Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Ortega-Santos, Fulbright, Plant ID Team Bring Home Awards From Range Management Meeting

KINGSVILLE - November 06, 2008

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Dr. J. Alfonso “Poncho” Ortega-Santos, associate professor in the animal and wildlife science department in the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, returned home from the annual meeting of the Texas Section, Society for Range Management with one of the group’s top awards. Also, a research scientist for the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Ortega-Santos was given the Outstanding Achievement Award.

Ortega-Santos and Dr. Tim Fulbright, Regents Professor and Meadows Professor in Semiarid Land Ecology, jointly received the Publications Award: Special Category for their book White-Tailed Deer Habitat: Ecology and Management on Rangelands, published by Texas A&M University Press.

The book takes an ecological approach to deer management in the semiarid lands of Oklahoma, Texas and northern Mexico. The book’s focus on this landscape across political borders is one of its original and lasting contributions.

The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society gave this book their Outstanding Book Award in 2006. Ortega-Santos translated the book into Spanish and Ecologia y Manejo de Venado Cola Blanca was the first-ever book published in Spanish by the Texas A&M University Press.

This is not the first time Ortega-Santos has received a publications award from the Texas Section of the Society for Range Management. In 2006, he received an award for a bulletin, Cattle Management to Enhance Wildlife Habitat, which he published with Dr. Fred Bryant, Leroy G. Denman Jr. Director of Wildlife Research for the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.

At A&M-Kingsville, Ortega-Santos works as a liaison with universities in Mexico in addition to his teaching and research. In the past four years, he has received almost $800,000 in research grants. His current project is the influence of deer and Nilgai on the spread of fever ticks on Texas rangelands. Part of this work as already been published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases. He also has lead research on using grazing and prescribed burning to control exotic grasses.

Prior to work at A&M-Kingsville, Ortega-Santos was National Leader of the Range and Forage Program in the National Research Institute of Forestry in Mexico. He worked nationwide with a team of 110 researchers in 82 experiment stations. He has published 21 papers in peer-reviewed journals including Rangeland Ecology and Management and Agronomy Journal.

In addition, the university’s student plant identification team placed third behind two teams from Texas A&M University. Members of the plant identification team are Reagan Gage, a senior from Jarrell; Ashleigh Green, a senior from Troup; Travis Muckleroy, a sophomore from Jourdanton; and Chase Curry, a graduate student from Tilden. Their coach is Eric Grahmann, a doctoral student in wildlife science from Victoria.

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