The David J. Morafka Memorial Research Award, 2019
In honor and memory of Dr. David J. Morafka, distinguished herpetologist and authority on North American gopher tortoises, the Desert Tortoise Council, with the aid of several donors, has established a monetary award to help support research that contributes to the understanding, management and conservation of tortoises of the genus Gopherus in the southwestern United States and Mexico: G. agassizii, G. morafkai, G. evgoodei, G. berlandieri, and G. flavomarginatus.
$2,000, depending on the availability of funding and an appropriate recipient.
Applicants must be associated with a recognized institution (e.g., university, museum, government agency, non-governmental organization) and may be graduate students, post-doctoral students, or other researchers. They must agree to present a report on the results of the research in which award funds were used at a future symposium of the Desert Tortoise Council.
Applications will be evaluated on the basis of the potential of the research to contribute to the biological knowledge of one or more of the above gopher tortoise species, and to their management and conservation. Important considerations are the significance and originality of the research problem, design of sampling and analysis, preliminary data supporting the feasibility of the research, and the likelihood of successful completion and publication.
- Download and open an application form from the Desert Tortoise Council’s website. Click Morafka Award Application to access the application. The form is electronically interactive.
- Provide all information requested on the application, including a description of the research project in no more than 1,200 words.
- All application materials and letters of recommendation must be received by December 1, 2018. They will be evaluated by a committee of gopher tortoise biologists appointed by the Desert Tortoise Council Board of Directors and Grants Committee.
- The research award recipient will be notified of his/her selection by January 21, 2019 and the award will be presented at the 2019 Desert Tortoise Council Symposium, February 21-23, in Tucson, Arizona.
The David J. Morafka Award Recipients
2018: No applications were received.
2017: No applications were received.
2016: Rafael A. Lara-Resendiz, Ph.D
University of California Santa Cruz
Thermal Ecology and Extinction Risk of Desert Tortoise ( Gopherus morafkai ) in the Tropical Deciduous Forest of Southern Sonora
2015: Jacob Daly
University of Georgia
Evaluating the Viability of indoor-rearing as a component of head-starting for Mojave Desert Tortoise Conservation
2014: Sara Valenzuela
Universidad Juarez del Estado de Durango, Mexico
Bolson Tortoise Burrows and their Role as Refuges for the Vertebrate community at the Biosphere Reserve of Mapimi
2013: Michael W. Tuma
University of Southern California
Life History Variation in Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise
2012: Jennifer Germano
San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research
Exploring Thermal-regulatory and Water-loss Properties of Desert Tortoise Retreat Sites: Implications for Translocation and Conservation Management
2011: Taylor Edwards
University of Arizona
A Multilocus Approach to Examining the Phylogeography of the Desert Tortoise
2010: Danna Hinderle
San Diego State University
Exploring Homing Ability in the Desert Tortoise ( Gopherus agassizii ) Through Displacement Experiments on the Fort Irwin Training Center
2009: Amanda Guthrie
Gladys Porter Zoo
The Prevalence and Distribution of Mycoplasma agassizii in the Texas Tortoise
2008: Akiko Fujii
Texas State University
Phylogeography of the Texas Tortoise ( Gopherus berlandieri ): Implications for Conservation Management
2008: Melissa Nicholson
Desert Tortoise Preserve
Committee Comparison of Restoration Techniques within the Expanded Boundaries of the Desert Tortoise Natural Area (DTNA)
2007: No applications were received.
2006: Erin R. Zylstra
University of Arizona
Evaluating Monitoring Strategies for the Sonoran Desert Tortoise in Saguaro National Park