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2016 Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award
The Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award recognizes work by an ornithologist early in his or her career who shows distinct promise for future leadership in the profession. The AOU established this award in 2006 to honor Ned K. Johnson, a lifelong supporter of the AOU and its former President (1996-1998). The award consists of a framed certificate and an honorarium provided by the Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Fund.
The AOU is honored to present the 2016 Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award to Dr. Mary Caswell Stoddard of Princeton University, whose highly innovative and interdisciplinary research focuses on the ecological and behavioral implications of avian color vision complexity.
Dr. Stoddard earned her B.S. in Biology from Yale University in 2008. As a first year student she programmed the first TetraColorSpace program in MATLAB to study the UV dimension of avian color perception. The tool she created allowed her to study light perceived by the violet cones in birds’ eyes, invisible to human retinas containing only red, green, and blue cones.
A Marshall Scholar and NSF Doctoral Fellow, she earned her Ph.D. from University of Cambridge and won the Zoological Society of London’s Huxley Award and Marsh Prize for the top thesis in zoology in the UK, working on the coevolution of egg coloration and patterning in parasitic cuckoos and their hosts. Dr. Stoddard's other recent awards include the L'Oréal USA for Women in Science Fellowship.
Dr. Stoddard recently completed a three-year Junior Fellowship with the Harvard Society of Fellows, where she pioneered an “eggshell engineering” research program to study the mechanical properties of eggshells. She has now moved on to an Assistant Professorship at Princeton University.
The AOU is confident that Dr. Stoddard will further expand her already prodigious contributions to the ornithological community and is very pleased to recognize her with the Young Investigator Award in 2016.