March 25, 2022

Demarais named MSU’s 2022 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner

Mary Apel

Mississippi State Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management Steve Demarais is being honored as the university’s 2022 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award recipient.

Demarais, the Taylor Chair in Applied Big Game Research and Instruction in MSU’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, also is co-director of the MSU Deer Ecology and Management Laboratory. He is one of 14 faculty members from SEC universities to receive the prestigious annual award. Recipients are SEC professors recognized for their outstanding teaching accomplishments and nationally or internationally recognized scholarship. Award winners receive a $5,000 honorarium.

“Dr. Demarais’ international, national, regional and local influence is unparalleled in his field. He is a renowned scholar, author, teacher, mentor and leader who has significantly impacted the lives of his students and the global wildlife community,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum.

“Dr. Demarais is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent scholars on deer ecology and is among the most prolific teaching and research professors in our College of Forest Resources. Through his groundbreaking research and various media platforms, he has literally educated hundreds of thousands of people on deer management across the globe,” Keenum added.

A Fellow of the Wildlife Society, Demarais’ research involves white-tailed deer ecology and effects of land management decisions in the forested and agricultural landscapes where they live. He has created research teams comprised of geneticists, nutritionists, foresters and economists to explore specific problems in the field. A previous associate editor for two international journals, he also was senior author on two seminal technical scientific reviews that helped shape public policy.

A native of Attleboro, Massachusetts, Demarais is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology. He has a master’s in wildlife ecology and Ph.D. in forest resources/wildlife ecology from MSU.

At MSU for 25 years, Demarais teaches four classes that are vital components of various degree programs in the College of Forest Resources. To address student needs for those aspiring to become biologists in state wildlife agencies, he created a class, Large Mammal Ecology and Management, and he developed an edited textbook for the course titled “Ecology and Management of Large Mammals in North America.” Students routinely fill Demarais’ course offerings to capacity.

Demarais also runs a podcast called “Deer University” with fellow Deer Lab Co-director Bronson Strickland, MSU’s St. John Family Endowed Professor of Wildlife Management. The podcast was created in 2017 with the intent to educate about deer biology and management and, as of today, has had over 451,000 downloads with both national and international audiences.

Demarais has received numerous accolades, including the 2021 Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research from The Wildlife Society, the 2020 Boone and Crockett Club Conservation and Stewardship Award for the MSU Deer Lab, and the 2017 Career Achievement Award from the Southeast Deer Study Group. He was MSU’s 2019 selection for the Ralph E. Powe Research Award, the university’s highest annual research recognition.

Demarais has amassed over $8.1 million in grants during his career, published 155 peer-reviewed journal articles, and overseen 45 College of Forest Resources master’s and Ph.D. graduate students.

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