This year's recipient of the Arnold Berliner Award is Jan Werner of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany, who will be honored for his Concept & Synthesis article published in Springer's multidisciplinary journal, The Science of Nature. In his article, Werner and his co-author Eva Maria Griebeler examine the origins of endothermy - the way that vertebrate animals maintain a constant body temperature independent of their environment. The findings from this article will stimulate new evolutionary, developmental and physiological research into this fascinating topic.
How endothermy evolved in the amniotes - a group of vertebrate organisms comprising reptiles, birds, and mammals - still remains an unresolved scientific problem. Werner's article describes a model which links changes in the development trajectory of birds and mammals with many characteristics found in endothermic birds and mammals today. The model also indicates that an early stop in growth during the biological development (ontogeny) of an amniote may have been instrumental in the development of endothermy.
Sven Thatje, who is editor-in-chief of The Science of Nature said: "Dr Jan Werner's article is significant, as it presents a perspective for the evolution of endothermy by modelling outcomes that are also consistent with many characteristics found in today's endothermic birds and mammals."
Jan Werner completed his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Mainz, where he also went on to study for a PhD focusing on reproduction in dinosaurs, specifically gigantism of sauropods. His most recent postdoctoral research has been centered on the evolution of endothermy, body size and its effects on the life history of vertebrates.
"When I heard that I had won the Arnold Berliner Award I was surprised and honored. Postdoctoral researchers do not often receive such appreciation for their work, so this is certainly a motivation to continue my research," said Werner.
The Arnold Berliner Award was established in 2013 in recognition of the journal's founding editor. The award is given to the principal author of an outstanding scholarly work published in The Science of Nature in the previous calendar year. Criteria for the Arnold Berliner Award are excellence in science, originality and, in particular, interdisciplinarity, which mirrors Berliner's motivation for founding the journal in 1913. Berliner was editor-in-chief of the journal for an exceptionally long period of 22 years. His activities were influential and at the heart of academic life and society of his time.
Peer-reviewed and published in English, The Science of Nature is dedicated to the fast publication and global dissemination of high-quality research of interest to the broader community in the biological sciences. Papers from the chemical, geological, and physical sciences that contribute to questions of general biological significance can be considered for publication in the journal. The overall aim of The Science of Nature is to promote excellence in research and the exchange of ideas in the biological sciences and beyond.
Reference: Werner, J. & Griebeler, E.M. Was endothermy in amniotes induced by an early stop in growth during ontogeny? Sci Nat (2017)104:90 DOI: 10.1007/s00114-017-1513-1