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Ecological Society of America announces 2008 award recipients

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present societal awards to eight distinguished ecologists at the 93rd Annual ESA meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Monday, August 4, 2008.

Eminent Ecologist Award: Michael Rosenzweig

Michael Rosenzweig of the University of Arizona is the recipient of this year's Eminent Ecologist Award, given to a senior ecologist in recognition of an outstanding body of ecological work or sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit. Over his 38-year career, Rosenzweig has been the discoverer and creator of some of the seminal concepts in ecological thought, including the stability of predator-prey dynamics, the relationship between primary production and evapotranspiration, theories of habitat selection and, perhaps most importantly, the competitive speciation hypothesis. His vision of promoting risky and innovative science led him to establish two scientific journals, Evolutionary Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology Research, and become an advocate and spokesperson for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. Rosenzweig served on two committees of the National Academy of Sciences to develop early warning indicators of environmental health and identify the most important challenges in environmental science. Rosenzweig has edited two books and written three.

MacArthur Award: Monica Turner

Monica Turner of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will receive the 2008 Robert H. MacArthur Award. The MacArthur Award is given biannually to an established mid-career ecologist for meritorious contributions to ecology with the expectation of continued outstanding ecological research. Turner is one of the founders of the discipline of landscape ecology; her seminal publications on the subject led to the first comprehensive textbook on the subject in 2001. Her work in Yellowstone National Park explores the long-term vegetation dynamics in the context of changing fire regimes, grazing by elk, and the complex interactions of plant roots, soil, microbes and nitrogen. Turner will be invited to prepare an address for presentation at the ESA 2009 Annual Meeting and for publication in the society's flagship journal, Ecology.

Cooper Award: Campbell Webb

Campbell Webb of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University will receive this year's William Skinner Cooper Award for his paper, "Phylogenetics and community ecology," published in the Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics in 2002. The Cooper Award is given to honor an outstanding contribution to the fields of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients. In their paper, Webb and coauthors David Ackerly of the University of California at Berkeley and Mark McPeek of Dartmouth University outlined methods for integrating evolutionary histories in studies of the structure, function and evolution of ecological communities.

Mercer Award: Jonathan Chase

Jonathan Chase of Washington University in St. Louis will receive this year's George Mercer Award for his paper, "Drought mediates the importance of stochastic community assembly," published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. The Mercer Award is given for an outstanding recently-published ecological research paper by a young scientist. Chase's work represents one of the first rigorous tests of the theory that ecological processes vary widely based on existing environmental conditions. His paper discusses neutral and niche partitioning theory and sets a framework for predictive ecological studies.

Odum Education Award: Stuart Fisher

This year's Eugene P. Odum Education Award recipient is Stuart Fisher of Arizona State University. This award recognizes an ecologist for outstanding work in ecology education. Through teaching, outreach, and mentoring activities, recipients of this award have demonstrated their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs. Fisher's research involves the control of ecosystem structure and function using desert stream ecosystems as a model, and he routinely uses real-life and hands-on approaches to train future scientists. His attitude of lifelong learning and his dedicated, absorptive mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students has inspired and fledged some of the most eminent ecosystem ecologists in the field.

Distinguished Service Citation: Katherine Gross

Kay Gross of Michigan State University is the director of the Kellogg Biological Station and is renowned in the ecological community for both her scientific contributions to plant ecology and her contributions to developing the institutional infrastructure of the field. The Distinguished Service Citation recognizes long and distinguished service to ESA, to the larger scientific community, and to the larger purpose of ecology in the public welfare. Gross has been involved in the development of a long-term archive of ecological data that is freely accessible to ecologists and was instrumental in developing a "think tank" for ecology, which resulted in the establishment of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

Sustainability Science Award: Terry Yates and Stuart Chapin

Terry Yates (posthumously) and Stuart Chapin will receive the 2007 and 2008 Sustainability Science awards, respectively. The award recognizes research results that provide scientific foundations for sustainable management, link human and ecological systems and advance sustainability science.

In their 2002 BioScience paper, "The ecology and evolutionary history of an emergent disease: Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome," Yates and his colleagues apply ecological science to public health and unravel the linkages between the ecology of the Hantavirus disease and climate variability, landscape patterns and human behavior. Yates held several positions at the National Science Foundation and was a vice president of the University of New Mexico. In December 2007, at the age of 57, Yates died of brain cancer.

Chapin's winning paper, "Policy strategies to address sustainability of Alaskan boreal forests in response to a directionally changing climate," was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. This paper integrates several different sources of theory to address sustainability in changing social and ecological systems. Chapin, a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, applied this framework to climate change impacts in interior Alaska and described policy strategies that emerged from the analyses.


Contact: Christine Buckley
Ecological Society of America

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