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06-14-2007

Clarkson Biology Professor Will Travel to Costa Rica as Fulbright Scholar

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

Langen's Fulbright grant will support him for a semester of research and teaching at the International Program in Wildlife Conservation & Management at the National University of Costa Rica. He will teach a new course on animal behavior for wildlife conservation, and conduct research focusing on the impact of public roads on Costa Rica National Parks. Clarkson will provide him with a paid sabbatical leave for the other semester. langen

The National Geographic Society Grant will support Langen's field research at the Guanacaste Conservation Area, a major national park in Costa Rica which is bisected by the Pan-American highway. Because of concerns about wildlife road mortality, both in terms of impact on sensitive species and as a hazard to motorists, there is increasing pressure for management agencies to develop accurate methods of locating hotspots of road mortality for mitigation purposes.

Langen will determine whether there are hotspots of road crossing and road mortality for animals along the highway as it crosses the national park, which was established to protect a critically endangered ecosystem, Central American tropical dry forest. The results of the study should indicate where mitigation measures, like wildlife barriers and passageways, are likely be most effective and may also provide a model for how to locate road mortality hotspots along public roads in other Costa Rican national parks and elsewhere.

"Tom Langen is an exceptional scientist who is adept at engaging students in learning and research. His support from the Fulbright Scholars program and the National Geographic Society is exceptional but fitting," said Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences Dick Pratt. "Tom is an outstanding teacher and a dedicated, insightful ecologist who understands the importance of working on applied problems. This opportunity for him to work in Costa Rica will have long-term benefits for our students and our programs. We are honored to have someone of Tom's caliber on our faculty."

His research and teaching interests include animal behavior, conservation biology and ecology. Currently, he is working on funded projects that are focused on road mortality of amphibians and reptiles, on the environmental impact of chemical deicing using road salt, and on the effectiveness of wetland restoration projects for conservation.

Langen received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. He completed his postdoctoral work at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program sends 800 scholars and professionals each year to over 140 countries, where they lecture or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship program in international educational exchange. Fulbright grants are made to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, primarily university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Since the program's inception in 1946, approximately 279,500 participants -- chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential -- have been provided with the opportunity to exchange ideas and to contribute to finding solutions to shared issues.

Both U.S. and Visiting Fulbright Scholars lecture or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields ranging from journalism and urban planning to music, philosophy, business administration and zoology. The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is a private, nationally ranked university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty achieves international recognition for their research and scholarship and connects students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

Find out more about the Fulbright Scholar program at http://www.cies.org/about_fulb.htm. Find out more about the National Geographic Society Committee for Research & Exploration at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/research.

[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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