The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund

Theodore Roosevelt Statue

Since establishment of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund in 1961, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has provided funding for young scientists through Research GrantsPostdoctoral Fellowships and Graduate Student Fellowships, thanks to generous initial gifts and the ongoing support of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and individual donors. The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund’s mission is to support research in any phase of wildlife conservation or related fields of North American natural history that are included in the activities of the AMNH. Research can be on the terrestrial or freshwater aquatic fauna of North America, living or fossil, covering all territory north of the Isthmus of Panama including the Caribbean. A standing committee of the AMNH’s Richard Gilder Graduate School (RGGS), including distinguished Curators and representatives of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, recommend the awardees each year from among applicants reviewed and nominated by AMNH academic staff.

The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Research Grants

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Research Grants are meant to provide seed money for research projects, to foster professional development and encourage studies on the North American fauna to which Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, devoted so much of his time and energy. Grants typically range from $1000 to $3500 each, and in 2016, 29 grants were awarded. Since the inception of the program, over 2100 Theodore Roosevelt Research Grants, totaling close to $2 million, have been awarded to doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers and other early career scientists from around the world.

Examples of recent research projects supported by Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund grants include: 
   -Movement and Habitat Selection of Prairie Rattlesnakes in Central Idaho 
   -Cranial Variation in Triceratops from the Hell Creek Formation, Montana
   -Colonization and Gene Flow of Coastal Tailed Frogs (Ascaphus truei) at Mount St. Helens
   -Ecdysteroid Natural History and Ecological Function in two North American Gryllus Species
   -Systematics and Conservation of the Southern Cavefish Species Complex 
   -Leeches of Chiapas, Mexico
   -Multiproxy Characterization of the Late Devonian Hangenberg Bioevent in Ohio

AMNH curator Dr. Rob Voss describes the success of this program and cites many of the publications it has produced in his report - The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund at Age 50: A Preliminary Analysis of Grant-supported Publications. (Available here with thanks to Dr. Voss).


Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fellowships also may be awarded to AMNH-affiliated postdoctoral fellows and graduate fellows supported by the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Committee upon recommendation of the AMNH Science divisions, RGGS faculty and RGGS Academic Affairs and Fellowships Committee. Details on these programs are available here for Graduate Fellowships and here for Postdoctoral Fellowships.

Recent Theodore Roosevelt Postdoctoral Fellows, American Museum of Natural History

Mar Ferrer

Mar Ferrer Suay

Research Advisor: Dr. James Carpenter

Research Focus: Taxonomic revision of the Kinsey collection of Cynipidae wasps and online availability of imaging and label information

Research Statement: I am a Hymenopteran taxonomist, specialized in the Cynipoidea group of wasps. As taxonomists we aim and state that the identification and recognition of the species, providing them with a correct name and understanding their relationship to other forms, is the fundamental base of biodiversity knowledge. This is an extremely difficult and sometimes highly complicated task which requires revision based on a great amount of bibliographic research as well as the accurate recognition of diagnostic features of species.

I specialize in the subfamily Charipinae. The charipine wasps influence the effectiveness of their aphid primary parasitoids by decreasing their abundance and modifying their behavior. As a result, an increase of aphid host populations can cause severe yield losses in some of the most important crops. The gall wasps are other important group within the superfamily Cynipoidea. The Kinsey Collection is one of the greatest assets of the AMNH, and is a unique global resource for understanding wasp diversity. Regrettably, Kinsey’s work is incomplete, with many undescribed species remaining in his collection at the AMNH. My main interest is to revise the material deposited in this collection and take photos of each of them to create online resources with all of this crucially important information and thus facilitate greater access for both scientists and the public.

Biography: Dr. Mar Ferrer-Suay received her B.Sc. in 2009 and her M.Sc. in 2011 from the University of Valencia. She completed her Ph.D. from the University of Barcelona in 2014, where she revised the taxonomy of the wasp subfamily Charipinae at a worldwide level. In 2015 she earned a second M.Sc. degree from the University of Valencia, based on Pest Management. During her years of study she already has published more than 50 papers, describing many new Charipinae species and creating a webpage based on the Charipinae subfamily.

Angelo Soto-Centeno

2013 - 2016
Angelo J. Soto-Centeno

Research Advisor: Dr. Nancy Simmons

Research Focus: Extinction and biogeography of insular mammals (bats)

Research Statement: I am fascinated by population genetics, phylogeography, distribution modeling, fossils, and the use of computer software to solve evolutionary problems. My research program focusses on studying recent mammalian extinctions in the Caribbean. I use genetic, fossil, and distribution model data to study how recent (i.e. Pleistocene – Holocene) climate change affected populations of bats in the Caribbean. Genetics help us understand population level evolutionary processes (e.g. population sizes, movement among islands, etc.) over time. Fossils and the use of geochronology provide the hard evidence of species loss or turnover to evaluate community changes across time. Finally, distribution models help us explore changes in available habitat and allow us to make predictions about what historic factors affected populations as climate changed. The combined use of genetics, fossils, and distribution models is very powerful and provide evidence to evaluate hypotheses about the evolutionary processes that shaped island bat populations and how bats reacted to climate change in the past. By using this framework, we can also improve our understanding of what happens to these bats today and may be able to better predict what may happen to them in the future.

Biography: Dr. J. Angel Soto-Centeno received his B.Sc. in 2000 from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico where he studied physiological ecology of bats on Puerto Rico. He earned his M.Sc. from Eastern Michigan University studying dietary ecology of nectarivorous bats on Puerto Rico in 2004. He completed his Ph.D. from University of Florida in 2013 where he researched phylogeography of multiple species of bat in the Caribbean. During Dr. Soto-Centeno’s Theodore Roosevelt Fellowship, he published extensively, conducted numerous fieldtrips, received an NSF travel grant, and served as a mentor to undergraduate students and visiting scientists.

Earlier Theodore Roosevelt Postdoctoral Fellows, American Museum of Natural History

2010-2012       Lucja Fostowicz-Frelik

2009-2011       Paul Velazco

2007-2009       Eric Waltari

2004-2006       Kurt Pickett

2001-2003       Robert Anderson

2000-2001       Susan L. Perkins

2000-2001       Meredith Mahoney

1990-1992       David Yeates

Recent Theodore Roosevelt Graduate Fellows, Richard Gilder Graduate School

2011 - 2013

Kaori Tsukui
Research Interests: vertebrate paleontology (mammals), paleoecology and geochronology
Primary AdvisorDr. John J. Flynn
Dissertation Title: Chronology and faunal evolution of the Middle Eocene Bridgerian North American Land Mammal Age: Achieving high precision geochronology (Defended April 2015)
Ph.D. Awarded: Columbia University, 2015
Prior Education: University of New Hampshire, BS & MS