Ecological Society of America announces 2013 award recipients

ESA2013 Minneapolis badgeFor Immediate Release: Monday, 17 June 2013

Contact: Nadine Lymn (202) 833-8773 x 205; gro.asenull@enidan
or Liza Lester (202) 833-8773 x 211; gro.asenull@retsell



During the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) 98th Annual Meeting, the Society will present ten awards recognizing outstanding contributions to ecology.  The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 5 at 8 AM in the auditorium of the Minneapolis Convention Center. More information about ESA awards is available here.  

Braun Award:  Tony Kovach

Kovach is recognized for the design and methodology of his poster entitled “Determinants of avian density across a fragmented landscape.”  Kovach’s 2012 poster presentation was based on his M.S. research at the University of Hawai’i – Hilo. The Braun Award recognizes a student’s outstanding poster presentation at the ESA Annual Meeting and is presented at the following year’s meeting.

 Buell Award: Kate Boersma

Boersma is honored for her 2012 oral paper “Top predator extinctions in drying streams modify community structure and ecosystem functioning” that was based on her doctoral work at Oregon State University. The Buell Award is given to a student for an outstanding oral paper presented at the ESA Annual Meeting and is presented at the following year’s meeting.

W.S. Cooper Award: John Thompson, Anne Charpentier, G. Bouguet, Faustine Charmasson, Stephanie Roset, Bruno Buatois, Philippe Vernet, Pierre-Henri Gouyon

Thompson, with the Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle & Evolutive, and colleagues are being recognized for their paper Evolution of a genetic polymorphism with climate change in a Mediterranean landscape, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy.  The study found rapid and ongoing evolutionary change associated with strong environmental change.  The Cooper Award honors an outstanding contribution to the field of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients.

Honorary Member Award: Christian Körner

A strong scientific leader for European science, Körner, with the University of Basel, is known for his innovative approach in studying the response of mature trees to increased carbon dioxide (CO2). His work has enhanced understanding of the ways in which plants respond differently to CO2 and raised critical questions about what controls growth in trees. Recipients of the Honorary Member Award are distinguished ecologists who have made exceptional contributions to ecology and whose principal residence and site of ecological research are outside of North America.

George Mercer Award: Pieter Johnson and Jason Hoverman

Johnson, at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Hoverman, with Purdue University, used a novel approach in their 2012 Proceedings of the National Academy paper Parasite diversity and coinfection determine pathogen infection success and host fitness.  Their study demonstrates how an ecological approach can contribute deeper understanding of biomedical questions.  The Mercer Award recognizes an outstanding and recently-published ecological research paper by a young scientist.

Eugene P. Odum Education Award: Martin Main

Main, with the University of Florida, is honored for developing the highly innovative and successful Florida Master Naturalist Program, a state-wide environmental education initiative for professionals and laypeople that has awarded more than 7,000 certificates and resulted in 160,000 hours of volunteer environmental education, monitoring and restoration service. Through teaching, outreach and mentoring activities, recipients of the Eugene P. Odum Award have demonstrated their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs.

Eminent Ecologist Award: William Reiners 

Reiners’ career in ecology spans 50 years and has deepened the philosophical and conceptual foundations of ecology. Among his influential papers are a series on nitrogen dynamics in New England forests and pioneering long-term studies at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Reiners, now at the University of Wyoming, most recently coauthored a book that explores the philosophy of ecology. The Eminent Ecologist Award is given to a senior ecologist in recognition of an outstanding body of ecological work or sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit.

Distinguished Service Citation: Wes Jackson 

ESA recognizes Jackson’s long-standing efforts through the Land Institute, which he co-founded with his wife 30 years ago, to champion agricultural practices that use a variety of crop species and minimize erosion and the use of chemicals. Jackson has authored numerous books, including Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture (2011). The Distinguished Service Citation recognizes long and distinguished service to ESA, to the larger scientific community or to the larger purpose of ecology in the public welfare.

Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award: Sonia Ortega

Ortega, who works for the National Science Foundation (NSF), is honored for her leadership in developing diversity enhancing programs within the Ecological Society of America and working to improve the diversity of scientists across all Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Ortega contributed to ESA’s Women and Minorities in Ecology report and spearheaded STEM pipeline development programs at the NSF, among many other diversity initiatives. This ESA award recognizes long-standing contributions of an individual towards increasing the diversity of future ecologists through mentoring, teaching, or outreach.

Sustainability Science Award: Pamela Matson

Matson and a team of fourteen interdisciplinary researchers documented 15 years of agricultural development in the Yaqui Valley, Mexico, one of the most intensive agricultural regions of the world, and its transition to more sustainable management. Matson, with Stanford University, is editor of the book Seeds of Sustainability: Lessons from the Birthplace of the Green Revolution (2011) that reflects the team’s findings and insights. The Sustainability Award is given to the authors of a scholarly work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences.


To learn more about the August 4 – 9, 2013 ESA Annual Meeting see:

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and the trusted source of ecological knowledge.  ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth.  The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at or find experts in ecological science at