William A Calder III Memorial Scholarship

The William A. Calder III Memorial Scholarship was established in 2002 in honor of EEB faculty member Bill Calder.
The Calder memorial scholarship supports graduate students from Mexico with strong commitments to conservation and the protection of natural resources that intend to return to Mexico to further educate others in these principles.  During his life, Bill Calder reached across the border to foster scientific collaborations with his colleagues in Mexico.  He especially supported opportunities for women and people of color in academic biology, and he established several scholarships to broaden academic opportunities and inspire students who might not otherwise have pursued scientific study. 


2018 Recipients

Katie Chenard

Developmental Mechanisms Underlying Consistent Behaviors

My research in the Duckworth lab at the University of Arizona focuses on how early life environment shapes development of adult morphology and behavior, using zebra finches as a model organism. In particular, behaviors such as personality traits that are consistent across an individual’s lifespan are of interest because they predictably change how an animal interacts with its environment. Environmental factors during development such as temperature, corticosterone levels and nutrition can all impact adult personality traits in ecologically relevant ways, and better understanding the mechanisms behind the creation and maintenance of these consistent behaviors will help us better predict the impact of environmental change. The William Calder scholarship helped make this research possible.


Chenlu Di

I am studying the ecological factors and virus-related factors of acute viruses that influence human-to-human transmission. The project aims at finding the virus-related, ecological and socio-economic factors that affect acute viruses to establish sustained human-to-human transmission. The Calder Scholarship funded at data collection and matching the ecological and socio-economic factors to virus outbreaks.


Miguel Gonzalez

As a Phd Student in the school of Natural Resources and the Environment, I am focusing on the engagement of environmental issues and crop production processes in semi-arid areas. Specifically, my research interest is aimed at agro-environmental modeling and regional development in central Mexico’s rain-fed croplands. The connection of my current research was fueled by my professional experience as a research assistant at the National Institute for Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock Research in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Calder Scholarship will help to finance the summer term to finish my degree, and also to strengthen the academic links between the Institute I work for and the faculty at the University of Arizona regarding sustainable agricultural approaches.


Kayla Hale


My research synthesizes the structure and dynamics of food webs and pollination networks into a common mathematical framework. This framework connects population dynamics and species traits to the persistence of threatened pollinator populations, and can be used to illuminate the ecological forces leading to their decline. This will allow systematic explorations of leveraging naturally occurring species interactions to improve ecosystem resilience and prevent extinctions, particularly of critically important mutualists. The Calder scholarship is funding my summer work investigating the traits of omnivorous pollinators that lead to persistence and productivity of terrestrial ecosystems. 


Pratima KC

My research investigated the trend and relationship between vegetation growth as estimated from Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and drought indices over the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahua Deserts and the Apache highlands on the Southwest United States over a period of 16 years (2000-2016). The knowledge derived from these large-scale analyses can be used to develop plans to conserve and protect natural resources at regional and global scales. For my Ph.D., I am focusing on integrating information technology to present large-scale insights in a meaningful way to decision makers, natural land managers, and to the general public using interactive maps in web-based decision support systems. The focused research objective is to develop drought forecasting models and embed them into web-based, interactive maps that could be used by other researchers studying natural systems.


Ahvi Potticary

Broadly, my research address the question of where new behaviors come from. The evolution of behavior is very intriguing, because it can show both great flexibility and also stability (for example, variation in personality traits). What physiological mechanisms reconcile this tension between flexibility and stability? What properties of the systems underlying behavior determine when and how new behaviors evolve? I study the evolution of social and cooperative breeding behavior (where young individuals help their parents raise siblings instead of breeding on their own), in western bluebirds. Western bluebirds are a particularly informative system for the evolution of behavior, as they are currently moving into new habitat (man-made nest boxes), that varies significantly from the habitat they have historically inhabited (post-fire successional forest). This habitat shift changes many local and population contexts for western bluebirds, with interesting results for the parental care strategies we see across populations.
Please visit my website for more information: https://ahvapotticary.weebly.com/


Cristian Roman-Palacios


I am especially interested in understanding large-scale patterns of biodiversity by using comparative methods to address questions lying at the interface between ecology and evolution. I’m also widely interested in the systematics of different animal groups (frogs, insects, and fishes), besides the effects of climate change on local populations. The W. C. scholarship will allow me to attend different conferences, and present research I have done during the first two years of my Ph.D.
Find more information on my website: http://cromanpa94.github.io/cromanpa/


Karla Vargas

My research interests are wildlife conservation, conservation genetics and genomics, and non-invasive genetic techniques. I’m broadly interested in applying genetic methods to problems in conservation biology, with an emphasis on vertebrate species. By preserving the genetic variability of the most threatened populations, we will secure their reproduction and long-term survival. My goal is to contribute to the protection of species and help mitigate the steep decline of our biodiversity. My current project,” Phylogenomic analysis of Bobwhite quail in Southern Arizona and Mexico”, focuses on reconstructing the evolutionary history of several subspecies of Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) on the basis of the analysis of their genomes to aid in the recovery efforts of the endangered Masked Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus ridgwayi) native to Southern Arizona and Sonora. 
To see previous recipients click here.