Coastal resilience wins the #ESA2016 Innovation in Sustainability Science Award
Jun01

Coastal resilience wins the #ESA2016 Innovation in Sustainability Science Award

Innovation in Sustainability Science Award honors Ariana E. Sutton-Grier, Kateryna Wowk, and Holly A. Bamford. The Innovation in Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of a peer-reviewed paper published in the past five years exemplifying leading-edge work on solution pathways to sustainability challenges. In the United States, Hurricane Sandy brought unprecedented attention to building resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems to the growing threats of storm surge and erosion. This has led to a focus on how both “natural infrastructure” and “hybrid infrastructure” that incorporates both natural and engineered features, can increase coastal protection. Drs. Sutton-Grier, Wowk, and Bamford provide an exemplary example of how the integration of ecological and social science can inform and increase the sustainable management of coastal ecosystems worldwide in a review of “The future of our coasts” in the journal Environmental Science & Policy. They synthesize available socio-environmental science about natural and hybrid infrastructure, including an analysis of the state of the U.S. policy landscape for coastal resilience, and laying out the key policy opportunities and the challenges to implementing natural and hybrid approaches. Their analysis is placed in a real-world context that highlights the importance of their own research and that of others related to natural and hybrid infrastructure. The paper has reached a wide-audience and promoted discussions about coastal resilience and sustainable management among a wide range of stakeholders including engineers, policy makers and coastal businesses. Ariana E. Sutton-Grier, Kateryna Wowk, and Holly A. Bamford. (2015) Future of our coasts: The potential for natural and hybrid infrastructure to enhance the resilience of our coastal communities, economies and ecosystems. Environmental Science & Policy 51: 137–148 DOI:10.1016/j.envsci.2015.04.006 ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Margaret Palmer and JB Ruhl’s critical review of restoration science law wins the #ESA2016 Sustainability Science Award
May31

Margaret Palmer and JB Ruhl’s critical review of restoration science law wins the #ESA2016 Sustainability Science Award

The Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of the scholarly work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences. Ecologist Margaret Palmer and legal scholar J.B. Ruhl tackle a critical issue in sustainability science: how the application of ecological science can be translated into effective policy that ensures the restoration of degraded ecosystems, in a 2015 review for Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The complimentary expertise of the authors and their shared interest in restoration science and policy make this paper particularly noteworthy. Dr. Ruhl, director of Vanderbilt University’s Program on Law and Innovation and co-director of the Energy Environment and Land Use Program, has invested his career in legal and regulatory aspects of restoration and environmental science. As director of the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), Margaret Palmer, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and director of the National Socio- Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), brings a transformative vision for advancing research and public understanding of sustainability science. They make the case that, while restoration is a crucial tool that is used in environmental policy, lack of a clear ecological context for what constitutes restoration leads to confusion in implementing policy. The key, they argue, is to include consideration of establishing self-sustaining living systems and the landscape and environmental context essential to recovery. The paper presents an actionable research plan that bridges science and policy and includes specific guidance about how to best incorporate a clear and science-based definition of restoration into administrative laws. Margaret A. Palmer and J.B. Ruhl (2015) Aligning restoration science and the law to sustain ecological infrastructure for the future. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13: 512–519. DOI:10.1890/150053 ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Carolyn Thomas and Bob Pohlad share the #ESA2016 Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education
May27

Carolyn Thomas and Bob Pohlad share the #ESA2016 Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education

