2020 Archive

Barnes Receives University of Alaska Foundation Bullock Prize

The University of Alaska (UA) Foundation selected University of Alaska Fairbanks’s Brian Barnes as recipient of the 2020 Edith R. Bullock Prize. Barnes is Director of UAF’s Institute of Arctic Biology and has been a faculty member for over three decades. The recognition includes a $15,000 cash prize, which can be used as the recipient wishes. It is the single largest award presented by the UA Foundation’s Board of Directors each year.

“Edith Bullock made a generous contribution to the University that enabled establishment of this award to showcase extraordinary achievements of individuals on behalf of the UA system,” said Foundation Chair Cynthia Cartledge. “Dr. Barnes’ hibernation and arctic research, along with his management of the Toolik Field Station, actively contribute to the advancement of arctic research and education throughout the UA system and internationally.”

Barnes earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California, Riverside and a Doctorate in Zoology from the University of Washington. Since 1986, Barnes has been a faculty member with the Department of Biology and Wildlife and researcher with the Institute of Arctic Biology. He became the director of the Institute of Arctic Biology in 2002. Since he joined the UAF faculty, his research interests have focused on the physiological ecology and endocrinology of hibernating mammals and overwintering biology of animals including arctic ground squirrels, black bears, and insects.

In 2014, he became the principal investigator and director for the Alaska IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE). INBRE is Alaska’s biomedical research program at UA and is funded by the National Institutes of General Sciences. Alaska INBRE strives to enhance biomedical research, training, and education.

“Brian has done a masterful job of utilizing the intrinsic appeal of his science (those squirrels really are cute, aren’t they?) and his down-to-earth persona to present understandable science to the public,” notes UAF Provost Emeritus Paul Reichardt in his nomination. “In fact, one could argue that in the long run the impact of his public media publications and appearances may rival or even exceed the impact of his scientific publications.”

The Bullock award was established with a generous gift from the late Edith R. Bullock, whose 30 years of service to the University included service on the UA Board of Regents and the UA Foundation Board of Directors. The UA Foundation, a non-profit 501(c) (3), seeks, secures and stewards philanthropic support to build excellence at the University of Alaska.


University of Alaska Foundation awards migratory bird research grant

The University of Alaska Foundation announces the winning proposal for the 2020 Angus Gavin Memorial Migratory Bird Research Grant.

Rachel Gingras, a post-graduate student in biological sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage, received $15,000 to support her proposal entitled “Assessing Breeding Origin and Migratory Pathways in a Declining Aerial Insectivore.” The project concentrates on the study of the breeding site variability and migration patterns in tree swallows, which are a declining songbird species.

Gingras’ research will look at isotopes within feathers to study the places that the birds have been which will fill gaps in migratory connectivity knowledge of Alaskan birds for the Migratory Connectivity Project. The goal of the Migratory Connectivity Project is to advance the conservation and understanding of animals throughout their full life cycle.

The Gavin Grant is awarded annually to support research on bird species found either permanently or seasonally in Alaska or its coastal waters, including their biology, general ecology and habitat relationships. This specific project will assist in understanding how climate change may affect Alaska’s avian population over time.

The Gavin Grant, part of the UA Foundation’s consolidated endowment fund, was established in 1981 with a gift from the Atlantic Richfield Co. to honor the memory of Angus Gavin, an environmental scientist and advisor to ARCO.  Gavin was hand-picked by ARCO Chairman Robert O. Anderson to observe, categorize and quantify the little-known flora and fauna of Prudhoe Bay in 1969. Gavin’s work was instrumental in helping ARCO and the scientific community draw conclusions, pro or con, about the impact of oil field development on the ecology of the North Slope and to recommend operational changes that would minimize or negate any adverse effects on the environment.

For more information, please contact Dory Straight at the UA Foundation, 907-450-8030

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