. Ledyard Stebbins
Simon H. Gage John Alexander Moore Cornelius Bernardus N. van Niel
Richard Benedict Goldschmidt Thomas Hunt Morgan George C. Williams
Asa Gray Henry Fairfield Osborn Edmund B. Wilson
William D. Hamilton George Howard Parker Sewall Wright
Ross Granville Harrison Ruth Patrick Robert M. Yerkes

Sewall Wright Award

The Sewall Wright Award, established in 1991, is given annually and honors a senior but still active investigator who is making fundamental contributions to the Society's goals, namely, promoting the conceptual unification of the biological sciences. The award includes an honorarium of $1,000.

Information on how to nominate someone for the Sewall Wright Award

Links in the table below lead to the Sewall Wright Award announcement for that winner.

2015 Sally Otto
2014 Mark Kirkpatrick
2013 Jeanne Altmann
2012 Richard E. Lenski
2011 Robert D. Holt
2010 William R. Rice
2009 Michael J. Wade
2008 Spencer Barrett
2007 Dolph Schluter
2006 Brian Charlesworth
2005 Robert E. Ricklefs
2004 Rudolf Raff
2003 Mary Jane West-Eberhard
2002 Linda Partridge
2001 Illkka A. Hanski
2000 Montgomery Slatkin
1999 Janis Antonovics
1998 William D. Hamilton
1997 Douglas J. Futuyma
1996 Robert T. Paine
1995 John Maynard Smith
1994 Richard C. Lewontin
1993 Joseph Felsenstein
1992 Russell Lande

Edward O. Wilson Naturalist Award

In recognition of the lifetime of outstanding contributions of Professor E. O. Wilson in the areas of ecology and evolutionary biology, including the study of social insects, biodiversity, and biophilia, this award was established in the year of Professor Wilson's retirement from Harvard University. The E. O. Wilson Naturalist 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. Individuals whose research and writing illuminate principles of evolutionary biology and an enhanced aesthetic appreciation of natural history will merit special consideration. The award consists of an especially appropriate work of art and an honorarium of $2,000, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Naturalists.

Information on how to nominate someone for the E. O. Wilson Naturalist Award

Links in the table below lead to the E. O. Wilson Award announcement for that winner.

2015 Marlene Zuk
2014 Craig Benkman
2013 Douglas J. Emlen
2012 Keith A. Crandall
2011 Joseph Travis
2010 Michael J. Ryan
2009 Jonathan B. Losos
2008 Ulrich Mueller
2007 Trevor Price
2006 John T. Longino
2005 Laurent Keller
2004 Paul Dayton
2003 David Reznick
2002 Douglas Schemske
2001 Bernard J. Crespi
2000 Harry W. Greene & Richard Shine
1999 May R. Berenbaum
1998 B. Rosemary Grant & Peter R. Grant

Presidential Award

This award is for the best paper published in The American Naturalist during the calendar year preceding the President's term of office. The President of the American Society of Naturalists (ASN) makes this award.

