Tacoma, Wash. — Professor Stacey Weiss, associate chair of biology and William L. McCormick Professor of Natural Sciences at the University of Puget Sound, has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The award was presented to Professor Weiss at the Murdock College Science Research Conference in Vancouver, Washington, on Nov. 10.
Weiss is well-known for her research in the fields of behavioral and microbial ecology. Her work focuses on the function and regulation of microbiomes in wild animals, reproductive behavior, and animal communication signals. Weiss is also committed to mentoring students, helping them gain valuable field and lab experience and encouraging them to take ownership of their research.
One of Weiss’ notable contributions includes her research into the communication signals of female striped plateau lizards, which explored the links between female coloration and the health of offspring. This work, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology in 2011, garnered international attention, with coverage in publications such as Smithsonian Magazine, Natural History Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and other media outlets.
Weiss’ research delves into questions about the role of maternal microbes in protecting eggs from fungal infections, how animal communication signals provide honest information to potential mates, and other aspects of natural selection and sexual selection theory. Weiss and her students have been widely published in Animal Microbiome, Journal of Animal Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, Journal of Experimental Biology, and Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, among others.
The Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award, sponsored by the Murdock Trust, includes a $20,000 grant to support ongoing research, including funds for two student summer research positions. The award recognizes a senior faculty member with an established, productive, and nationally recognized research program at a predominantly undergraduate university in the Pacific Northwest. The Murdock Trust has been supporting the growth of nonprofits and educational institutions since 1975 by providing grants and enrichment programs to organizations that strengthen the region’s educational, social, spiritual, and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.
About University of Puget Sound
A nationally ranked residential liberal arts college in Tacoma, Washington, University of Puget Sound enrolls 1,600 undergraduate students from across the country and around the world, as well as 250 graduate students in education, counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and public health. A low student-faculty ratio provides Puget Sound students with personal attention from faculty members who have a strong commitment to teaching and offer 1,200 courses each year in more than 50 areas of study. Puget Sound graduates include Rhodes and Luce scholars, notables in the arts and culture, scholars and scientists, entrepreneurs and elected officials, and leaders in business and finance locally and throughout the world. A top producer of Fulbright scholars, Puget Sound is the only nationally ranked independent liberal arts college in Western Washington, and one of just five independent colleges in the Northwest granted a charter by Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society.