Land & Environment

Recent USU Grad Receives Top Honor from British Ecological Society

Recent USU grad Dustin Ranglack '08, PhD’14 is the recipient of the British Ecological Society’s Southwood Prize, one of the world’s top honors for ecologists.

Utah State University alum Dustin Ranglack ’08, PhD’14 is the 2015 recipient of the British Ecological Society’s prestigious Southwood Prize, one of the world’s top honors for early career ecologists. The award was announced March 22, 2016, from London.

The annual prize is awarded for the best paper by an early career researcher who has published in the society’s journals. Ranglack is honored for his paper, “Competition on the Range: Science versus Perception in a Bison-Cattle Conflict in the Western USA,” which appeared in the Jan. 26, 2015, issue of the society’s Journal of Applied Ecology.

“This is a distinct honor for Dustin and for Utah State,” says Chris Luecke, dean of USU’s Quinney College of Natural Resources. “Dustin joined USU as an undergraduate and contributed greatly to the life of our college. He not only excelled in academics, but served in multiple student leadership and service positions.”

Professor Nancy Huntly, director of the USU Ecology Center, says Ranglack’s recognition is well deserved.

“It’s very gratifying to see his hard work rewarded with this pinnacle prize,” she says.

Selected from dozens of authors, Ranglack was the editorial team’s unanimous choice for the 2015 award. His paper stems from research he conducted with USU advisor Johan du Toit for several years focusing on American bison ecology and bison-cattle interactions in southern Utah’s Henry Mountains. The research, which concerned a unique, isolated bison herd transplanted to Utah from Yellowstone National Park in the 1940s, was widely reported in international media.

“We’re very proud of the recognition Dustin has deservedly earned,” says du Toit, professor in USU’s Department of Wildland Resources and the USU Ecology Center. “This international award is highly prestigious in ecology and puts a spotlight on USU’s graduate studies program.”

As an awardee, Ranglack is invited to present at the BES annual meeting in December 2016 in Liverpool, England.

“I am very humbled to receive the Southwood Prize and can’t thank my USU advisor, Johan, and the Quinney College of Natural Resources and USU Ecology Center enough for helping to shape me into the ecologist that I am today,” says Ranglack, a postdoctoral research fellow at Montana State University. “Having my paper selected out of so many great papers from scientists around the world is a real honor.”

Ranglack, who was named QCNR’s 2013 Stokes-Leopold Scholar, completed a doctoral degree in ecology from USU in 2014. The Aggie earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife science from Utah State in fall 2008.

During his undergraduate career, Ranglack was named the 2009 Quinney College of Natural Resources Outstanding Senior and 2009 Department of Wildland Resources Outstanding Senior, as well as the college’s 2008 Undergraduate Teaching Fellow of the Year. The Murray, Utah, native, who graduated from Murray High School in 2003, was the recipient of QCNR’s William F. Sigler Scholarship, Gregory R. Rost Scholarship and Poe Brothers Scholarship, along with other academic honors.

Ranglack’s honor heralds QCNR’s 2016 Natural Resources Week at USU. The celebration week features a full schedule of campus-wide activities.

Related links:

Contact: Dustin Ranglack,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

While at USU, Ranglack, with faculty mentor Johan du Toit, conducted extensive research on the bison of southern Utah's Henry Mountains. Photo by Dustin Ranglack.


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