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UC Davis Young Ecologists Honored

By Kat Kerlin on August 26, 2005 in

Two recent UC Davis doctoral graduates have been honored for their publications on environmental science topics.

Postdoctoral researcher Zeb Hogan was named the first winner of the United Nations Environment Program/Convention on Migratory Species Thesis Award. Hogan's thesis was his UC Davis doctoral dissertation on the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish. The award carries a prize of 10,000 euros (about $12,000 U.S.) and is given to promote scientific research and conservation of migratory species.

Hogan is an expert on Mekong giant catfish, which are believed to be the largest freshwater fish in the world. In May, Hogan documented the capture of the largest such fish on record in northern Thailand. It weighed 646 pounds and measured almost 9 feet long. Hogan's UC Davis faculty advisers were fisheries biologist Peter Moyle and geneticist Bernie May. Hogan is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (More information: )

With funding from the National Geographic Society and other conservation organizations, he is currently involved in an effort to determine the status of giant freshwater fishes worldwide. One of his projects is a study in Mongolia of the taiman, the world's largest trout. Collaborating on the taiman study are Brant Allen (laboratory manager for the new UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center) and Sudeep Chandra (a UC Davis doctoral graduate in 2002, now assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno). The taiman researchers' story is told in the September issue of Outside Magazine ("A Peaceful Angle").

Postdoctoral researcher Caz Taylor was awarded the Southwood Prize by the British Ecological Society for the best paper published in 2004 in the society's Journal of Applied Ecology. Taylor's winning paper, part of her doctoral dissertation, was "Finding optimal control strategies for invasive species: a density-structured model for Spartina alterniflora."

Taylor compared the cost and effectiveness of various methods of eradicating Spartina, an invasive grass that is damaging estuaries along the coasts of Northern California, Oregon and Washington. Taylor's co-author was her faculty adviser, Alan Hastings, UC Davis professor of environmental science and policy, who recently was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Taylor has been awarded a highly competitive NSF Biological Informatics Postdoctoral Fellowship and is continuing her postdoctoral work at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. She is developing individual-based models of migratory seabirds.

Media (s)

Kat Kerlin, Research news (emphasis on environmental sciences), 530-752-7704, [email protected]

Zeb Hogan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, [email protected]

Caz Taylor, Simon Fraser University, (604) 291-5618, [email protected]

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