The AOU is pleased to present Dr. Alex E. Jahn with the 2014 Ned K. Johnson Young Investigator Award. This award recognizes work by an ornithologist early in his or her career who shows distinct promise for future leadership in the profession. The award honors Ned K. Johnson, a lifelong supporter and former president (1996–1998) of the American Ornithologists' Union.
Alex's passion is austral migration—a stunningly neglected topic. More than 98% of papers published on bird migration focus on migrants that breed in North America and Eurasia, despite the incredible diversity of migrants in South America. Alex charged into this void.
For his master's work at the University of Arkansas, he chose to study migration in the Chaco region of Bolivia. His Ph.D. at the University of Florida focused on partial migration of Tropical Kingbirds that breed in Bolivia. During this time, he discovered that well-supported hypotheses to explain partial migration in North America do not apply in South America; his results firmly rejected hypotheses that are taken for granted by practically all ornithologists. In short, he argues that seasonality of temperature drives migration in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas seasonality of rainfall drives migration in the Southern Hemisphere.
Alex's unusually broad perspective on migration is widely sought out. He has written two reviews on austral migration, in Ecological Monographs and Ecological Applications. In 2013, he was the first author on two groundbreaking papers in The Auk that used geolocators to provide the first documentation of a migratory passerine's annual movements in South America. The National Geographic Society has recognized the unusual scope of his work with two Research Grants. He is also a coauthor of the forthcoming Birds of Bolivia Field Guide.
In summary, we believe that Alex has truly been a leader in the study of bird migration in Latin America and certainly has a bright future ahead of him. The AOU is pleased and proud to name Dr. Alex E. Jahn our Young Investigator of 2014.
This award recognizes work by an ornithologist early in his/her career who shows distinct promise for future leadership in the profession. The award consists of a framed certificate and an honorarium, provided through a gift to the endowment of the American Ornithologists' Union honoring Ned K. Johnson, a lifelong supporter and former President (1996–1998) of the AOU.