Richardson's Ground Squirrels

Dr. Gail R. Michener

Gail Michener receives that Ingrid Speaker Medal
Gail Michener (right) receiving the Ingrid Speaker Medal for Distinguished Research from Ingrid Speaker at the 24 May 2003 Convocation at the University of Lethbridge.
Photograph by Bernie Wirzba, University of Lethbridge.

Dr. Gail R. Michener (nee Mitchell) was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England. She grew up in Australia, where she obtained a B. Sc. (Honors) in zoology from the University of Adelaide, South Australia in 1967. In 1972, she received her Ph. D. from the University of Saskatchewan, Regina (now the University of Regina) in Canada for her studies on social relationships in Richardson's ground squirrels. She married Dan Michener in 1971 and became a Canadian citizen in 1975.

Gail Michener retired from her position as Professor of Biological Sciences and Board of Governors Research Chair at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada in June 2008.  She continues to conduct research funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada at the University of Lethbridge in her capacity as Professor Emeritus.

The primary objective of Gail Michener's long-term study of Richardson's ground squirrels (Spermophilus richardsonii) is to interpret behavioural ecology and social organization in terms of kinship and sexual differences in reproductive effort. Her work with a population of Richardson's ground squirrels located 40 km N of Lethbridge, Alberta focuses on life history, causes of mortality, underground use of space, hibernation, and spatial associations among female kin.

Dr. Michener is the author of 55 refereed scientific articles and 5 book chapters, most focusing on Richardson's ground squirrels. See Michener Publications.

Dr. Michener can be contacted at 

Awards and Fellowships:

University of Lethbridge Board of Governors Research Chair

Ingrid Speaker Medal for Distinguished Research, U of Lethbridge

William C. Brown Behavior Teaching Award, Animal Behavior Society

Fellow, Animal Behavior Society

C. Hart Merriam Award for Distinguished Contributions to Mammalogy, American Society of Mammalogists

Distinguished Teacher Award, University of Lethbridge

Wildlife Society Award for Editorship (with J. O. Murie)

University Research Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Post-doctoral Fellowship

Major Service in National and International Organizations

Animal Behavior Society
Executive Member 1985-88, 1990-94. President 1992-1993

Canada Council
Jury Member, Killam Selection Committee 1998-2000

Canadian Council on Animal Care
Executive Member 1987-90. President 1988-1989

American Society of Mammalogists
Board of Directors 2001-2004

Associate Editor, Mammalian Species 2002-2004

Associate Editor, Journal of Mammalogy 1983-1987

Research Funding

Research on Richardson's ground squirrels has been funded continuously since 1980 by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.

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