The Oliver P. Pearson award supports a young professional in Latin America within 5 years of receiving a Ph.D. or equivalent degree. This award honors Oliver Pearson’s remarkable six decades of work in Latin America and his steadfast support for Latin American mammalogists of all ages and degrees of professional development. The award offers financial support to young professional mammalogists who hold academic or curatorial positions in Latin America, to help them establish or consolidate their research programs. A single $5,000 award is granted each year. $2000 is also provided for travel to the following year’s ASM annual meeting.
This year’s recipient is a Venezuelan biologist who currently is an Associate Professor of Biology and Director of Applied Zoology Lab at Universidad de Los Andes in Mérida, Venezuela. Dr. Mariana Muñoz-Romo is – in the words of one of her references – “probably the world’s expert” on chemical communication in a bat species. Her studies of the long-nosed bat, Leptonycteris curasoae, have answered some important questions about olfactory communication, and she plans to continue this line of research. She has been a very productive young mammalogist, having already published 16 journal articles. Students working with Dr. Muñoz-Romo have a high appreciation for this mentor who was an extremely enthusiastic and dedicated student herself. We are proud to support her continuing research.