Introducing the 2019 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellows


The Society for Conservation Biology and the Cedar Tree Foundation announce the recipients of the 2019 David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship!

The Smith Fellowship, the nation's premier postdoctoral program in conservation science, seeks to find solutions to the most pressing conservation challenges. Each Fellow’s research is conducted in partnership with a major academic institution and an “on the ground” conservation organization to help bridge the gap between theory and application.

Emerging from an impressive pool of Ph.D. applicants from around the world who competed for the Fellowship are five outstanding scientists who will comprise the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship class of 2019:

  • Anat Belasen will complete a project titled, “Leveraging the Past to Preserve the Future: Finding a Litmus Test for Amphibian Disease Susceptibility” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Kelly Zamudio at Cornell University and in partnership with Dr. Robert Fleischer at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
  • Charlotte Chang will complete a project titled, “Effective conservation messaging under political polarization and social change” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Matthew Burgess at the University of Colorado - Boulder and Dr. Paul Armsworth of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and in partnership with Dr. Yuta Masuda of The Nature Conservancy.
  • Joan Dudney will complete a project titled, “Science-based solutions for an endangered but unlisted species” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Andrew Latimer at the University of California, Davis and in partnership with Drs. Robert Keane and Connie Millar of the USDA Forest Service and Dr. Phil van Mantgem of the US Geological Survey.
  • Max Lambert will complete a project titled, “Do amphibians sink or swim with urbanization? Using evolutionary lessons to conserve urban biodiversity” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Bree Rosenblum the University of California, Berkeley and Dr. Marina Alberti of the University of Washington and in partnership with Laura Guderyahn of the City of Portland and Priya Nanjappa of Conservation Science Partners.
  • Amy Teffer will complete a project titled, “The Infectious Disease Ecology of Improved Watershed Connectivity: Reducing Uncertainty in Population Forecasts” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Lisa Komoroske at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and in partnership with Dr. Benjamin Letcher at US Geological Survey.

While the Fellows' research projects focus on urgent conservation issues, they also learn firsthand the challenges and rewards of conservation applications. The program's focus is to enlarge their professional opportunities and ensure future success by helping them build relationships in the conservation and research communities and by providing opportunities for professional development through targeted workshops and training events.

The fellowship is named after the late Dr. David H. Smith, founder of the Cedar Tree Foundation, and pediatrician, inventor and conservationist. 

The Smith Fellowship seeks to identify and support early-career scientists who will shape the growth of applied conservation science. It’s also an opportunity for scientists to develop solutions to critical environmental challenges, said Dr. Michael P. Dombeck, executive director of the Smith Fellows program and former chief of the United States Forest Service.

“The Smith Fellowship enables young scientists to improve and expand their research skills and direct their research efforts toward problems of pressing conservation concern, to bridge the gap between research and application,” Dombeck said.

Request for proposals for the 2020 Class of Smith Fellows will be announced in June 2019.  For more information see the Smith Fellows website at