Three Women Scholars Share the 2023 BBVA Ecology and Conservation Biology Frontiers of Knowledge Award

Three women scientists are sharing the 2023 Ecology and Conservation Biology Frontiers of Knowledge Award from the BBVA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards established in 2008 recognize world-class research and cultural creation in eight categories, prizing contributions of broad impact for their originality and theoretical significance. The three women sharing the award in the ecology and conservation biology division are:

Jeanne Altmann is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Emerita, at Princeton University. Dr. Altmann joined the Princeton faculty in 1998. In 1971, she set up the Amboseli Baboon Project, an innovative study that over five decades has followed some 2,000 individual baboons and continues to this day. A native of New York, she earned a degree in mathematics from the University of Alberta in Canada and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Chicago.

Susan Alberts is the Robert F. Durden Distinguished Professor of Biology and chair of the department of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. In July, she will become dean of the university’s School of Natural Sciences. Dr. Alberts co-directs the Amboseli Baboon Project with Dr. Altmann. Professor Alberts is a graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She holds a master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Marlene Zuk, professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior at the University of Minnesota. Professor Zuk’s work addresses how interactions — between males and females or parasites and their hosts — drive the spread of novel traits, the elaboration of sexual ornaments (decorative traits used in mate selection, such as the tail feathers of a peacock) and evolutionary diversification more broadly. She is the author of Dancing Cockatoos and the Dead Man Test: How Behavior Evolves and Why It Matters (W.W. Norton, 2022). Dr. Zuk is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.

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