Teaching ExcellenceGAMBIER, Ohio (September 13, 2004) Ask Robert Mauck why he studies storm-petrels and he'll tell you the long-lived seabirds offer a unique opportunity to study why some animals are better survivors than others, a peek at natural selection in action. And they smell good.
Mauck has spent years examining these small cousins to the albatross, which make their homes off the northeast Atlantic Coast. The musky smell the biology professor refers to comes from an oil their bodies secrete, which the birds rub on their feathers to keep them waterproof. It's one of many physiological traits that has captured the interest of this Kenyon biologist, who has been named the Harvey F. Lodish Faculty Development Professor in the Natural Sciences.
The professorship, established in 2000 with a gift from Harvey Lodish, Class of 1962, and Pamela Lodish, recognizes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship among junior faculty in the natural sciences at Kenyon.
Mauck does much of his work at the Bowdoin Scientific Station at Kent Island in New Brunswick, Canada, where he serves as director. A number of Kenyon students have accompanied Mauck to the island during the summer to do field work.
He will be on junior leave during spring semester, doing research on the life strategies of birds with a collaborator at Colorado State University. That project, as well as others in his lab, will be supported, in part, by the Lodish professorship.