Caswell selected for Mindel C. Sheps award

May 16, 2014

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 research has focused on developing models for studying the population dynamics and demography of threatened species, such as polar bears. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey turned to Caswell and colleague Christine Hunter of the University of Alaska to advise a team conducting an extensive study of Artic polar bears in 2007. Using new models and analysis, Caswell and Hunter found that the declining habitat of polar bears in the Artic is dramatically affecting survival, breeding, and population growth.

The U.S. Department of Interior recognized Caswell's contribution to the international polar bear science team with a Unit Citation Award for Excellence of Service. In 2008, he was selected as the first recipient of the Per Brinck Oikos Award, which recognizes extraordinary and important contributions to the science of ecology. Caswell also received the Ecological Research Award from the Ecological Society of Japan and the ISI Highly Cited Researcher in Ecology/Environment Award from Thomson Scientific in 2007.

Originally from California, Caswell was raised in Michigan. He earned all of his degrees at Michigan State University: a bachelor's in zoology in 1971 and a doctorate in zoology in 1974. After seven years on the faculty at the University of Connecticut, Caswell came to WHOI in 1981. He is a fellow of WHOI's Ocean Life Institute and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Caswell is also Professor of Mathematical Demography and Ecology at the University of Amsterdam, an Honorary Professor of Biodemography at Southern Denmark University, and a Distinguished Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.

Caswell has authored or co-authored over 170 papers, as well as several books on population dynamics and demography. He is a member of the Ecological Society of America, the British Ecological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the Ecological Society of America, the British Ecological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Population Association of America, and the Evolutionary Demography Society.
-end-
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean's role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit http://www.whoi.edu.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Related Biology Articles from Brightsurf:

Experimental Biology press materials available now
Though the Experimental Biology (EB) 2020 meeting was canceled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, EB research abstracts are being published in the April 2020 issue of The FASEB Journal.

Structural biology: Special delivery
Bulky globular proteins require specialized transport systems for insertion into membranes.

Cell biology: All in a flash!
Scientists of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have developed a tool to eliminate essential proteins from cells with a flash of light.

A biology boost
Assistance during the first years of a biology major leads to higher retention of first-generation students.

Cell biology: Compartments and complexity
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich biologists have taken a closer look at the subcellular distribution of proteins and metabolic intermediates in a model plant.

Cell biology: The complexity of division by two
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have identified a novel protein that plays a crucial role in the formation of the mitotic spindle, which is essential for correct segregation of a full set of chromosomes to each daughter cell during cell division.

Cell biology: Dynamics of microtubules
Filamentous polymers called microtubules play vital roles in chromosome segregation and molecular transport.

The biology of color
Scientists are on a threshold of a new era of color science with regard to animals, according to a comprehensive review of the field by a multidisciplinary team of researchers led by professor Tim Caro at UC Davis.

Kinky biology
How and why proteins fold is a problem that has implications for protein design and therapeutics.

A new tool to decipher evolutionary biology
A new bioinformatics tool to compare genome data has been developed by teams from the Max F.

Read More: Biology News and Biology Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.