Eugene P. Odum Award recipients demonstrate their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs through teaching, outreach, and mentoring activities. Bob Pohlad and Carolyn Thomas have been a passionate and committed team of educators in the field of ecology for almost four decades. While the work of either alone would be worthy of recognition with the Odum Award, this married team represents such an outstanding example of long-term mutual support and collaboration, both professionally and personally, that their colleagues who submitted their nomination feel that a shared award is the most appropriate way to honor their legacy in ecological education. In their work as professors at Ferrum College, Drs. Thomas and Pohlad focus on integrating technology and research experiences into the ecology classroom. For decades, they have engaged students and local citizens in sophisticated, long-term, water quality monitoring projects in regional lakes, serving as pioneers in citizen science. They mentored K-12 science teachers through the School Yard Ecology Project, providing professional development for teachers to communicate ecological concepts in effective and engaging ways to younger students. They are founding members of the Collaborations through Appalachian Watersheds Project (CAWS) and the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN), both large-scale endeavors focused on developing innovative ways for ecologists and their students at primarily undergraduate institutions to collaborate and learn through authentic, multi-site research projects. Finally, they have both served the Ecological Society of America as Chairs of the Education Section, giving generously of their time to help other ecologists educate more effectively. ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Etienne Laliberté, Graham Zemunik, and Benjamin L. Turner presented with the Cooper Award for an outstanding research publication in the field of geobotany
May26

Etienne Laliberté, Graham Zemunik, and Benjamin L. Turner presented with the Cooper Award for an outstanding research publication in the field of geobotany

The W.S. Cooper Award honors the authors of an outstanding publication in the field of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients. Etienne Laliberté, Graham Zemunik, and Benjamin L. Turner (2014) Environmental filtering explains variation in plant diversity along resource gradients. Science 345: 1602–1605. DOI: 10.1126/science.1256330 William S. Cooper was a pioneer of physiographic ecology and geobotany, with a particular interest in the influence of historical factors, such as glaciations and climate history, on the pattern of contemporary plant communities across landforms. Dr. Laliberté of the Université de Montréal (at the University of Western Australia at the time of the study), Dr. Zemunik of the University of Western Australia, and Dr. Turner of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute take a similar geobotanical angle in a study that simultaneously addresses competing hypotheses about the mechanisms that shape plant diversity along resource gradients. Specifically, they tackle an age-old question in ecology—what determines spatial variation in species diversity—using a cleverly chosen system, an ancient dune ecosystem in southwestern Australia. The end result is a rare, compelling, example of regional and historical processes being key to explaining a local-scale diversity gradient.   ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Jennifer Gremer and Larry Venable’s bet-hedging wins them the #ESA2016 Mercer Award
May25

Jennifer Gremer and Larry Venable’s bet-hedging wins them the #ESA2016 Mercer Award

The George Mercer Award recognizes an outstanding and recently-published ecological research paper by young scientists. Jennifer R. Gremer and D. Lawrence Venable (2014) Bet hedging in desert winter annual plants: optimal germination strategies in a variable environment. Ecology Letters 17: 380–387. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12241 Unpredictable fluctuation in environmental conditions is a ubiquitous challenge for all forms of life. “Bet-hedging” names a strategy for dealing with environmental variation by adopting physical characteristics that are not best suited to average conditions, but allow survival in a wide variety of conditions, sacrificing short-term success to minimize risk over time. In a synthesis of 30 years of data, with multiple modeling approaches, Jennifer Gremer and D. Lawrence Venable, both at the University of Arizona at the time of the study (Dr. Gremer has since moved to the University of California, Davis), present definitive evidence that delayed seed germination acts as a bet-hedging strategy in winter annual plants of the Sonoran Desert. Their elegant paper provides a test of an age-old problem, in an iconic system. As predicted, species that face more risk exhibit stronger bet-hedging. This paper is a model of how to test general, qualitative theoretical predictions by making them quantitative. It provides a convincing example in a classic system, while at the same time inspiring new questions concerning the evolution of life history strategies. ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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ESA awards 2016 Distinguished Service Citation to Carol A. Brewer
May25

