Noah Perlut named Ludcke Chair of Liberal Arts and Sciences for 2020-2021
Noah Perlut, Ph.D., professor in and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies, has been named the Ludcke Chair of Liberal Arts and Sciences for 2020-2021.
The Ludcke Chair, funded by a generous bequest from the estate of Eleanor Ludcke (Westbrook College Class of 1926), is presented annually to a tenured member of the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his or her outstanding academic accomplishments.
The chair holder must have attained the ideal of the “teacher/scholar,” a dedicated educator and productive researcher who has given time generously to the University of New England over a significant period.
Perlut is an ornithologist with expertise in ecology, conservation biology, animal behavior, migration and dispersal, and breeding systems. His research explores the ecological and evolutionary consequences of human habitat management on bird and animal populations across diverse habitats — from grassland songbirds to gulls on Portland’s rooftops, nighthawks nesting in the Caribbean, and others in between.
For nearly two decades, Perlut has studied how agricultural management affects bobolinks and Savannah sparrows in Vermont hayfields. The “Bobolink Odyssey,” as the project is known, has studied the birds in their Vermont breeding grounds and as they migrate back and forth from Argentina. Perlut has also studied bobolinks while on migration stopover on the Galapagos Islands.
Using different forms of technology, including molecular tools and tracking devices, the project explores the birds’ lives throughout the year and seeks to inform farmers on how to co-exist with the birds. The project has involved over 120 undergraduate students during its run and last year made national headlines.
Additionally, in Biddeford, hundreds of Perlut’s students have participated in studies at the Squirrelology Lab, tracking radio-collared gray squirrels across UNE’s waterfront campus.
“The students’ diverse interests drive the research questions in this dynamic project,” Perlut said. “It is amazing how little is known about this common species.”
Perlut earned a Bachelor of Science in English and speech communications from James Madison University in 1997. He went on to earn a master’s in environmental conservation education from New York University in 1999.
Perlut earned his doctorate in natural resources with a concentration in wildlife biology from the University of Vermont (UVM) in 2007 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at UVM before joining the UNE faculty in 2009.
He is the author of 40 peer-reviewed papers that have appeared in national and international publications, including Conservation Biology, The Journal of Wildlife Management, and the Journal of Ornithology, among others. Eleven of those papers have been co-authored by Perlut’s students, whom he credited with driving his research and teaching.
“I am deeply grateful for both my colleagues who nominated me for the Ludke Chair and for all of my students and collaborators with whom I work so closely. Their creativity and curiosity inspire me to take new adventures in scholarship and discovery,” Perlut said. “I am incredibly honored to join the previous seven Ludcke Chairs, all of whom have been teacher/scholar models for me."