American Society of Naturalists

A membership society whose goal is to advance and to diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.

Applications for the 2021 Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Awards

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Deadline for all materials (application & two letters): January 15, 2021

Jasper Loftus-Hills and the Melbourne Zoology Department call discrimination tank, 1970 (Sullivan et al. "Murray John Littlejohn and Patricia Gordon Littlejohn," Copeia 103:467-475)
Jasper Loftus-Hills and the Melbourne Zoology Department call discrimination tank, 1970 (Sullivan et al. "Murray John Littlejohn and Patricia Gordon Littlejohn," Copeia 103:467-475)

The Jasper Loftus-Hill Young Investigator’s Award of the American Society of Naturalists honors outstanding promise and accomplishments of young investigators who conduct integrative work in the fields of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Behavioral Ecology, and Genetics. Applicants working in any of these fields are encouraged to apply.

The award honors outstanding promise and accomplishments of young investigators (3 years post-Ph.D., or in the final year of their Ph.D) who conduct integrative work in ecology, evolution, behavioral ecology, and genetics (see * below) . The award was established in 1984 to recognize exceptional work by investigators who received their doctorates in the three years preceding the application deadline, or who are in their final year of graduate school. The award commemorates Jasper Loftus-Hills (1946-1974), an Australian biologist of exceptional promise who died tragically during the course of fieldwork three years after receiving his degree.

Winners of this award will present a research paper in the Young Investigator’s Symposium at the ASN annual meeting and receive a $700 prize, a travel allowance of $700, cost of registration for the meetings, and a supplement of $500 in case of intercontinental travel. Four awards are made annually. Recipients need not be members of the Society.

In order to apply for this award, applicants should go to to the Google form, where they will be asked to answer a few questions and upload their application (see ** below). The application should consist of one pdf, with the following (in this exact order):
- CV (no page limit)
- Research statement (3 page limit, including figures)
- 3 reprints

Additionally, two letters by individuals familiar with the applicant’s work should be uploaded by referees to  (a Google form). (see ** below)Applicants are responsible for ensuring their letter writers submit their letters before the deadline (this can be done before submitting an application), as applications will not be considered complete without these two letters.

* The standard timeframe covers anyone who graduated in 2018, 2019, or 2020 or who plans to defend in 2021. Time since PhD degree can be extended by 1 year for each child born or adopted during this period if the applicant was a primary care giver. Other forms of exceptional care giving responsibility (e.g. partner, spouse, aged parent, etc.) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

**Applicants and letter writers will be required to sign into an account registered with Google (does not have to be a gmail address) to upload their applications and letters, respectively. If you or your letter writers do not have a google account, please send materials directly to Robin Hopkins.

Jasper Loftus-Hills

Golden Coquí (<I>Eleutherodactylus jasperi</I>) <br/>
Golden Coquí (Eleutherodactylus jasperi)

Jasper Loftus-Hills (1946-1974) was an Australian biologist of exceptional promise who lost his life doing fieldwork recording frog calls in Texas, three years after receiving his degree from the University of Melbourne. An obituary appeared in Copeia in 1974 (Alexander, Richard D. "Jasper Loftus-Hills." Copeia 1974:812-13).

The Golden Coquí (in the photo above) was discovered on Puerto Rico by George E. Drewry, Kirkland L. Jones, Julia R. Clark, and Jasper J. Loftus-Hills. They had planned to name the species for its color, but when Loftus-Hills was killed in 1974, his colleagues chose instead to name it in his honor:

A further description of Jasper Loftus-Hills appeared in Copeia 2015 (103:467-475), which is a retrospective on his mentor, Murray John Littlejohn (doi:

The most gifted graduate student Murray ever worked with (in his own estimation) was Jasper Loftus-Hills, whose Ph.D. thesis “Auditory function and acoustic communication in anuran amphibians” was completed in 1971. Jasper followed in Murray’s footsteps to Austin and then went on to Cornell University and the University of Michigan. He was tragically killed by a hit-and-run driver while doing night fieldwork on Gastrophryne in Texas in 1974. The 1992 Gastrophryne paper coauthored by Jasper and Murray is a lucid analysis of the state of the art in character displacement and reinforcement, two terms burdened with a long history of confusion.
(Loftus-Hills, J. J., and M. J. Littlejohn. 1992Reinforcement and reproductive character displacement inGastrophryne carolinensis and G. olivacea (Anura: Microhylidae): a re-evaluationEvolution 46:896906.)