Jeffrey Walters, Harold H. Bailey Professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2013 Alumni Award for Excellence in Research.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Research is presented annually to as many as two Virginia Tech faculty members who have made outstanding research contributions. Alumni, students, faculty, and staff may nominate candidates. Each recipient is awarded $2,000.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1994, Walters has investigated the behavior, ecology, population biology, and conservation of numerous animal species all over the world, including Africa, South America, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

He is best known for his work with the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker in the longleaf pine ecosystems of the southeastern United States. The preservation of this species has been one of the largest conservation issues in the Southeast over the past 30 years due to the fact that its protection affects millions of acres of public and private land. Based on his research, Walters derived a new management strategy that resulted in sustained recovery of the species, while at the same time reduced conflict with such land uses as military training and timber harvest.

In recognition of his work with the red-cockaded woodpecker, Walters received the American Ornithologists’ Union’s highest research honor, the Elliott Coues Award, in 2002. The award citation stated, “To no small extent, whatever success is achieved in the conservation of this remarkable species will be due to Walters’ insightful and wide-ranging work.”

“Jeff’s unique contribution to life science is his ability to discover, evaluate, and apply basic scientific knowledge to solve complex problems in conservation biology,” said Brenda Winkel, head of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Walters has authored or co-authored more than 125 publications and has generated more than $17 million in outside funding for his research from a wide variety of sources, such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the United States Forest Service. He is sought after by government agencies and nonprofit conservation groups to provide expertise to high-profile conservation issues.

Walters received a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

 

 

Written by Catherine Doss.