The American Society of Naturalists has named Marlene Zuk (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior) the 2015 recipient of its EO Wilson Naturalist Award. Zuk is well-known for her research on the evolution of mating behavior and secondary sexual characters in invertebrates. She also writes about science for a general audience. Recent publications include Sex on Six Legs and Paleofantasy.
The annual award, honoring longtime Harvard professor and author E.O. Wilson, is given to a mid-career investigator who has made significant contributions to our knowledge of a particular ecosystem or group of organisms. Special consideration is given to those whose writing and research illuminate the principles of evolutionary biology and expand appreciation for natural history.
“What is really good about this award is that it recognizes people and work that show an appreciation for natural history in addition to the theoretical underpinnings of the field,” says Zuk. “I appreciate that because with all the excitement around new technologies, there’s no substitute for understanding the organism you work on.”
“This award honors people who are looking for really broad principles that apply to many species and across many locations, and Marlene does that,” says Scott Lanyon, head of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. “One of the reasons we wanted Marlene to come to the U of M is because she is known as a behaviorist but she does animal ecology and evolutionary biology, too. She’s just a superstar.”