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Eleanor Caves '12 Wins Goldwater Scholarship

Eleanor M. Caves, a resident of Albuquerque, NM, has been awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which provides up to $7,500 per year for educational expenses to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering. The Goldwater Foundation seeks students who display intellectual curiosity and intensity, and possess potential for significant future contributions in their chosen field.

A member of the Pomona College Class of 2012, Caves is a biology major with a mathematics minor She became fascinated with the natural world on a trip to Costa Rica when she was 8 years old.

Last summer, Caves conducted field research with Professor Nina Karnovsky on the foraging behavior of Cassin's auklets, a small seabird. She spent eight weeks on the Farallon Islands attaching small devices called time-depth recorders to adult birds and collecting data. “The devices generate very detailed dive profiles of the birds, allowing me to see what behaviors they were performing every five seconds all day,” she explains. “There are already two years of data from this study, and this summer we'll collect a third. The really interesting part is that the different deployments of TDRs happen in different months, and the temperature of the water is very different. What we're finding is that when the water is warmer, the Cassin's auklets are having to work harder to feed themselves and their chicks, which has implications for how climate change may ultimately affect this population.”

Following her graduation from Pomona College, Caves plans to earn a Ph.D. in ecology with a focus on conservational ecology and community ecology. Ultimately, she would like to teach at the university level and conduct field research in ecological science with a focus on key indicator species. She is particularly interested in the ecology of extinctions and working with keystone species to shed light on the complexity of species interactions.

Caves is the daughter of Karen Kahn and Carlton Caves. She graduated from La Cueva High School, in Albuquerque.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, is known for small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.