Monica Turner Named President of the Ecological Society of America for 2015-2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 24 September 2015
Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205, gro.asenull@nosilA

 

Credit, Brian J. Harvey

Credit, Brian J. Harvey

Monica Turner, the Eugene P. Odum Professor of Ecology and a Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison became President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) on August 14, 2015.

Elected by the members of ESA for a one-year term, Turner presides over the world’s largest professional society of ecologists. Its membership is composed of 10,000 researchers, educators, natural resource managers and students, reflecting the diverse interests and activities of the Society. As President, Turner now chairs ESA’s governing board, which lays out the Society’s vision for overall goals and objectives.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve as President of the Ecological Society of America, and even moreso to serve during our centennial year. ESA is my primary professional society, and I have been a member since I was in graduate school. Many aspects of the profession have changed over the years, but I remain firmly committed to ESA’s mission. Our journals will remain highly respected sources of excellent research as we transition to our new publishing partnership with Wiley, and I’m excited that all members will have complimentary online access. Ecologists also face challenges, including heightened needs for communicating ecology to diverse audiences and for providing policy makers with sound ecological science to use as the basis for decision-making. I look forward to working with the ESA staff, Governing Board, and membership this year as we position ESA to support ecology and ecologists in the years ahead,” Turner said.

Turner is an internationally recognized landscape ecologist, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. She received the Ecological Society of America’s Robert H. MacArthur Award in 2008. Her field studies and simulation models have provided new insights about the causes and ecological consequences of spatial patterning in the environment. She has studied disturbance regimes, vegetation dynamics, nutrient cycling, animal movements, and climate change, and is well known for her long-term studies of recovery after the large fires that swept through Yellowstone National Park in 1988.

Turner’s quarter century of work in Greater Yellowstone has generated new understanding about the resilience of forest ecosystems to severe fires and bark beetle outbreaks. This research has laid the groundwork for deeper understanding of how major disturbances shape ecosystems in space and time. Turner also studies land-water interactions in Wisconsin, effects of current and historical land use on Southern Appalachian forest landscapes, and how land-use and climate change affect ecosystem services—the benefits provided to people by nature.

New 2015-16 ESA President Monica Turner surveys the site of the Bearpaw Bay fire in July 2010, one year after it burned in the summer of 2009. The lodgepole pine p inus contorta) forest near Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park had burned just 28 years previously, in a region that more typically burns at 200 year intervals. A trend toward a warmer, dryer climate in the Rocky Mountains is likely to increase fire frequency, which could have consequences for the regeneration of the forest and carbon storage. Turner’s research group has ongoing, long term investigations into seedling recruitment, carbon storage, and other questions about the effects of natural disturbances on vegetation dynamics in the region of Yellowstone. Credit, Monica Turner.

New 2015-16 ESA President Monica Turner surveys the site of the 2009 Bearpaw Bay Fire in July 2010, during the first summer after lightening ignited a 2,800 acre wildfire in the lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forest. The are near Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park had burned just 28 years previously, in a region that more typically burns at intervals of 100 to 300 years. A trend toward a warmer, dryer climate in the Rocky Mountains is likely to increase fire frequency, which could have consequences for the regeneration of the forest and carbon storage. Turner’s research group maintains ongoing, long term investigations into seedling recruitment, carbon storage, and other questions about the effects of natural disturbances on vegetation dynamics in the Greater Yellowstone. Credit, Monica Turner.


The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.