In recognition of lifetime achievement in ornithological research, Dr. Erica Nol has been presented with the 2020 Loye and Alden Miller Research Award from the American Ornithological Society, the world’s largest international ornithological society with professional members across the globe.
“It is no surprise that my esteemed colleague Dr. Erica Nol has earned a lifetime achievement award for her renowned work in ornithology,” says Dr. Neil Emery, vice president of research and innovation at Trent University. “She is highly accomplished in her field thanks to a career of global and ground-breaking wildlife research which she has consistently extended into her highly popular teachings for undergraduate and graduate students alike. She is most deserving of this recognition.”
Professor Nol has received international recognition for her work on the ecology and conservation of migratory shorebirds and songbirds in the Western Hemisphere, and is considered one of Canada’s top avian ecologists. In 2019, the University honoured Prof. Nol with the Distinguished Research Award. Over her career, she has been consulted as an expert on the conservation of threatened and endangered birds, publishing her work in more than 130 peer-reviewed journals including the most high-profile journals of her field such as Nature, Science and the Journal of Animal Ecology.
“I am pleased, honoured and surprised,” Prof. Nol said in response to receiving the award. “This is recognition at a broader level than I have previously received. I must emphasize the role of graduate students in my research, who have been critical to the work of my lab in conducting high quality research on the impacts of various stressors on bird populations.”
Prof. Nol has a deep commitment to the education of undergraduate and graduate students at Trent, who successfully secure positions in their field upon graduation. Her lab is consistently one of the largest and most active in the Environmental and Life Sciences graduate program, having supervised over 60 M.Sc. and Ph.D. graduate students at Trent.
“I am very happy to have attracted excellent students across my career who share my passion for the natural world, and especially the world of birds, and also care very much about the future of the natural world,” Prof. Nol says.
Graduate students studying with Prof. Nol have uncovered the origins of piping plovers that re-colonized Southern Ontario following extirpation in 1977. They have found links between the presence of hyper-abundant arctic geese on the nesting success of arctic-breeding shorebirds, which are part of a group of birds that are declining worldwide. Her students have also shown how human presence in southern wintering grounds disrupts shorebirds’ feeding success, as well as many other research findings.
Prof. Nol credits Trent with having smaller classes leading to stronger relationships with both undergraduate and graduate students who go on to perform outstanding research in her field.
Prof. Nol has presented research across Canada, the United States and Europe and is a frequent reviewer for international journals. She also provides reviews for consultants, NGOs, government biologists and national granting councils. She has served as president of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists and The Waterbird Society and participated as a council member on numerous other professional bodies, including the American Ornithological Society.