2015 Lyndon Alexander Jordan, Hanna Kokko, and Michael Kasumovic, "Competition for water and light in closed-canopy forests: a tractable model of carbon allocation with implications for carbon sinks" 183:638–649.
2014 Caroline E. Farrior, Ray Dybzinski, Simon A. Levin, and Stephen W. Pacala "Reproductive foragers: Male spiders choose mates by selecting among competitive environments" 181:314–330.
2013 Evan P. Economo and Eli M. Sarnat. Revisiting the ants of Melanesia and the taxon cycle: historical and human-mediated invasions of a tropical archipelago. 180:E1–E16.
2012 Michael Barfield, Richard Gomulkiewicz, and Robert D. Holt. Evolution in stage-structured populations. 177:397–409.
2011 Kenneth H. Kozak and John J. Wiens. Niche conservatism drives elevational diversity patterns in Appalachian salamanders. 176:40–54.
2010 Margaret E. K. Evans, Stephen A. Smith, Rachel S. Flynn, and Michael J.Donoghue. Climate, Niche Evolution, and Diversification of the "Bird-Cage" Evening Primroses (Oenothera, Sections Anogra and Kleinia). 173:225–240.
2009 Ruth Shaw, Charles Geyer, Stuart Wagenius, Helen Hangelbroek, and Julie Etterson. Unifying life-history analyses for inference of fitness and population growth. 172:E35–E47.
2008 Nathan J. B. Kraft, William K. Cornwell, Campbell O. Webb, and David D. Ackerly. Trait evolution, community assembly, and the phylogenetic structure of ecological communities. 170:271–283.
2007 Cristian A. Solari, John O. Kessler, and Richard E. Michod. A hydrodynamics approach to the evolution of multicellularity: flagellar motility and germ-soma differentiation in volvocaleangreen. 167:537–554.
2006 William F. Fagan, Mark Lewis, Michael G. Neubert, Craig Aumann, Jennifer L. Apple, and John G. Bishop. When can herbivores reverse the spread of an invading plant? A test case from Mount St. Helens. 166:669–686.
2005 Barney Luttbeg and Tom A. Langen. Comparing alternative models to empirical data: cognitive models of Western scrub-jay foraging behavior. 163:263–276.
2004 Raymond B. Huey, Paul E. Hertz, and Barry Sinervo. Behavioral Drive versus Behavioral Inertia in Evolution: A Null Model Approach. 161:357–366.
2003 Eva Grotkopp, Marcel Rejmánek, and Thomas L. Root. Towards a causal explanation of plant invasiveness: seedling growth and life-history strategies of 29 Pine (Pinus) species. 159:396–419.
2002 Aneil F. Agrawal, Edmund D. Brodie III, and Michael J. Wade. On indirect genetic effects in structured populations. 158:308–323.
2001 Robert K. Colwell. Rensch's rule crosses the line: convergent allometry of sexual size dimorphism in hummingbirds and flower mites. 156:495–510.
2000 Sergey Gavrilets. A dynamical theory of speciation on holey adaptive landscapes. 154:1–22.
1999 Not awarded.
1998 Robert E. Ricklefs. Rate of aging in birds and mammals: confirmation of a fundamental prediction, with implications for the genetic basis and evolution of life span. 152:24–44.
1997 Mark Kirkpatrick and N. H. Barton. Evolution of a species' range. 150:1–23.
1996 Dolph Schluter. Ecological causes of adaptive radiation. 148:S40–S64.
1995 Not awarded.
1994 Not awarded.
1993 Kenneth G. Ross. The breeding system of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta: effects on colony genetic structure. 141:554–576.
1992 Carlos M. Herrera. Historical effects and sorting processes as explanations for contemporary ecological patterns: character syndromes in Mediterranean woody plants. 140:421–446.
1991 Richard E. Lenski, Michael R. Rose, Suzanne C. Simpson, and Scott C. Tadler. Long-term experimental evolution in Escheria coli. I. Adaptation and divergence during 2000 generations. 138:1315–1341.
1990 Robert B. Srygley and Peng Chai. Predation and the flight, morphology, and temperature of Neotropical rain-forest butterflies. 135:748–765.
1989 Deborah Rabinowitz, Jody K. Rapp, Sara Cairns and Marilyn Mayer. The persistence of rare prairie grasses in Missouri: environmental variation buffered by reproductive output of sparse species. 134:525–544.
1988 Nancy A. Moran. The evolution of host-plant alteration in aphids: evidence for specialization as a dead end. 132:681–706.
1987 Kermit Ritland and Michael T. Clegg. Evolutionary analyses of plant DNA sequences. 130:S74–S100.
1986 Thomas Mitchell-Olds and J. J. Rutledge. Quantitative genetics in natural plant populations: a review of the theory. 127:379–402.
1985 Richard E. Lenski and Bruce R. Levin. Constraints on the coevolution of bacteria and virulent phage: a model, some experiments, and predictions for natural communities. 125:585–602.
1984 William W. Murdoch, John D. Reeve, Carl B. Huffaker and C. E. Kennett. Biological control of olive scale and its relevance to ecological theory. 123:371–392.

Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigators Award

The Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigators Award was established in 1984 to recognize outstanding and promising work by investigators who received their doctorates in the three years preceding the application deadline or who are in their final year of graduate school. Jasper Loftus-Hills (1946-1974) was an Australian biologist of exceptional promise, whose career was cut short just three years after receiving his degree when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver while tape-recording frog calls along a Texas highway. The award includes presentation of a research paper at the annual meeting of the American Society of Naturalists, an award of $500, a travel allowance of $700, the cost of registration at the meetings, and a supplement of $500 in case of intercontinental travel. 

