Ecology and evolutionary biologist Terrie Williams from the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute responded to a dubious distinction with an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. She was named in Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Oklahoma) “Wastebook 2014” for her research on mountain lions. Coburn said Williams had squandered $856,000 of taxpayer money on training mountain lions to walk on a treadmill.
Williams explains the importance of her research in species conservation and its wide-ranging impacts. She describes the devastating effects of reduced funding to scientific research in the US, and wildlife conservation in this particular case, fueled by misinformation such as Coburn’s list.