In honor and memory of Dr. David J. Morafka, distinguished herpetologist and authority on North American gopher tortoises, the Desert Tortoise Council, with the aid of several donors, has established a monetary award to help support research that contributes to the understanding, management and conservation of tortoises of the genus Gopherus in the southwestern United States and Mexico: G. agassizii, G. morafkai, G. evgoodei, G. berlandieri, and G. flavomarginatus.
Award Amount: $2,000 to be awarded at the Desert Tortoise Council’s Annual Symposium, depending on the availability of funding and an appropriate recipient.
Eligibility: Applicants must be associated with a recognized institution (e.g., university, museum, government agency, non-governmental organization) and may be graduate students, post-doctoral students, or other researchers. They must agree to present a report on the results of the research in which award funds were used at a future symposium of the Desert Tortoise Council.
Evaluation Criteria: Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the potential of the research to contribute to the biological knowledge of one or more of the above gopher tortoise species, and to their management and conservation. Important considerations are the significance and originality of the research problem, design of sampling and analysis, preliminary data supporting the feasibility of the research, and the likelihood of successful completion and publication.
1. Download and open an application form from the Desert Tortoise Council’s website www.deserttortoise.org. The form is electronically interactive.
2. Provide all information requested on the application, including a description of the research project in no more than 1,200 words.
3. Submit the completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org as a pdf document.
4. Applications must be supported by the applicant’s CV and three letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the applicant’s research advisor, supervisor, or a knowledgeable colleague. Instruct the recommenders to submit their letters to email@example.com as pdf documents.
5. All application materials and letters of recommendation must be received by December 1, 2016. They will be evaluated by a committee of gopher tortoise biologists appointed by the Desert Tortoise Council Board of Directors.
6. The research award recipient will be notified of his/her selection by January 20, 2017 and the award will be presented at the 2017 Desert Tortoise Council Symposium, February 24-26, 2017.
For full details, see: Morafka Award Announcment 2017