Information on how to apply/nominate for the Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigators Award

2015 Jesse Lasky, Stephen Montgomery, Mary Caswell Stoddard, Marjorie Weber
2014 Travis Ingram, Romain Libbrecht, Malin Pinsky, Michael Sheehan
2013 Robin Hopkins, Kayla C. King, A. Carla Staver, Ian J. Wang
2012 Rowan Barrett, Liam J. Revell, Jennifer C. Perry, and Matthew R. Walsh
2011 Michael Kasumovic, Robert Pringle, Nathan Swenson, and Daniel Warner
2010 Stephanie Carlson, Marc Johnson, Joel McGlothlin, and Daniel Rabosky
2009 Brian Langerhans, Luke Harmon, Renee Duckworth, and Jason Kolbe
2008 Jennifer Lau, Judith Mank, Volker Rudolf, and Mark Urban
2007 Andy Gardner, Maurine Neiman, Daniel Ortiz-Barrientos, G. Sander van Doorn
2006 Rebecca Fuller, Ryan Gregory, Patrik Nosil, and Brian Silliman
2005 Dan Bolnick, Alison Galvani, Jeff Townsend, and Mark Vellend
2004 Aneil Agrawal, Doris Bachtrog, Armin Moczek, and Diego Vázquez
2003 Hopi Hoekstra and Jonathan Levine
2002 Sylvain Gandon, Jean M. L. Richardson, Ophélie Ronce, and Howard D. Rundle
2001 Andrew Hendry, Ole Seehausen, Priyanga Amarasekare, Anna Qvarnström, and George Weiblen
2000 Jef Huisman, Thomas Lenormand, Maria Servedio, Jennifer Thaler, and Jason Wolf
1999 Anurag Agrawal, Johnathan Chase, Troy Day, P. Ingvarsson, and Lukas F. Keller
1998 Hiroshi Akashi, Rodney Mauricio, Mohammed Noor, Kevin Omland, and Peter Waddell
1997 Hong-Wen Deng, Douglas J. Emlen, Sally Hacker, John Kelley, and Leslie Pray
1996 Rufus A. Johnstone, Christian P. Klingenberg, David L. Stern, and John P. Swaddle
1995 Göran Arnqvist, David Begun, Sally P. Otto, and Zhao Yang
1994 Elena R. Alvarez-Buylla, Keith A. Crandall, Frederick J. Janzen, Douglas R. Taylor, and Peter H. Thrall
1993 Joy Bergelson, Lee Dugatkin, Lock Rowe, and Geoff Hill
1992 Leticia Avilés, Edmund D. Brodie III, Eric D. Fajer, H. Allen Orr, and J. Timothy Wootton
1991 Alexandra Basolo, H. Lisle Gibbs, Andrew Read, and Ken Spitze
1990 Tamar Dayan, James Marden, Axel Meyer, and Sharon Strauss
1989 Anne Houde, Allen J. Moore, Barry Sinervo, and David F. Westneat
1988 David E. Cowley, Marlene Zuk, Carole L. Hom, and Kirk A. Moloney
1987 Steven A. Frank, C. Drew Harvell, Steven E. Kelley, and Mark Kirkpatrick
1986 Ary A. Hoffmann, Carl D. Schlichting, Brian A. Maurer, and Steve Orzack
1985 Gayle Muenchow, Mary Power, Trevor D. Price, David C. Queller, and Dolph Schluter

American Naturalist Student Paper Award

The American Society of Naturalists created the American Naturalist Student Paper Award to honor student work published in the American Naturalist that best represents the goals of the society. To be eligible for the award, the work presented in the paper must have been performed primarily by the first author and primarily while she/he was an undergraduate or graduate student. The editors of the American Naturalist form the committee to consider the papers published in the year before.

2015 Francesco Carrara
for his paper, F. Carrara, A. Rinaldo, A. Giometto, and F. Altermatt, Complex interactions of dendritic connectivity and hierarchical patch size on biodiversity in river-like landscapes, 183:13–25.
  runner-up: James L. Maino
for his paper, J. L. Maino and M. R. Kearney, Ontogenetic and interspecific metabolic scaling in insects, 184:695–701.
2014 Jordan Okie
for his paper, J. Okie, General models for the spectra of surface area scaling strategies of cells and organisms: fractality, geometric dissimilitude, and internalization, 181:421–439.
2013 Erik Verbruggen
for his paper, E. Verbruggen, C. El Mouden, J. Jansa, G. Akkermans, H. Bucking, S. A. West, and E. T. Kiers. Spatial structure and interspecific cooperation: theory and an empirical test using the mycorrhizal mutualism, 179:E133–E146.
  Runner-up: Jeff Clune
for his paper, J. Clune, R. T. Pennock, C. E. Ofria, and R. E. Lenski, Ontogeny tends to recapitulate phylogeny in digital organisms, 180:E54–E63.
2012 Julia Saltz
for her paper, J. B. Saltz and B. R. Foley, Natural genetic variation in social niche construction: social effects of aggression drive disruptive sexual selection in Drosophila melanogaster, 177:645–654.
2011 Casey P. terHorst
for his paper, C. P. terHorst, Evolution in response to direct and indirect ecological effects in pitcher plant inquiline communities, 176:675–685.
2010 Deepa Agashe
for her paper, D. Agashe, The stabilizing effect of intraspecific genetic variation on population dynamics in novel and ancestral habitats, 174:255–267.
2009 Thomas E. X. Miller
for his paper, T. E. X. Miller, B. Tenhumberg and S. M. Louda. 2008. Herbivore-mediated ecological costs of reproduction shape the life history of an iteroparous plant. 171:141–149.

