Biologist Bruce Lyon honored by American Ornithological Society

Bruce Lyon
Bruce Lyon (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Bruce Lyon, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, has been chosen to receive the 2022 Elliott Coues Award from the American Ornithological Society (AOS). The award recognizes outstanding and innovative contributions to ornithological research.

In announcing the award, the AOS cited Lyon’s “clever experiments, insightful field observations, and a deep understanding of ecological and evolutionary theory.” The Elliott Coues Award will be presented to two recipients this year, Lyon and Bridget Stutchbury of York University.

Lyon’s research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary basis of reproductive strategies and social behavior in birds, particularly brood parasitism (when birds lay eggs in the nests of other birds), parental care, and mating systems. He has a stellar academic record spanning 45 years and is particularly well-known for his long-term studies of American coots and black-headed ducks, which have become classic textbook examples for instructors of ornithology and behavioral ecology.

Lyon’s research interests are diverse, thorough, and span a range of other species, including shorebirds and songbirds. The innovative nature of his work is reflected by a body of highly cited papers in top journals, including papers in Nature, Science, PNAS, American Naturalist and Functional Ecology.

Lyon earned a B.Sc. at McGill University, M.Sc. at Queens University, and Ph.D. at Princeton University. He joined the UCSC faculty in 1997.