Olin E. “Gene” Rhodes, Jr., director of the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and professor in the Odum School of Ecology, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research. The annual award is given by The Wildlife Society in honor of the late Texas conservationist Caesar Kleberg.
TWS defines the award as recognizing those who have distinguished themselves in applied research and whose body of work, in both inquiry and discovery, has resulted in application of management and conservation on the ground.
Rhodes’ research has focused on wildlife ecology and genetics, including the genetic consequences of species reintroduction programs, the use of genetic tools for addressing issues of wildlife management and conservation, disease ecology and the sustainability of wildlife species in human-dominated landscapes, to name a few.
He has published over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, books and chapters. His previous awards and recognitions include The Wildlife Society Fellow, 2015; TWS Professional Award of Merit, 2008; and the Hoosier Wildlife Award, 2007.
Rhodes previously served as assistant director of the National Wildlife Research Center, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Fort Collins, Colorado. In this role he supervised over 170 research scientists and technicians working in the areas of wildlife diseases, invasive species and human-wildlife interactions in agricultural ecosystems.
Prior to the position with USDA, Rhodes was a professor in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. He also served as director of Purdue’s Interdisciplinary Center for Ecological Sustainability.
Rhodes received a doctorate degree in wildlife ecology from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree from Clemson University.
The award, which includes a medal and monetary gift, was presented on Oct.10 at TWS’ 25th Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.