Sahas Barve, PhD

Archbold Ecologist Wins Prestigious Award in Field Biology

September 28, 2023

Dr. Sahas Barve, John W. Fitzpatrick Program Director of Avian Ecology at Archbold Biological Station, was awarded the 2023 Maxwell/Hanrahan Award in Field Biology. The $100,000 award is given annually to only 5 biologists around the world. These awards are in recognition of early career researchers who bring diverse perspectives to science and show exceptional talent and curiosity in field-based research.

Sahas started at Archbold Biological Station in January 2023 following 16 years of varied field experiences. He has tracked king cobras through the steamy jungles of south India, studied high elevation birds in the frozen Himalayas, and followed the complicated social lives of acorn woodpeckers in California’s oak savannah.

At Archbold, Sahas now leads the 54-year long field study of the Federally Threatened Florida Scrub-Jay. “This award will be transformative for our Scrub-Jay research at Archbold” says Sahas. Florida Scrub-Jays are living in a rapidly changing world, as their scrubby habitats lose ground to development, and climate change poses risks to even large well-protected populations. Yet, the secret of how we can best conserve them Sahas says “lies in observing their behavior and studying their biology in the field”. The award will help the Avian Ecology Program at Archbold use cutting-edge approaches to radiotrack Scrub-Jays as they traverse not only their physical habitat and climate, but also their social landscapes, interacting and networking with others jays in their neighborhood. This exhaustive data-driven approach will be critical for unlocking the secrets of their behavior, ultimately helping us plan biologically sound conservation measures for their protection.

The award will also help Sahas continue his, and Archbold’s commitment to increasing the diversity of folks doing field biology. “Field biology and the great outdoors are for everyone” says Sahas. As an immigrant and person of color, he sees several hurdles for minorities interesting in field biology. Through this award, Sahas hopes to continue offering enriching field experiences to a diversity of young scientists at Archbold.

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