Proposal number: 1611616

This award funds an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology for FY 2016, Broadening Participation of Groups Under-represented in Biology. The fellowship supports a research and training plan for the Fellow that will increase the participation of groups underrepresented in biology. The title of the research plan for this fellowship to Delia S. Shelton is "Developing Groups and their response to Anthropogenic Change." The host institutions for this fellowship are University of Windsor and Humboldt University, and the sponsoring scientists are Drs. Dennis Higgs (Windsor) and Jens Krause (Humboldt).

The goal of this research is to examine how human-induced rapid environmental change affects the formation of social groups of animals. Human-induced environmental change likely has profound effects on biodiversity at multiple levels of organization, but effects on social groups are relatively unexplored. Like individuals or species, some groups will be able to respond effectively, whereas others will perish in response to anthropogenic change. By studying how groups develop, we can learn more about successful and endangered group organizations, and ultimately predict which groups are (or are not) resilient to anthropogenic change. The Fellow?s research merges a powerful combination of modeling and empirical techniques to understand the social organization of groups, how they develop, and how they remain resilient against anthropogenic change. Results from this study may provide tools for policy makers and scientists to develop early detection systems and intervention plans to prevent further degradation of at-risk groups.

Training and career advancement activities are preparing the Fellow for a research career in animal behavior through development of proficiencies in multiple contemporary techniques, including social network analyses, agent-based modeling, and measures of fish physiology. The Fellow is enhancing the participation of groups under-represented in biology through educational outreach directed at increasing inclusion and retention at local and global scales. Locally, through the 4Winds STEM Native Outreach, first-nation students are being exposed to agent-based modeling and social network analysis through public talks and workshops. For global efforts, the Fellow is developing a communal mentoring program through the Animal Behavior Society?s Charles H. Turner initiative, a program designed to increase representation of undergraduates from under-represented groups at the society?s annual meeting.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Amanda Simcox
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Shelton Delia S
United States
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