The American Society of Naturalists is pleased to announce that Dr. Jonathan B. Losos of Harvard University has been selected to receive the 2009 E. O. Wilson Naturalist Award. The award, established in recognition of Professor Wilson's lifetime contributions to ecology and evolutionary biology, is given each year to a scholar who has made significant contributions to the knowledge of a particular ecosystem or group of organisms.
Dr. Losos is the Monique and Philip Lehner Professor for the Study of Latin America, and Curator of Herpetology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. His work with anole lizards in the West Indies has contributed fundamentally to our understanding of the roles of natural selection, competition, and niche evolution in shaping assemblages of Anolis species.
Through the pioneering application of molecular phylogenetics and comparative methods, he has thoroughly characterized the historical biogeography and evolutionary radiation of anoles in the Caribbean, including the roles of historical contingency and reiterated adaptive evolution. His work on ecomorphology established early on the relationship between morphology and ecologically relevant aspects of behavioral performance, providing a foundation for work on morphological evolution in the group. His experimental work with Tom Schoener has demonstrated rapid selective impacts of introduced predators, altered competition, and, by chance, hurricanes on Anolis populations on tiny islands.
His work culminated this year in the publication of a major book on the biology and adaptive radiation of the genus Anolis.
As Editor of The American Naturalist from 2002 to 2006, Dr. Losos encouraged the publication of natural history observations in the context of major issues in ecology and evolutionary biology.
"His enthusiasm as a colleague and mentor has inspired a generation of biologists," said Dr. Robert Rickfels, a professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis and chair of the award committee. "Dr. Losos's work epitomizes the integration of natural history into scientific investigation at the highest level."
The E. O. Wilson Naturalist Award was established in 1987, the year of Professor Wilson's retirement from Harvard University. An appropriate work of art and an honorarium will be presented to Dr. Losos at the annual meeting of the American Society of Naturalists in June.