Loeske Kruuk has won the European Society for Evolutionary Biology President’s Award.
This award is intended to recognise outstanding contributions to evolutionary biology by a mid-career scientist. The award is to be in the gift of the three Presidents in post at the time (Past-President, President and President-Elect) and so will be known as the Presidents’ Award. The award is presented at the Joint Congress of Evolutionary Biology to be held at Montpellier, in August. The prize is awarded once every six years and the recipient will give an address at the Joint Evolution Congress on Evolutionary Biology in the same year.
Biography: I completed a PhD in population genetics at the University of Edinburgh with Nick Barton, in 1997, and then did a postdoc at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. I started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh in 2000 and became Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at Edinburgh there in 2009. In 2012, I took up an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship at the Australian National University, Canberra.
My research aims to understand how environmental conditions affect evolutionary processes in natural populations. My postdoc on a long-term study of red deer initiated my interest in the application of quantitative genetic mixed model approaches previously restricted to animal breeding analyses to address evolutionary questions. One of my main aims is to understand how the quantitative genetic basis of phenotypic variation and natural selection determine individual fitness and life histories in the wild. My other core interests are the effects of climate change, senescence, phenotypic plasticity, sexual selection, inbreeding depression and maternal effects. Most of my work has been on wild vertebrate populations – in particular, using studies with long-term records and relatedness information – but I’ve also worked with collaborators on a range of lab, domestic and plant populations. I’ve been lucky enough to supervise many excellent postgraduate students and post-doctoral fellows.