UMSL biology professor earns prestigious Humboldt Research Award

Robert Ricklefs

Robert Ricklefs

Robert Ricklefs, Curators’ Professor of Biology at the University of Missouri-St Louis, has been awarded the Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award recognizes his lifetime achievements in research and promotes international collaboration in the sciences.

Through the Humboldt Foundation, Ricklefs will take sabbatical September through August 2010 to conduct avian research at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell, Germany.

“I am excited by the prospect of extended research collaboration with my German colleagues,” said Ricklefs, who has been at UMSL since 1995 and lives in University City, Mo. “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring some long-term research projects on the diversity of avian life histories to completion.” Earlier this year, Ricklefs also received membership into the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

UMSL Chancellor Tom George is thrilled with Ricklefs’ second major honor of the year. “Bob is having an amazing year and I could not be happier,” George said. “He is truly an outstanding academician and teacher.”

Ricklefs is author or co-author of four books, including two popular textbooks, almost 300 papers and more than 80 other articles. His research spans a variety of subjects in evolutionary biology, focusing on various aspects of the diversification of birds and their growth and life histories. He also has worked on the evolution of plants and other organisms.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Five other UMSL faculty members have received a Humboldt award in previous years.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation was established in 1860. Every year, the foundation enables more than 1,800 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. It maintains a network of 23,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in 130 countries worldwide — including 40 Nobel Prize winners.


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