ASN Student Research Award

The ASN Student Research Award goes to student members of the American Society of Naturalists, who hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. have passed to candidacy in a Ph.D. program (or equivalent), must be at least one year from completing the Ph.D., and who have not received this award previously. The recipients of the award receive $2,000 and an announcement in the American Naturalist. They will be asked to send a brief report on how the money helped to sponsor their research. In 2015, there are ten awards.

Information on how to apply for the Student Research Award.

2015 Jennifer Coughlan, Jesse Delia, Nicholas DiRienzo, Brennan Forester, Allison Fritts-Penniman, Matthew Holding, Devin Leopold, Nicholas Mason, Rene Petipas, Mark Phuong
2014 Karin Burghardt, Dean Castillo, Sarah Fitzpatrick, Spencer Ingley, Sara Jackrel, Deidra Jacobsen-Castillo, Russell Ligon, Karan Odom, Alison Ravenscraft, and Gijsbert D. A. Werner
2013 Malcolm E. Augat, Carolyn M. Beans, Brandon S. Cooper, Amanda K. Gibson, Catherine A. Rushworth, and Marjorie G. Weber
2012 Andrea Bailey, Chris Dalton, George A. Meindl, Maria W. Pil, Katherine Stryjewski, and Corlett Wolfe Wood

Ruth Patrick Student Poster Award

The Ruth Patrick Student Poster Award was established in 2012 to recognize a student who has presented an outstanding poster at the annual meeting of the American Society of Naturalists. Ruth Patrick is a renowned limnologist, past president of the ASN (1975), and a Lifetime Honorary Member of the society. The winner of the award receives $1,000 and a one year membership to the ASN, which includes a one year subscription to the American Naturalist.

Applications for the Ruth Patrick Student Poster Award

The senior author and presenter of the poster must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at the time of the annual meeting, or have received her or his degree within twelve months, and must be a member of the ASN. Students must indicate their desire to be considered for the Award by selecting the appropriate box at the time that they register online for the meeting.

2015 David Ocampo, “Evolution of avian eggshell structure: Evidence for adaptation across elevational gradients?” [Evolution 2015]
  Honorable Mention: Lívia Peluso, “Connectivity of the endemic coral Mussismilia hispida along its distributional range in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean” [Evolution 2015]
2014 Stephen De Lisle, “Ecological character displacement between the sexes” [Evolution 2014]
  Honorable Mentions: Kira Delmore and Andy Kulikowski [Evolution 2014]
  David Harris, “Generating realistic species assemblies with a partially observed Markov random field” [ASN Stand-Alone Meeting]
2013 Amanda K. Gibson, "A phylogenetic test of the Red Queen Hypothesis: the evolution of mating system and parasitism in the Nematoda" [Evolution 2013]
  Honorable Mentions: Paul Eskridge and Patrick Fuller  [Evolution 2013]



Don Abbott Postdoc Research Award 

The Don Abbott Postdoc Research Award was established for American Society of Naturalists stand-alone meetings, which occur every few years.

2014 Carl Boettiger, “Ecological management for an uncertain world: robust decision theory in face of regime shifts”
Runners-up Alex Jordan and Benjamin Callahan

Ed Ricketts Student Talk Award

The Ed Ricketts Student Talk Award was established for American Society of Naturalists stand-alone meetings, which occur every few years, to recognize an outstanding student presentation made at the meeting.

2014 Marjorie Weber, “Merging phylogenetic and experimental methods to test hypotheses about the evolution of mutualistic defensive traits in plants”
Runners-up Jason Shapiro and Rachael Bay