Yale postdoctoral associate receives George Mercer Award
Brett Jesmer, a postdoctoral associate with the Max-Planck Yale Center for Biodiversity Movement and Global Change, is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious George Mercer Award. The award is given to young researchers who have published groundbreaking ecology research in the past two years. Jesmer is being recognized for a paper published last year in Science that explored the migratory patterns of bighorn sheep and moose.
The study confirmed that their migrations are learned phenomena that are transmitted culturally across generations.
The research team was able to compare the movement patterns of herds that had been living in the same location for centuries to those that had been relocated within the past 100 years. Ungulates like bighorn sheep and moose migrate in a manner that optimizes their consumption of fresh vegetation, a phenomenon called “riding the green wave.” Those that had been recently translocated, however, surfed green waves of vegetation poorly and did not migrate, missing out on the nutritional benefits offered by new greenery.
The George Mercer Award has been presented by the Ecological Society of America since 1948. Jesmer will be officially recognized at the Ecological Society Annual Meeting on Sunday, Aug. 11 in Louisville, Kentucky.