Jeanine Donley, a graduate student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has been selected as the winner of the 2004 Edward A. Frieman Prize, an annual recognition of excellence in graduate student research. The award ceremony will be held on Wednesday, July 28, at 3 p.m. at the Scripps Library.
The ninth recipient of the Frieman Prize, Donley is being honored for her research paper, "Convergent Evolution in Mechanical Design of Lamnid Sharks and Tunas," which was published in the May 6, 2004 issue of Nature. It was coauthored by graduate student Chugey Sepulveda, Scripps Professor of Marine Biology Robert Shadwick, and Peter Konstantinidis and Sven Gemballa of the University of Tübingen in Germany.
The Frieman Prize was established in 1996 to celebrate the 70th birthday of Scripps Institution's eighth director, Edward A. Frieman, who led Scripps from 1986 to 1996. The prize is awarded annually to a Scripps graduate student who has published an outstanding research paper in the past 12 months, as evaluated by a Scripps faculty committee.
"This study was the first successful attempt to make quantitative measurements of swimming muscle mechanics in any of the high-performance shark species," said Shadwick, who is Donley's advisor. "No other laboratory in the world has done this type of work."
Lisa Levin, chair of the faculty committee that awarded Donley the prize, said the paper was selected for "the significance and innovation of the work, the creative array of methodologies applied and the clear writing. This paper represents the first study of muscle dynamics and kinematics of a lamnid shark, and demonstrates the convergence with tuna...This is one of the best examples of morphological/physiological convergent evolution that has ever been discovered."
Donley, who will receive her Ph.D. from Scripps later this summer, received her master's degree in marine biology, with a focus on fish physiology, and her bachelor's degree in biology, both from California State University, Fullerton. She is a fellow of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS)-San Diego Chapter and also has received a UC Regents Fellowship.
"Jeanine is a very hard-working student who tackled a research project that was both technically and intellectually challenging," said Shadwick. "Her success is due, in large part, to her undaunted efforts, superb experimental skills and excellent academic preparation."