The Joseph Grinnell Award honors individuals who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to education in mammalogy over a period of at least 10 years. The award recognizes excellence in education in both traditional academic settings as well as other forms of public outreach education.
The 2013 recipient of the Joseph Grinnell Award is Dr. Ricardo Ojeda, Investigador Principal CONICET (the Argentine national research agency), Jefe del Grupo de Investigaciones de la Biodiversidad, Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Aridas, Centro Científico Tecnológico. Dr. Ojeda has directed 41 doctoral, masters, and research investigators, one of the largest mammal-training programs in Argentina. His students have conducted investigations on mammals and desert ecology and on a range of topics from physiology to phylogenetics. He has mentored students that have gone on to be researchers, teachers, and wildlife and conservation personnel at both provincial and national levels. Ricardo’s inspirational teaching has drawn graduate and undergraduate students from other countries to attend his field courses, and these students have found these courses to be life changing.
Ricardo has opened new opportunities for young scientists in the Argentine scientific establishment, especially for women; over 70% of his students have been women. He has created opportunities not only through teaching but also by helping create the Argentine Mammal Society (SAREM) and being founding editor of Mastazoologia Neotropical, the premier scientific journal on mammals in South America. His accomplishments in education are all the more impressive when one realizes the cultural climate in which they occurred. His effectiveness as an educator necessitated extreme perseverance in a country with limited infrastructure and societal instability.
Because of his significant impact in training the next generation of desert mammal ecologists and because his influence as a teacher will continue for decades to come, the American Society of Mammalogists recognizes Dr. Ricardo Ojeda with the 2013 Joseph Grinnell Award.