Over the course of this spring and summer, we’re highlighting all of the previously announced recipients of this year’s AOS awards on the blog. This week, the 2020 Elliott Coues Award.
The Elliott Coues Award recognizes outstanding and innovative contributions to ornithological research, regardless of the geographic location of the work. This award was established in honor of Elliott Coues, a pioneering ornithologist of the western United States and a founding member of the AOU. The award consists of the Elliott Coues Medal and an honorarium. In 2020, AOS is presenting two individual Elliott Coues Awards, one to André Dhondt and one to Thomas Smith.
Dr. Dhondt is the Edwin H. Morgens Professor of Ornithology at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Ghent in Belgium and worked with the FAO, UN, and UNESCO before taking a faculty position at Antwerp University. He moved to Cornell University in 1994 to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in using citizen science to understand the ecological drivers of bird distributions and abundance and was elected an Elective Member of the AOU in 1992 and a Fellow in 2000. Dr. Dhondt is best known for his long-term studies of hole-nesting birds in Europe, including Blue Tits and Great Tits, and most particularly for studies of interspecific competition, mating systems and extrapair paternity, and dispersal behavior. At Cornell, Dr. Dhondt led a field study of the disease dynamics of mycoplasmal conjunctivitis in House Finches, which has become one of the best-studied models of disease dynamics in a wild population. This work has included physiological studies of infection and recovery as well as studies of the demographic consequences of infection for movements and survival rates. His publications include two important books, Dispersal and Interspecific Competition in Birds, published by Oxford University Press, and over 300 peer-reviewed papers, with highly cited work in Nature, Science, Behavioural Ecology, Biological Conservation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and Proceedings of the Royal Society London. Dr. Dhont currently serves as the Chair of the Committee on Nominations for Honorary Fellows.
In recognition of these contributions to ornithology, AOS is pleased to name André Dhondt as a recipient of a 2020 Elliott Coues Award.