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The ESA Biogeosciences section proudly presents three awards annually:

1. Junior Scientist Outstanding Publication Awards

2. New Phytologist Best Student Presentation Award

3. Student Registration Grants (Pre-covid: Student Travel Grants)

1. Junior Scientist Outstanding Publication Awards

The ESA Biogeosciences Junior Scientist Outstanding Publication awards were initiated in 2007 to promote young scientists and highlight outstanding work in the field. The Elizabeth Sulzman Award recognizes research conducted while a graduate student, and published within two years of graduation. The Gene E. Likens Award recognizes work conducted by an early-career scientist (within five years of receiving a Ph.D.) for work conducted after the completion of graduate school. The New Phytologist Innovation Presentation Grant recognizes an outstanding student presentation at the 2022 ESA Annual Meeting.

Each year, the awards are presented to the first author of a notable paper in the biogeosciences that was published between January of the previous year and March of the current year. To be considered for an award, the paper must have been assigned a DOI.

The winner of each award receives a $250 cash prize and formal recognition by ESA. When appropriate, we also award an honorable mention prize within each category.


Nominees should be members of ESA, and should be or become members of the Biogeosciences Section. Nominations for each award should include the following, emailed to by April 30 with the subject line “Sulzman Award nomination_[nominee’s last name]” or “Likens Award nomination_[nominee’s last name]” or “New Phytologist Presentation_[nominee’s last name]” as appropriate:

  • The paper’s citation and a PDF, or the title of the paper to be presented
  • The first author’s current contact information (name, email address, mailing address optional)
  • A statement of eligibility (e.g. current grad student/graduation date, or postdoc <8 years fromPh.D.)
  • A short letter in support of the nomination from a colleague or advisor (sent separately from above materials unless the recommender is also the nominator

We note that while self-nominations are entirely appropriate, the potential awardee need not be involved in the nomination process. We encourage all section members to nominate outstanding papers that they have encountered.

A panel of reviewers representing a broad array of disciplines within the biogeosciences will then evaluate the submissions and decide on the winning entries. Award winners will be notified in advance of the upcoming ESA Annual Meeting, and the section will make a public announcement. Winners of each prize are encouraged to attend the ESA Annual Meeting!

Meet the 2022 Winners!

Lee DietterichLee Dietterich won the Likens Award for his recent paper in Biogeochemistry.

Dietterich, L.H., Karpman, J., Neupane, A. et al. Carbon content of soil fractions varies with season, rainfall, and soil fertility across a lowland tropical moist forest gradient. Biogeochemistry 155, 431–452 (2021).

Congratulations, Lee!



Melinda Martinez won the Sulzman Award for her recent paper in Biogeochemistry.

Martinez, M., Ardón, M. Drivers of greenhouse gas emissions from standing dead trees in ghost forests. Biogeochemistry 154, 471–488 (2021).

Congratulations, Melinda!


Past Winners!

Likens Award: 

  • 2021 Charlotte Alster
  • 2020 Fiona Soper
  • 2019 Colin Averill
  • 2018 Debjani Sihi
  • 2017 Steve Powers
  • 2016 Peter M. Homyak
  • 2014 Will Wieder (honorable mention: Jinyun T an)
  • 2013 Park Williams
  • 2012 Gordon Holtgrieve
  • 2011 Ed Hall
  • 2009 Stephen Porder (honorable mention: William Cornwell)
  • 2008 Jennifer Funk (honorable mention: Kristina Anderson-T eixeira 2007 Ben Houlton, Katey Walter

Sulzman Award:

  • 2021 Brittni Bertolet
  • 2020 Mingzhen Lu (honorable mention: Anika Staccone)
  • 2019 Andrea Jilling
  • 2018 Justin Mathias
  • 2017 Erin Hanan
  • 2016 Yaling Liu
  • 2015 Colin Averill
  • 2014 Sarah Batterman (honorable mention: Janice Brahney)
  • 2013 Lei Cheng
  • 2012 Scott Morford (honorable mention: Arianne Cease)
  • 2011 John Drake
  • 2010 Philip Taylor
  • 2009 Michael Strickland (honorable mention: Jia Hu)
  • 2008 Duncan Menge (honorable mention: Ben Colman)
  • 2007 Scott Ensign

2. New Phytologist Best Student Presentation Award

The ESA Biogeosciences Section awards a $500 cash prize for an outstanding oral presentation of research conducted while a graduate student. This award is generously sponsored by New Phytologist.

Meet the 2022 Winner!


Jon Gewirtzman is the winner of the 2021 New Phytologist Outstanding Student Presentation Award from the ESA Biogeosciences Section for his talk “Methane emissions from temperate forest tree stems across an upland to wetland gradient”.

Congratulations, Jon!



Past winners!

New Phytologist Best Student Presentation Award:

  • 2021 Emily Stuchiner
  • 2020 Jessie Motes
  • 2019 Steven McBride
  • 2018 Jamie Harrison
  • 2017 Brooke Osborne
  • 2016 Matthew Craig
  • 2015 Cari Ficken Hopping
  • 2014 Kelly Hopping
  • 2013 Jessica Corman
  • 2012 Bonnie Waring
  • 2011 Sarah Evans
  • 2010 Edward Brzostek
  • 2009 Amy Burgin (honorable mention: Carmody “Carrie” McCalley)

3. Student Travel Awards

Biogeosciences section sponsors multiple travel grants to our student members for attending the ESA Annual Meeting. All student members of our section, who are affiliated with an accredited university, are eligible to apply.

Meet our 2022 winners!

Amanda Cordeiro

Evan Perkowski

Megan Wilcots

Wenguang Tang

Jennifer Holguin

Past winners!

Student Travel Awards:

2020 Courtney Currier
2020 Malissa Ann Tayo
2020 Matthew Smith
Elizabeth Forbes
2020 Justin Gay
2020 Abigail Lewis
2020 Meaghan Petix
2020 Sommer Starrm
2020 Chelsea Duball

(2020 awards were registration grants for the virtual meeting due to COVID).

2019 Steven McBride
2019 Michelle Wong
2019 Tempest McCabe

2018 Anecia Gentles
2018 Lilli Kaarakka
2018 Covel McDermot
2018 Cody Reed
2018 Sasha Vivelo

2017 Daniel Casarella
2017 Jennifer Cristiano
2017 Rebecca Evans
2017 Russel Hedberg
2017 Rachel King
2017 Brittney Monus

2016 Elizabeth August-Schmidt
2016 Joseph Carrara
2016 Amber Churchill
2016 Denise Devotta
2016 Benton Taylor
2016 Lorna Harris