UM Regents Professor Emeritus Receives 2015 Molecular Ecology Prize
MISSOULA – The journal Molecular Ecology chose University of Montana Regents Professor Emeritus Fred Allendorf as the recipient of its 2015 Molecular Ecology Prize.
The distinguished honor will officially be awarded Aug. 10-14 during the meetings of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology in Lausanne, Switzerland. The prize includes an engraved silver platter.
The field of molecular ecology is a young and inherently interdisciplinary research area. As a consequence, research in molecular ecology currently is not represented by a single scientific society. Likewise, there is nobody that actively promotes the discipline or recognizes its pioneers.
To help fill this void, the editorial board of the journal Molecular Ecology created the Molecular Ecology Prize several years ago to recognize significant contributions to this area of research. Allendorf joins some of the most distinguished pioneers in this discipline. A committee with a rotating membership was established to call for nominations and decide on prize winners.
Allendorf is one of a handful of people who founded the field of conservation genetics. He was one of the first to apply genetics to real-world conservation problems, and he has continued to advance the application of genetics, and now genomics, to pressing conservation problems.
His research focuses on the application of population and evolutionary genetics to problems in conservation biology. His book Conservation and the Genetics of Populations, co-written with UM Professor Gordon Luikart and Sally Aitken of the University of British Columbia, provides an understanding of how genetics can be used to conserve species threatened with extinction.
Allendorf, along with holding the position of Regents Professor Emeritus of Biology at UM, is a Professorial Research Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Aarhus in Denmark and at Nottingham University in England. He also was a Senior Fulbright Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington and has held positions at the University of California, Davis; the University of Oregon; the University of Minnesota; and the University of Western Australia. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a past president of the American Genetic Association and also served as director of the Population Biology Program of the National Science Foundation.