USC PhD Candidate Awarded the David J. Morafka Memorial Research Award from the Desert Tortoise Council

Posted by & filed under Profiles.

Michael W. Tuma, a PhD Candidate in Integrative and Evolutionary Biology, was recently awarded the David J. Morafka Memorial Research Award from the Desert Tortoise Council.

 The award, named in honor of David Morafka, a USC graduate and former authority on North American gopher tortoises, will enable Tuma to investigate life history variation in the Agassiz desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), a threatened species listed under the California and federal Endangered Species Acts. Tuma will develop population models to determine how climatic differences have contributed to natural selection pressures that have affected the tortoise’s life span, growth rates, size and reproduction rates.