ESA awards 2016 Distinguished Service Citation to Carol A. Brewer

The Distinguished Service Citation recognizes long and distinguished volunteer service to the Ecological Society of America, the scientific community, and the larger purpose of ecology in the public welfare. Carol Brewer, a professor emeritus at the University of Montana, has a long and distinguished record of service to the society and to the broader science community, especially through her efforts in science and conservation education. She holds a B.S. in education as well as a B.A. in biology. In 1993, while still a doctoral student, the society asked her to be one of the campus leads for the new, NSF-supported “Schoolyard Ecology for Elementary School Teachers (SYEFEST) project. Shortly after receiving her Ph.D., she served on ESA’s Standing Committee on Education (1995–99) and became chair of the Education Section (1996–97). Dr. Brewer helped develop ESA’s Education Office, now the highly successful Education and Diversity Office. She served two terms as ESA’s Vice-President for Education and Human Resources (2000–2006), chaired the Education and Human Resources Committee (2000–2006), and led ESA’s survey of undergraduate ecology education. Most recently, she served as Program Chair for the society’s 2015 Centennial Meeting in Baltimore, Md. Dr. Brewer is active in the Long Term Ecological Research network and was a founding member of the board of directors of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). She co-founded the citizen science Project Budburst in 2007.   ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Anurag Agrawal receives 2016 Robert H. MacArthur Award
May24

Anurag Agrawal receives 2016 Robert H. MacArthur Award

The MacArthur Award, presented by the Ecological Society of America in alternate years, recognizes the contributions of an outstanding ecologist in mid-career. Anurag Agrawal of Cornell University has shown consistent leadership in opening up new research themes in ecology and continues to push the envelope with novel approaches to science, teaching, and community building. Like Robert H. MacArthur, Dr. Agrawal synthesizes conceptual themes within the field, drawing together topics as far ranging as the causes and consequences of variation in plant biodiversity, chemical ecology and co-evolution, trait versus density-mediated interactions, and the interdisciplinary pursuit of environmental sustainability. His research has impact outside of ecology. His early work on phenotypic plasticity is widely cited in the fields of neurobiology, systems science, molecular biology, and beyond. He seamlessly applies his amazing natural history and empirical understanding of his study systems to develop new and exciting concepts in general ecological theory, grounded in the real world. ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Jerry Franklin named the Ecological Society of America’s 2016 Eminent Ecologist
May20

Jerry Franklin named the Ecological Society of America’s 2016 Eminent Ecologist

ESA honors Jerry Franklin, professor of ecosystem analysis in the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington in Seattle, with the 2016 Eminent Ecologist Award. The Eminent Ecologist Award honors a senior ecologist for an outstanding body of ecological work or sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit. Jerry Franklin is renowned in the field of ecology for applying forestry research to management, challenging clear-cutting practices to mold a “new forestry” in the later 20th century attuned to healthy forest ecosystems. He taught foresters to value snags, fallen trees, and woody debris and urged forest managers to learn from natural patterns of disturbance and regeneration in forests. His emphasis that old growth forest is not “decadent wasteful stands” just needing a thorough clear-cutting, but instead a vital component of a healthy mosaic of forest types in managed landscapes, was revolutionary in forestry. He was instrumental in linking early landscape ecology to forestry, helping to develop landscape ecology as a discipline. Dr. Franklin’s strong record of ecological scholarship on the old-growth and regenerating conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest stretches back to 1961. His work on the role of coarse woody debris in forest dynamics, and on articulating landscape and site-specific characteristics of successional dynamics, has been very influential, with implications ranging from biodiversity maintenance to carbon storage. Several of his papers have been cited thousands of times. He has been a leader in analyzing of the return of plant life to Mt. St. Helens following the 1980 eruption, developing influential ideas of “ecological memory” or biological legacies in ecosystem recovery from natural catastrophe. Born in a small town on the coast of Oregon, an early love for the woods led Dr. Franklin to forestry and a lifetime study of ecology, starting with the USDA Forest Service in 1959. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forest management from Oregon State University in 1959 and 1961, going on to complete a doctorate in botany and soils at Washington State University in 1966. He has mentored the careers of a wide range of professionals, both in and out of the academy, as a teacher at Oregon State University and at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he has been a professor of ecosystem analysis in the College of Forest Resources since 1986. He served as President of the Ecological Society of America in 1993–4. Dr. Franklin has played a highly significant role in developing major, multi-institutional programs aimed at forest ecology at the broadest scale, including the International Biological Program (IBP) in the 1960s and early 1970s, and later the Long-term Ecological Research Program (LTER). As the first program officer for...

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