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07-08-2005

Clarkson Professor Awarded For Research On Bird Decision Making “Rules” By American Society Of Naturalists

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/langen-jay.jpg]

We know that animals usually select one item from a set of attributes when choosing a foraging site or a mate, but what we don’t know is the decision process or rules that lead to those choices,” says Tom A. Langen, assistant professor in the Departments of Biology and Psychology at Clarkson University, and affiliate of Clarkson’s Center for the Environment.

Langen is co-recipient of this year’s American Society of Naturalists (ASN) President’s Award for a research article he co-authored with Barney Luttbeg, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis (UCD). The article titled “Comparing Alternative Models to Empirical Data: Cognitive Models of Western Scrub-Jay Foraging Behavior,” was judged by the president of the Society to be the best paper published last year in ASN’s journal, American Naturalist. In addition to the honor, the authors received a $1,000 monetary award. The American Naturalist is among the highest-ranked research journals in the fields of ecology and evolution. langen-jay

When he is not studying the behavior of Jays, you are likely to come across Langen traversing

St. Lawrence Valley roads and marshes studying the impact of road traffic on turtle populations, or assessing the long-term environmental consequences of road salt and other winter road maintenance practices on upstate New York soil and lakes.

Langen has received grants and fellowships for his research from New York state, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other agencies totaling nearly $650,000. His research sites include the forests of Costa Rica, chaparral and deserts of California, and the forests, wetlands and waterways of New York.

PHOTO CAPTION: Tom A. Langen, assistant professor in the Departments of Biology and Psychology at Clarkson University, and affiliate of Clarkson’s Center for the Environment, was recently awarded the American Society of Naturalists President’s Award for a paper he co-authored on the decision processes used in foraging by Western Scrub-Jays.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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